All You Need Is Love. Possibly...
- Elvira Madigan review by TE
The real life story of Elvira Madigan, a celebrity tightrope walker, and Count Sixten Sparre is one of the world's great romantic tales. In this 1967 movie, Swedish director Bo Widerberg gives it the full 'love is all that matters' treatment.
It's worth suspending all contemporary cynicism and allowing yourself to be swept along by the sheer bliss of the lovers' rapture, and by the beautiful strains of Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto (which became an unlikely hit as a result of this film and which is now referred to on cd labels as "Mozart's Elvira Madigan Concerto").
Of course, we know from the start that such happiness cannot last, but that is the whole point: nothing can stand in the way of true love, not hunger, not friends, not family, not even the fear of death.
Over 50 years on it is hard to imagine such a grandly Romantic film being made these days. But, as in the Elvis Costello song, it's worth asking: "What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding"?!
Pia Degermark looks stunningly beautiful in the lead role, and you would think that she was set fair for a great career. However, her life seems to have been blighted by anorexia, drugs and financial fraud leading to prison. Still, 'Elvira Madigan' is an incredible artistic peak to have been part of.
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