In Halland, located on the west coast of Sweden, lies the seaside town of Falkenberg. This tourist hot-spot features as the beautiful setting in what may reasonably be assumed as one of the most thought-provoking and emotionally impacting Swedish films I’ve seen released in the last several years. Without trying to provide any spoilers here, Farväl Falkenberg is a story about a group of extremely tight-knit childhood friends in what is perhaps their last summer spent together, as kids do, facing the uncertain future of impending change. Written by Jesper Ganslandt and Fredrik Wenzel, the story follows brothers John and Holger, Jesper (the film’s director), Jörgen and David as they make sense of the world as lived by the adults around them, meanwhile dreaming about both past and present, and dealing with a significant and startling tragedy amongst them. Released back in 2006 and screening at the Toronto International Film Festival to much mixed acclaim, the themes explored in this one-and-a-half hour presentation of our relationships with each other, our homes, ourselves — in short, our humanity — are not for the faint of heart. Like many other Swedish productions before it as a friend recently reminded me, the bittersweet connotations of both plot and cinematography look straight at difficult subjects such as old age, death and the age-old addage ‘life must go on’ unashamedly in the eye.
If you’re not the sort that broke down when Mufasa died in the The Lion King, then I strongly urge you to watch this film. To be honest, I actually came across Farväl Falkenberg by way of its rather incredible soundtrack by Erik Enocksson (album cover above). I have no doubt that the story’s impact owes much to this magnificent musical backdrop to which Ganslandt et al. were able to re-enact what I can only imagine to be a semi-autobiographical account of someone’s experience of life growing up in Falkenberg. I hadn’t realised it was a film for nearly three years until it was pointed out to me; and having greatly loved Enocksson’s self-evidently cinematic string melodies accentuated by vocalized chords and constant transformation via digital manipulation (methodically much like the work of David Stackenäs at Swedish Outsiders) alongside Josefin Gavie’s rendition of the theme on keys, I set out to find the movie immediately. But in a way I’m glad to have gotten to ‘listen’ to the film before viewing it, as it gave me the opportunity to fully appreciate the story as told via both works that stand so strongly as a whole on their own. Released on one of my most favourite labels, Kning Disk, the Farväl Falkenberg OST comes in the usual beautiful packaging of Kning — this one set with an embroidered landscape inspired by the film’s imagery, with golden typesetting that symbolizes nothing short of contemplation in summertime.
Not much sign of trailers on YouTube, though they can be found on the official site. The scene montage below (despite use of extraneous snippets of non-OST tracks) provides ample preview until tracking down album and DVD.
Sarah Badr © MMVIII
See also: Farväl Falkenberg (Official Site)