Anna-Liisa, the daughter of a well-to-do farm owner who is engaged to be married to a wealthy young neighbor, is admired for her upright nature. But she carries a dark and melancholy secret that once drove her to the brink of suicide —  after once having been impregnated by a former farmhand, Mikko, Anna-Liisa accidentally killed her newborn child. Now, as Mikko has become successful as a log-rolling boss and wants to claim Anna-Liisa as his own, both he and his mother Husso threaten to expose her.

The film was based on the 1895 play Anna Liisa, written by Minna Canth (1844-1897), a pioneer of realism on the Finnish stage and a committed participant in the debates on the social position of women and the institution of marriage that raged across the Nordic countries in the 1880s and 1890s. Directed by Teuvo Puro and Jussi Snellman (Finland, 1922). 69 min.

Film Historian Vito Adriaensens will be introducing the films screened from 1 to 3 February.



About the Series

2017 marks the centennial of the start of what has become known as the “Golden Age” of Swedish cinema. This “Golden Age” is commonly regarded in film history as the Swedish film industry’s artistic peak in the years following the success of Victor Sjöström’s Henrik Ibsen adaptation A Man There Was (Terje Vigen), which premiered in January 1917. It is associated with films with large budgets and artistic ambitions, based on acclaimed literary works, and mostly set in a rural milieu, with location anchoring the action in the Scandinavian landscape. These films were often referred to as “national films” because of their reliance on national literature, national landscape, and national costume. There has been a tendency, however, to focus accounts of the Swedish “Golden Age” exclusively on the films made by Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller, leaving out all other Swedish directors who made films in the same style. Many wonderful films have thus slipped from view because they do not match this overly narrow conception of Sweden’s film history.

This two-part film series, which will continue next year, is built around the argument that the first Swedish “Golden Age” films constituted a significant challenge to filmmakers in the neighboring countries, as well as in Sweden itself — aesthetically, commercially, and culturally. By showing a variety of important but lesser-known Swedish “Golden Age” films in combination with artistically connected films from the surrounding countries, we’ll emphasize how the Swedish films functioned as a catalyst in the other Nordic countries for the conception of what a national cinema is and should be.

Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute and the Swedish Film Institute and Pordenone Silent Film Festival.

To purchase a series pass for “The Swedish Challenge,” click here.

Films in the series include:

A Norway Lass /Synnöve SolbakkenTHU—JAN 25
A Mother’s Fight /Thora van DekenFRI—JAN 26
Gypsy Anne /Fante-AnneSAT—JAN 27
Love’s Crucible /Vem dömerSAT—JAN 27
Anna LiisaTHU—FEB 1
The House of Shadows/Morænen—FRI—FEB 2
The Bride of Glomdal /Glomdalsbruden—SAT—FEB 3

About Vito Adriaensens

Film Historian Vito Adriaensens will be introducing the films screened from 1 to 3 February. Vito is the author of the upcoming Velvet Curtains and Gilded Frames: The Art of Early European Cinema, and teaches Early Cinema at Columbia University.

He is on the Executive Committee of Domitor, the International Society for the Study of Early Cinema, and recently wrote on the marvels of Swedish Silent Cinema for Kosmorama, the journal of the Danish Film Institute.



Photo Credit: Kansallinen audiovisuaalinen instituutti, Helsinki

$12 ($7 ASF Members)
Series Pass $45 ($30 ASF Members)