The New Land

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This article is about the Swedish film. For the American television series, see The New Land (TV series). For the magazine, see New Land (magazine).
The New Land
The New Land.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jan Troell
Produced by Bengt Forslund
Written by Bengt Forslund
Jan Troell
Starring Max von Sydow
Liv Ullmann
Eddie Axberg
Monica Zetterlund
Distributed by Svensk Filmindustri
Release dates
  • 26 February 1972 (1972-02-26) (Sweden)
Running time
204 minutes
Country Sweden
Language Swedish

The New Land (Swedish: Nybyggarna) is a 1972 Swedish film written by Bengt Forslund and directed by Jan Troell. It stars Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Eddie Axberg. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 45th Academy Awards.[1]

The film is based on the last two novels of The Emigrants Suite by Vilhelm Moberg: The Settlers and The Last Letter Home. It was adapted to the screen by Bengt Forslund and Jan Troell. It is a sequel to the 1971 film The Emigrants (Swedish: Utvandrarna).

The 1974 American television series The New Land was based loosely on both the 1971 film The Emigrants and the 1972 film The New Land.[2]


The film begins where the previous film, The Emigrants ended, with Karl Oskar bringing Kristina and their three small children, Johan, Marta and Harald, along with Karl Oskar's brother Robert, Robert's friend Arvid, through the woods to the land he claimed at Lake Ki Chi Saga. Upon their arrival, Karl Oskar leads them to a small shanty he found on the land, telling them it will provide them shelter until he can build them a farmhouse, and he points out to Kristina how fertile the topsoil is. With three small children and Kristina expecting another child, Karl Oskar pours all their resources into building them a house before winter arrives. He begins clearing the land of the tall pine trees, and with the help of Robert, Arvid and some of their Swedish neighbors, construct for them a small farmhouse.

Once the farmhouse is completed, Karl Oskar and Kristina invite their fellow Swedish settlers over for dinner, including Kristina's Uncle Danjel and Ulrika, who has since become a very close friend of the family. After dinner, Karl Oskar and the others begin talking about how grateful they are for having emigrated, and about how much better America has been for them than Sweden. Kristina however, overcome by homesickness, bursts into tears. Later that night, Karl Oskar tries to console Kristina and shows her something he'd kept from when they had left Sweden-a shoe that had belonged to Anna, their eldest daughter who had died in Sweden. He tells her that it helps him to remember their home, which comforts her slightly. Not long afterwards, Kristina gives birth to a son, Danjel, named after her uncle.

Robert, meanwhile, tells Arvid that he plans to head west to California to dig for gold, and asks Arvid to come with him. They head west, only to have their adventure plagued by a series of misfortunes. The two become lost in the desert, where Arvid dies from lack of water. Robert is rescued by a Hispanic cattle driver, who brings him to a village in the Sierra Nevada. While there, Robert comes to possess a small fortune, only to have it swindled from him by another Swede. He returns to Minnesota, where after meeting again with Karl Oskar and Kristina, dies from a fever he contracted while out west.

In the following years, Kristina gives birth to two more children; a daughter, Ulrika and a son, Frank. After Frank, a doctor advises Kristina that after seven pregnancies and apparently a number of miscarriages, she is torn inside and that if she gets pregnant again, it will ultimately be fatal. However, Kristina decides to go against the doctor's warning, citing religious reasons, and eventually becomes pregnant again several times. After suffering several miscarriages, Kristina falls ill and becomes bedridden, gradually weakening. Kristina dies in 1862, during a period marked in American history by the Sioux Uprising of 1862, during which Sioux warriors killed more than 500 white settlers across the upper Midwest, among them Kristina's uncle Danjel and his three grown children. The film shows some of these warriors being hanged. In the many years following Kristina's death, Karl Oskar, overwhelmed by grief, withdraws into a state of solitude, watching his children grow up, start families of their own and eventually his eldest son Johan takes over the farm. Karl Oskar often visits Kristina's grave overlooking the river, tending to the flowers growing around it faithfully while in the distance, hammering sounds can be heard as other Swedes have also begun moving into the area in large numbers and establishing farms. On her grave marker, beneath her name it reads "We Shall Meet Again". The film ends with a neighbor of Karl Oskar, Axel Andersson, writing a letter to Karl Oskar's sister Lydia back in Sweden informing her of Karl Oskar's death. In his letter, Andersson explains that Karl Oskar's children had by then forgotten Swedish, and that Karl Oskar often asked him to write to his sister informing her of his death. Meanwhile, a photograph is displayed showing a portrait of an aged Karl Oskar, surrounded by his grown children and grandchildren, in front of the new farmhouse built on the family farm. The letter is dated December 20, 1890.



At the 8th Guldbagge Awards the film won the awards for Best Actor (Eddie Axberg) and Best Actress (Monica Zetterlund).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Sixth Edition, New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-345-39736-3, p. 738.
  3. ^ "The New Land (1972)". Swedish Film Institute. 2 March 2014. 

External links[edit]