Everlasting Moments

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Everlasting Moments
Everlasting moments poster.PNG
US theatrical poster
Directed byJan Troell
Produced byThomas Stenderup
Written byNiklas Rådström
Jan Troell
Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell
StarringMaria Heiskanen
Mikael Persbrandt
Jesper Christensen
Narrated byCallin Öhrvall
Music byMatti Bye
CinematographyJan Troell
Mischa Gavrjusjov
Edited byNiels Pagh Andersen
Distributed bySandrew Metronome (Nordic countries)
IFC Films (US)
Icon Film Distribution (UK)
Release date
  • 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05) (Toronto Film Festival)
  • 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05) (Sweden)
Running time
131 minutes
Budget$7 million[1]

Everlasting Moments (Swedish: Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick) is a 2008 Swedish drama film directed by Jan Troell, starring Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt and Jesper Christensen. It is based on the true story of Maria Larsson, a Swedish working class woman in the early 20th century, who wins a camera in a lottery and goes on to become a photographer.[2] It has been compared to Troell's previous films Here's Your Life and As White as in Snow, which are both set around the same period.[3]

The film won the Guldbagge Award for Best Film and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 66th Golden Globe Awards. It also made the January shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards, but wasn't selected as one of the final nominees.


Maria, a Finn in Sweden, wins a valuable Contessa camera in a lottery with a man named Sigfrid Larsson, and they agree to marry to share the prize. They have numerous children, including the narrator, daughter Maja. In the early 1900s, Maria takes the camera to a shop owned by the Danish-Swede Sebastian Pedersen, looking to see what price she can get if she sells it. Mr. Pederson promises to give her an estimate, and takes her photo as she leaves. When she returns to the shop, she is amazed to see the photograph of herself, and wonders how the technology works. Mr. Pederson gives her some explanation as to photography and imagery. He then gives her updated camera equipment to go with the Contessa.

Though she has no money to pay for the equipment, Mr. Pederson accepts the camera itself as payment, allowing her to use it though he owns it. She uses the camera to photograph her four children, telling them not to tell anyone, including Sigfrid. She then uses it for post-mortem photography on a girl named Ingeborg, giving a copy to Ingeborg's mother for free. Maria shows another copy of the memorial photograph to Mr. Pederson. Impressed by Maria's natural talent and vision, he accepts the photograph as payment for the Contessa. When Sigfrid is briefly arrested after an explosion during a strike killed one and injured six strikebreakers, Maria reveals the photograph of the children to him. He is later released after a witness confirms his non-involvement.

Five years later in 1914, the Great War breaks across Europe to the south of Sweden, and Maria, who has fallen out of touch with Pederson, shows up at his shop again to discuss taking photos of uniformed men. The monarchs of Scandinavia meet to discuss how to keep their countries out of the conflict, with Maria attending and taking a photograph of the kings' public appearance. She is shocked to learn her photograph of the monarchs was purchased and published by a newspaper. As the children learn more about the Ten Commandments, including Thou shalt not commit adultery, they note Sigfrid's womanizing and Maria's friendship to Mr. Pederson.

Mr. Pederson takes a portrait photograph of Maria, and they move to first-name basis. Sigfrid sees the photograph, and enraged, takes it as proof of being cuckolded by Sebastian. He violently confronts Maria, even though she points out his relationships with women. After an incident of marital rape, Maria carries out a self-induced abortion. When Maria and the children enjoy seeing a Charlie Chaplin film, Sigfrid becomes enraged again at his belief his children are being taken away from him. He puts a knife to her throat, and while he does not kill her, he receives another longer prison sentence. While he is away, the children urge Maria to separate from him, arguing the household is better off without Sigfrid. Sigfrid is later released and Maria reconciles with him, though Maja expresses bewilderment as to why. Shortly after a social outing, Maria dies. Years later, Maja discovers Maria's only self-portrait, taken in a mirror between the outing and her death.



With financing from 26 organisations from five different countries; Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany; the film was Troell's largest project since The Emigrants in the early 1970s.[4] Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell, Jan Troell's wife, started doing research and interviews in 1986 with Maja Larsson, Maria Larsson's daughter, who was a cousin to Ulfsäter-Troell's father. During her research she found Maria's pictures, which were used as inspiration for the pictures seen in the film. The material wasn't organized, but when a person at the Swedish Film Institute heard about the story and how Jan Troell was interested in turning it into a film, an early process for a manuscript was started.[5]

The first official meeting took place in early 2004. Troell said that the casting choice of Maria Heiskanen and Jesper Christensen, both of whom had starred in Troell films previously, had always been "obvious."[6] Two years before filming started, Troell met Mikael Persbrandt at a film festival in Sweden and started to imagine him in the role of Sigfrid. Persbrandt then contacted Troell himself and persuaded him into giving him the role.[7] A major difference between the film and the actual story is that the real Maria Larsson lived in Gothenburg, while the film takes place in Malmö, where Jan Troell himself comes from.[8]

