At the start of the documentary, one may wonder if they’ve accidentally come to see Roy Andersson’s newest film. Director Carl Olsson films ordinary people and does not move his camera much. Laconic humour can be discovered in his still life images.
Vintersaga was inspired by a song of the same name. The 80s tune takes us to a snow-clad Sweden: the bar, the petrol station, the bridge, the subway stop, the harbour, and so on. The same wintery places are repeated in Olsson’s film.
Cliches, on the other hand, are averted. Vintersaga is no postcard-like tourism ad or a praise to an idyllic haven. It does not even wallow in the icily beautiful melancholy. In one scene, toasts are raised to the royals, and in the next, drugs are taken in a parking garage.
The documentary consists of 24 scenes, which form an image of contemporary Sweden. Trains, trucks, and icebreakers cut through the snowy nature, drunk people talk over each other in bar tables, and young women wonder about the contents of their fast-food meal. In front of a log pile, Finnish is heard.
By taking the camera to a cinema screening of his documentary, Olsson also makes the audience his leading characters. You do not have to be in Sweden or surrounded by snow to be a part of Vintersaga’s mosaic.
Kaisu Tervonen (translated by Inari Ylinen)