Raven’s End (1963)

Raven’s End (1963)

“It wasn’t good enough.”

An aspiring writer (Thommy Berggren) navigates life in a small Swedish town with his alcoholic dad (Keve Hjelm), his hard-working mom (Emy Storm), and his girlfriend (Christina Framback), all while dreaming of success in the big city.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Coming of Age
  • Scandinavian Films
  • Writers

This Academy Award-nominated foreign film by Swedish writer-director Bo Widerberg — perhaps best known for helming Elvira Madigan (1967) — showcases Widerberg’s more naturalistic, less scripted style in contrast with the biggest name in Swedish cinema at the time (Ingmar Bergman, who nonetheless apparently loved this film). We’re introduced to the main character, Anders (Berggren), through both panning shots of the town he lives in (Widerberk employed plenty of local extras), and views of his troubled homelife, where his alcoholic father fails to provide even minimally for his family.

Meanwhile, Anders’ mom tries her best to get her husband to work, but seems to know she’s defeated and will always have to provide.

A significant turning point in the narrative comes when Anders, an aspiring writer, receives a letter from a publisher indicating interest in a book he’s submitted:

… which leads to the second portion of the film, and a series of challenging choices. This lyrical tale is beautifully filmed — and while it’s not must-see viewing, it’s certainly worth a one-time look.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Thommy Berggren as Anders
  • Jan Lindeström’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though anyone with an interest in Scandinavian cinema will certainly want to check it out.


One thought on “Raven’s End (1963)

  1. A fairly depressing experience – perhaps that is why Bergman liked it, I found it somewhat disappointing considering its reputation. The father character never develops and just becomes a bore. The ending nevertheless is fairly optimistic which comes as a surprise after all the doom and gloom that went before this.

    The film seems autobiographic and the whole enterprise has a late forties/early fifties atmosphere which the director would quickly abandon in his next films.

    Agree, watch this once but not certainly not a must see.

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