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Together (Tillsammans)

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Movie propaganda

Set in 1970s Sweden, this dramatic comedy follows Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren), an abused middle-class woman who leaves her husband and seeks refuge with her brother Göran (Gustav Hammarsten) in a chaotic commune inhabited by people who discuss politics, have free-sex, grow vegetables and drink lots of red wine while listening to ABBA. The collision of two separate worlds will change their lives forever.

Persons of interest

  • Lisa Lindgren .... Elisabeth
  • Michael Nyqvist .... Rolf
  • Emma Samuelsson .... Eva
  • Sam Kessel .... Stefan
  • Gustav Hammarsten .... Göran
  • Anja Lundqvist .... Lena
  • Jessica Liedberg .... Anna
  • Ola Norell .... Lasse
  • Axel Zuber .... Tet
  • Shanti Roney .... Klas
  • Olle Sarri .... Erik
  • Cecilia Frode .... Signe
  • Lars Frode .... Sigvard
  • Emil Moodysson .... Måne
  • Henrik Lundström .... Fredrik
  • Thérèse Brunnander .... Margit
  • Claes Hartelius .... Ragnar
  • Sten Ljunggren .... Birger
  • Lukas Moodysson .... Screenwriter
  • Lukas Moodysson .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

*

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Stereo
  • Languages: Danish
  • Picture: Widescreen 16:9
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, low level coarse language, low level sex scene)

Surveillance time

106 minutes (1:46 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 27 June 2002
DVD rental: 18 December 2002
VHS rental: 18 December 2002
DVD retail: 14 May 2003

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Director's notes
Lukas Moodysson, the writer and director of Together, as well as the 1998 international hit Show me love (aka Fucking Amål), wanted to explore the pros and cons of the left-wing movement of the 1970s. He considers private and public rebellion, along with solidarity and sharing as the pluses of the time, while the excessive theorising and fundamentalism the negatives. "Too much theorising will break you in the end," Moodysson asserts. "Free love sounds great, but if it makes people feel bad (as it often does in Together) then it's not so great." He adds, "Religious and political fundamentalism are equally non-inclusive, and therefore essentially non-revolutionary."

Moodysson believes that "a refusal to compromise between the two sides" ultimately derailed the 70s leftist wave. "I've tried to be as faithful to the truth as possible," he affirms. "It's true my heart is left; that's my base. but from that base, I lash out pretty hard against the mistakes of the 70s left."

Ironically, Moodysson was only six years old in 1975, the year Together takes place. Aside from listening to ABBA and being taken by his "bit leftist" mother to a few political demonstrations, he doesn't recall having childhood thoughts about the spirit of the 70s, which he so precisely and evocatively portrays in the film. In fact, it wasn't until 1998 that Moodysson even conceived of making a film about the 1970s.

After visiting an exhibition called The heart is on the left, a retrospective of 60s and 70s political art at Sweden's Gothenburg Art Centre, the filmmaker was struck by a much broader spectrum within the leftist movement than he thought existed. "There was tremendous variation in the movement," Moodysson asserts, "and that's what got me started on all this. I began to investigate the environment I grew up in and how it ultimately affected us."

Though the filmmaker maintains Together is not particularly autobiographical, he clearly relates to the character of Erik, one of the commune's fundamentalists. "I feel for Erik," he explains, "despite his naïveté and wanting to join the Baader-Meinhof. A lot of his indignation and rebelliousness comes from myself."

In addition, though his parents divorced when he was young, Moodysson didn't initially realise how one of the film's storylines - separated parents moving back together - mirrored his and so many other children's dreams of a split family reuniting. "The thought never entered my mind while I was creating Elisabeth and Rolf," he recalls, "but once the film was finished, I began to see the parallels."

Regarding the children in the film, Moodysson found directing the young actors no more difficult than guiding the adults. "We tried to create a friendly, happy atmosphere for them," he relates. "They were all really intelligent kids, but their approach to acting was probably more intuitive or spontaneous than analytical." The filmmaker notes, "I could probably say the same about myself, at least when I direct. When I write, I work more from the head. When I direct, I follow my heart."

In telling his stories, Moodysson likes to mix radical ideas with more traditional humanism, celebrating decency and ordinary people. "I like to combine American lightness with European gravity," he says, adding that he believes in old Hollywood concepts such as heroes and role models. "It's just that I don't have the same morality," the Writer/Director remarks. "My image of the hero is different. As I see it, you can learn from art, absorb it."

He elaborates, "Personally, I'm interested in the kind of art that not only asks questions but also tries to give answers. If an artist stands for something, you don't necessarily have to buy into the whole value system to appreciate it."

Moodysson says he has problems imagining a film without a happy ending. "I want a fairy tale ending," he explains, "but without 'they lived happily ever after'. That last bit ruins things." Moodysson concludes, "I want a proper ending, a grand finale, but without that boring final nail in the coffin that says, 'this is it, for ever and ever'. I want to keep the possibilities open."

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