The New Land

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This article is about the Swedish film. For other uses, see New Land.
The New Land
The New Land.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jan Troell
Produced by Bengt Forslund
Written by Bengt Forslund
Jan Troell
Based on The Settlers and The Last Letter Home
by Vilhelm Moberg
Starring Max von Sydow
Liv Ullmann
Eddie Axberg
Monica Zetterlund
Distributed by Svensk Filmindustri
Release date
  • 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 directed by Jan Troell and starring Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Eddie Axberg. The film is a sequel to Troell's 1971 film The Emigrants, and both are based on The Emigrants novels by Vilhelm Moberg. Drawing its story from the last two novels, The Settlers and The Last Letter Home, the film is about the Swedish immigrants establishing their home in Minnesota, during the Dakota War of 1862.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It and The Emigrants are the basis for the 1974 American television series The New Land.

Plot[edit]

Karl Oskar, his wife Kristina and their three children, along with Karl Oskar's brother Robert and Robert's friend Arvid, have arrived to Lake Ki Chi Saga from Sweden. Taking shelter in a shanty, 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 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 become a very close friend of the family. After dinner, they discuss if they regret emigrating. Later that night, Karl Oskar tries to console Kristina and shows her something he had 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 drinking tainted 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.

The mass execution of Sioux warriors is portrayed in the film.

In the following years, Kristina gives birth to two more children. Frank, a doctor, advises Kristina that after seven pregnancies and a number of miscarriages, another pregnancy will be fatal. However, Kristina decides to go against the doctor's warning, and eventually becomes pregnant again several times. After suffering several miscarriages, Kristina falls ill and becomes bedridden, gradually weakening. The Sioux Uprising of 1862 erupts when starving Sioux warriors kill more than 500 white settlers across the upper Midwest, among them Kristina's uncle Danjel and his three grown children. Many of the warriors are subject to a mass execution.

Kristina dies in 1862, and Karl Oskar, overwhelmed by grief, withdraws into a state of solitude, watching his children grow up and start families of their own. 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". A neighbor of Karl Oskar, Axel Andersson, writes 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 which occurred in the evening of 7 December 1890.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Liv Ullmann said the cast spent days on the fields. She won awards for Best Actress from the National Board of Review and National Society of Film Critics for her performance.

Actress Liv Ullmann said that The New Land was filmed concurrently with The Emigrants over a year.[1] The cast members spent days in the fields to portray farming, particularly for The New Land. Ullmann said that after three days, she began to be exhausted.[2]

The film was shot at Filmstaden in Stockholm, as well as Småland and Skåne in Sweden and in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado between February 1969 and January 1970.[3] The combined cost of the two films was kr 7 million, then the most expensive Swedish film.[4]

Release[edit]

The New Land was released to cinemas in Sweden on 26 February 1972.[5] The film opened in New York City on 26 October 1973.[6]

Before the home video release in the U.S., The Emigrants and The New Land were edited into The Emigrant Saga and aired on television.[7] The first U.S. home video came in February 2016, when The Criterion Collection released both films on Blu-ray. The films were frequently requested by customers.[8] The New Land was featured in the 2016 Gothenburg Film Festival.[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for The New York Times, Lawrence van Gelder praised the film as "a masterly exercise in film-making," and complimented Van Sydow and Ullman. He wrote that while the film could be "a reunion with old friends" for audiences that viewed The Emigrants, The New Land could stand alone.[6] Stephen Farber of The New York Times called The New Land "a shattering film," and asserted "its portrait of the Indians is one of the most interesting ever caught on film."[10] In New York, Judith Crist said the film demonstrated "poetic and human detail."[11] U.S. novelist Philip Roth was also an admirer of the film, writing in 1974 "It's the first movie I've seen in years and years where I actually believed in the life and death of the characters. But the rendering of the settlement of the Midwest by immigrant Swedes and their dealings with the Indians and nature, is as good as anything in American literature on the subject."[12] The film was an influence on some of his work.[13]

Roger Ebert referred to The New Land as a masterpiece in his review of Troell's Everlasting Moments (2008).[14] In his 2015 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave the film three and a half stars, praising it for "Superior performances, photography, many stirring scenes."[7] Author Terrence Rafferty wrote that The New Land appears lighter than The Emigrants, but has "a more pervasive sense of danger" and "disquiet," and compared Robert and Arvid to Lennie and George in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.[15] The 1974 American television series The New Land was based loosely on both The Emigrants and The New Land,[16] which Rafferty attributed to the popularity of both films.[15]

Accolades[edit]

The New Land was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the same year Troell was nominated for Best Director for The Emigrants, the first time a director was nominated in those categories for two different films in the same year.[17]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards 27 March 1973 Best Foreign Language Film Jan Troell Nominated [18]
Bodil Awards Best European Film Jan Troell Won [19]
Golden Globes 28 January 1973 Best Foreign Language Film The Emigrants and The New Land Won [20]
Guldbagge Awards 23 October 1972 Best Actor Eddie Axberg Won [19]
Best Actress Monica Zetterlund Won
National Board of Review 24 December 1973 Best Actress Liv Ullmann Won [21]
Top Foreign Films The New Land Won
National Society of Film Critics 4 January 1974 Best Actress Liv Ullmann Won [22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liv Ullmann, Liv Ullmann: Interviews, University Press of Mississippi, 2006, p. 5.
  2. ^ Ullmann, Liv Ullmann: Interviews, p. 6.
  3. ^ "The New Land (1972)". Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Nils Y. Wessell, ed., The American-Swedish '72, American Swedish Historical Foundation, 1972, p. 16.
  5. ^ "Nybyggarna" (in Swedish). Swedish Film Database. February 1972. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Van Gelder, Lawrence (27 October 1973). "Screen: 'The New Land': The Cast". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Leonard Maltin, Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide, Signet, September 2014.
  8. ^ Sharf, Zack (17 November 2015). "'The Graduate,' 'The Kid' and More Classics Hitting Criterion Collection in February". IndieWire. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  9. ^ Mälarstedt, Kurt (30 January 2016). "Människan i en monter. Jan Troell gjorde film av 4300 år gamla utvandrare.". Sydsvenskan. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  10. ^ Farber, Stephen (18 November 1973). "Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  11. ^ Judith Crist, "Truffaut's Latest: A Festival of a Movie," New York, 1 October 1973, p. 78.
  12. ^ Ira Nadel, "Philip Roth and Film," Roth and Celebrity, Lexington Books, 2012, p. 48.
  13. ^ Nadel, "Philip Roth and Film," p. 49.
  14. ^ Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2012, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011, p. 162.
  15. ^ a b Rafferty, Terrence (9 February 2016). "The Emigrants/The New Land: Homelands". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Lodge, Guy (13 October 2016). "Old Masters and New Talents Compete in a Stacked Foreign-Language Oscar Race". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  18. ^ "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  19. ^ a b "The New Land (1972)". Swedish Film Institute. 2 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "The New Land". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "1973 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  22. ^ Robert Emmet Long, ed., Liv Ullmann: Interviews, University Press of Mississippi, 2006, p. xvi.

External links[edit]