Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ADALEN 31 (1969)

I'm not knowledgeable about the films of Swedish filmmaker Bo Widerberg, but according to IMDb this is one of his highest rated films.  Unfortunately I only found it to be mediocre.

From what I can tell, the story (also written by Widerberg) is based on the 1931 Adalen riots where soldiers fired on unarmed striking workers killing five and wounding five. That's an excellent idea for a film and strangely enough it's very reminiscent of Emile Zola's 1885 novel "Germinal", which I love. But the pace of ADALEN 31 is slow. Almost painfully slow. It opens with the workers living a peaceful country life during the strike, but then the owners hire some scabs, the workers attack and whip the shit out of them. The military is brought in.  During a march the workers are fired upon.

Nice story, but like I said it's slow! Honestly the 110 minutes you'll spend watching this film would be better spent reading the first few chapters of Zola's "Germinal" or watching Claude Berri's 1993 adaptation which I think is almost a masterpiece.