The epiphanies of young love are tested by the disappointments delved out in life, in the feature debut of Swedish auteur Roy Andersson.
Those familiar with the later style of Andersson’s work may be a little surprised by the warmth and seeming ordinariness of his portrait of youthful romance. It centres on 15-year-olds Päl and Annika. Both come from troubled family homes, but find in each other a brief, but blissful escape from the world. Andersson doesn’t have them meet straight away. Instead he sets up the worlds in which they have grown up and offers a realistic portrait of domestic life. When the film shifts attention to the youngsters, Andersson truly captures the head-spinning emotional whirlwind of young romance, with Rolf Sohlman and Ann-Sofie Kylin both compelling and sweet as the love-struck pair. The film was originally titled ‘Love Story’ but it opened at the same time as Arthur Hiller’s treacly Ali MacGraw-Ryan O’Neal melodrama. Andersson’s film has stood the test of time far better and remains one of the most convincing portraits of a burgeoning relationship.