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 Actress prize) and a young Swedish officer (Thommy Berggren) who deserts both the army and his family to be with her. As the economic precarity of their situation becomes clear, however, cold, hard reality begins to intrude upon their lovers’ idyll. The gorgeous, sun-dappled cinematography and Mozart soundtrack (the Piano Concerto no. 21, which came to be known as the “Elvira Madigan Concerto”) enhance the air of intoxicating romanticism.