Absorbing saga, but not the full story
- The Emigrants / The New Land review by TE
The early section of this epic portrayal of Swedish emigration to America in the mid-19th century gets a little bogged down in its depiction of life in a rural Swedish community. However, the film hits its stride once the central family hit the road and cross the Atlantic.
The second disc offers an excellent portrayal of the hardships, dangers and drudgery that these early settlers faced.
The film is propelled by reliable performances from Max Von Sydow as the patriarch, and from Liv Ullman as the baby-machine mother. However, it is Eddie Axberg who really stands out as the restless, troubled brother.
The film does give a rather one-sided view of the clashes with the native Americans that erupted in the Minnesota area in 1862. There is no real questioning of the way that the Swedish families seize land for themselves. The film was made 50 years ago and I suspect that a contemporary director would adopt a much more nuanced approach to this issue.
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