Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema

Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema

14 Episodes

Driven by a desire to forge a socially conscious Swedish cinema—one that broke with the inward-looking psychodrama of Ingmar Bergman to give dynamic expression to the everyday experiences of working-class Swedes—writer Bo Widerberg turned to filmmaking in the early 1960s, realizing his ambition in politically committed yet poetic works that merge social-realist themes with a refined, often breathtakingly beautiful visual sensibility. Dramatizing the struggles of ordinary people fighting to chart their own destiny, these four acclaimed, popular, and pivotal films from Widerberg’s most prolific period live and breathe with a rare vitality—and helped launch a new Swedish cinema.

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Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema
  • Elvira Madigan

    Episode 1

    Directed by Bo Widerberg • 1967 • Sweden
    Starring Pia Degermark, Thommy Berggren, Lennart Malmer

    Based on a true nineteenth-century romantic tragedy, this rapturously beautiful period drama traces the doomed affair between a teenage tightrope walker (Pia Degermark, winner of the Cannes Best Actr...

  • The Baby Carriage

    Episode 2

    Directed by Bo Widerberg • 1963 • Sweden
    Starring Inger Taube, Tommy Berggren, Lars Passgård

    Infused with a jazzy, nouvelle vague–inspired energy, Bo Widerberg’s feature debut has the freshness of youth. Building on his film criticism’s call for a socially relevant Swedish cinema, the writer tur...

  • Raven’s End

    Episode 3

    Directed by Bo Widerberg • 1963 • Sweden
    Starring Tommy Berggren, Keve Hjelm, Emy Storm

    A period piece that forgoes nostalgia in favor of a stark examination of working-class struggle, Bo Widerberg’s second feature unfolds in 1936 in the director’s hometown of Malmö. It’s there, in the poor dist...

  • Ådalen 31

    Episode 4

    Directed by Bo Widerberg • 1969 • Sweden
    Starring Peter Schildt, Kerstin Tidelius, Roland Hedlund

    One of Bo Widerberg’s most explicitly political works imbues the true story of a 1931 labor strike with a powerful contemporary resonance. In the industrial district of Ådalen, in the north of Swede...

  • The Boy and the Kite

    Episode 5

    Directed by Bo Widerberg • 1962 • Sweden

    Made in 1962 in Malmö, Sweden, THE BOY AND THE KITE (Pojken och draken) is Bo Widerberg’s first short film. Based on Widerberg’s script, it was codirected and shot by filmmaker Jan Troell on a 16 mm Paillard camera.

  • Jörgen Persson on Bo Widerberg

    Episode 6

    In this interview, conducted in 2021, cinematographer Jörgen Persson discusses director Bo Widerberg and working with him on ELVIRA MADIGAN and ÅDALEN 31.

  • Bo Widerberg on “Filmrutan,” 1967

    Episode 7

    In September 1967, to coincide with the release of ELVIRA MADIGAN, Bo Widerberg was a guest on the Swedish television program “Filmrutan.” For the occasion, a roundtable composed of children quizzed the director about his film.

  • ELVIRA MADIGAN Behind the scenes

    Episode 8

  • Bo Widerberg and Hjalmar Näsström on ÅDALEN 31

    Episode 9

    In this press conference, which aired on the television program “Aktuellt” in 1968, labor-union chairman Hjalmar Näsström remembers the demonstrations during the 1931 Ådalen riots, and Bo Widerberg discusses his desire to make a film about the tragic events.

  • Tommy Berggren on Bo Widerberg

    Episode 10

    In this interview, conducted in 2021, Tommy Berggren remembers his long friendship and creative collaboration with director Bo Widerberg.

  • Bo and Nina Widerberg on RAVEN’S END

    Episode 11

    In this 1963 interview for the Swedish television program “Filmkrönikan,” director Bo Widerberg and his daughter Nina discuss RAVEN’S END.

  • Ruben Östlund on Bo Widerberg

    Episode 12

    In this interview, conducted in 2023, filmmaker Ruben Östlund discusses his creative collaboration with one of director Bo Widerberg’s contemporaries, producer Kalle Boman, and the influence of Widerberg on Swedish cinema.

  • THE BOY AND THE KITE Introduction by Jan Troell

    Episode 13

  • Bo Widerberg on THE BABY CARRIAGE

    Episode 14

    In this 1963 interview for the Swedish television program “Aktuellt,” director Bo Widerberg discusses the national film industry and his debut feature, THE BABY CARRIAGE.