Both a critics and audience favourite: strong opening for Fly’s Monica Z
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Danish director Per Fly’s portrait of Swedish legend Monica Zetterlund got this year’s best reviews for a Swedish film and went straight to the top of the charts
Danish director Per Fly’s portrait of legendary Swedish singer-actress Monica Zetterlund, Monica Z, was not only released to this year’s best reviews for a Swedish film so far, it also took directly to the top of the charts, with 62,000 admissions during the weekend (September 13-15), for Svensk Filmindustri.
“It is really fantastic it has been so well received both by critics and the audience – everybody who worked with the film feels proud and happy,” said Swedish producer Lena Rehnberg, of StellaNova Film, who staged the production with Danish producer Thomas Gammeltoft, of Eyeworks Fine & Mellow.
Scripted by Peter Birro, Monica Z follows the former telephone operator from the time she quit her job in provincial Hagfors until she reigned over the jazz clubs in Stockholm and New York (her 1964 recording with Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby, became a classic), through her actress career on stage and screen. Her performance in Jan Troell’s The Emigrants (1971) garnered her a Guldbagga, Sweden’s national film prize.
“Like meatballs and Pippi Longstocking, Zetterlund was a part of the Swedish national soul, a symbol of Swedish nostalgia,” explained Swedish-Icelandic singer-songwriter and pianist Edda Magnason (photo), who plays the lead and is one of the reasons it placed No1 on the Swedish Film Institute’s rating index based on leading Swedish media: it received 3.89 points (out of 5).
Co-starring Sverrir Gudnason and Kjell Bergqvist, Monica Z was selected for the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, where it won the Nordic Film Prize. It went on the World Film Festival in Montreal. – Zetterlund retired in 1999, suffering from severe scoliosis; she died in 2005 after a fire in her Stockholm apartment.
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