Filming took place between 26 February and 1 June 2007 in Malmö and Luleå, Sweden,[9] and Vilnius, Lithuania.[10] The film was shot on 16 mm film, and then blown up to 35 mm. "Then you get a little grainy picture that fits the turn of the [20th] century era and also relates to the early silent cinema. I have deliberately kept the colours down and used similar sepia tones as those in for example Victor Sjöström's films," Troell explains this idea.[3]


The film premiered as part of the Masters selection at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.[11] On 24 September the same year it was released in Sweden.[12] IFC Films acquired the American distribution rights and gave the film a limited release on 6 March 2009. At its peak it was running in 30 theatres during the same weekend.[13] It was released in the United Kingdom on 22 May 2009 through Icon Film.[14] A US DVD and Blu-ray was released in June 2010 through The Criterion Collection, as part of a collaboration between The Criterion Collection and IFC Films.[15]


The film has a 91% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 97 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5 out of 10.[16] The average rating from 21 reviews collected at the Swedish-language site Kritiker.se was 4.0 out of 5.[17]


In addition to the awards and nominations, Everlasting Moments was also Sweden's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards.[18] It was among the nine films that made it to the January shortlist, but was not selected as one of the final nominees.[19]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Globes 11 January 2009 Best Foreign Language Film Jan Troell Nominated [20]
Guldbagge Awards 12 January 2009 Best Film Thomas Stenderup Won [21][22]
Best Actress Maria Heiskanen Won
Best Actor Mikael Persbrandt Won
Best Supporting Actor Jesper Christensen Won
Special Achievement – Best Music Matti Bye Won
Best Direction Jan Troell Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Amanda Ooms Nominated
Best Screenplay Niklas Rådström, Jan Troell and Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell Nominated
Best Cinematography Jan Troell and Mischa Gavrjusjov Nominated
Valladolid International Film Festival 2008 Best Actress Maria Heiskanen Won [23]
Best Director of Photography Jan Troell and Mischa Gavrjusjov Won


  1. ^ EVERLASTING MOMENTS: Characters unfold Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Trust Film Sales Archived 22 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Gustafsson, Annika (21 June 2008). "Jan Troell hyllar fotot och familjen Archived 2009-05-19 at the Wayback Machine." (in Swedish) Sydsvenskan. Retrieved on 12 February 2009.
  4. ^ Mälarstedt, Kurt. (2 June 2007) "Jan Troell jagar de eviga ögonblicken." (in Swedish) Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved on 12 February 2009.
  5. ^ Ulfsäter-Troell, Agneta. Förlaget Ulfsäter-Troell. (in Swedish) Retrieved on 12 February 2009.
  6. ^ Gentele, Jeanette (31 January 2007) "Jan Troell satsar stort igen." (in Swedish) Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved on 14 May 2009.
  7. ^ Sundholm, Magnus (11 January 2009) "– Jag är bra på att förlora." (in Swedish) Aftonbladet. Retrieved on 14 May 2009.
  8. ^ Bengtsson, Hans (27 August 2008) "Troell västerut med nya filmen." (in Swedish) Skånska Dagbladet. Retrieved on 14 May 2009.
  9. ^ Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick – Inspelningsplatser at the Swedish Film Institute
  10. ^ Thorsén, Tjerstin (17 May 2006) "Troell gör ny film Archived 2009-05-19 at the Wayback Machine." (in Swedish) Helsingborgs Dagblad. Retrieved on 14 May 2009.
  11. ^ (2008-07-10) "Toronto | more films to Masters and World Cinema sections." Variety. Retrieved on 6 September 2009.
  12. ^ Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick – visningar (in Swedish). Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved on 6 September 2009.
  13. ^ Everlasting Moments – Weekend Box Office. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 6 September 2009.
  14. ^ (2009-05-22) "Awaydays breaks UK, Spain sees Good." Screen Daily. Retrieved on 6 September 2009.
  15. ^ Kay, Jeremy (1 September 2009) "IFC Films teams up with Criterion Collection for prestige DVD series." Screen Daily. Retrieved on 2009-09-06.
  16. ^ Everlasting Moments at Rotten Tomatoes
  17. ^ Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (in Swedish). Kritiker.se.
  18. ^ Kuprijanko, Alexander (16 September 2008) "Sveriges Oscarshopp står till Jan Troell Archived 24 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine." (in Swedish) Sydsvenskan. Retrieved on 2009-05-24.
  19. ^ Kilday, Gregg. "Nine compete for foreign-language Oscar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Everlasting Moments". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  21. ^ "2008 års Guldbaggevinnare". Swedish Film Institute. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011.
  22. ^ "2008 års Guldbaggenomineringar". Swedish Film Institute. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009.
  23. ^ "'Estomago' wins top prize at Valladolid". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 November 2018.

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