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Song For Martin
     

Song For Martin

Director: Bille August, Sven Wollter, Viveka Seldahl, Reine Brynolfsson

Cast: Bille August, Sven Wollter, Viveka Seldahl, Reine Brynolfsson

 
After a number of big-budget international projects, writer and director Bille August scaled himself back with this intimate story about two people who find both love and tragedy late in life. Martin (Sven Wolter) is a well-known and highly respected classical composer and conductor in his early sixties. While rehearsing for a concert, Martin becomes aquatinted with

Overview

After a number of big-budget international projects, writer and director Bille August scaled himself back with this intimate story about two people who find both love and tragedy late in life. Martin (Sven Wolter) is a well-known and highly respected classical composer and conductor in his early sixties. While rehearsing for a concert, Martin becomes aquatinted with Barbara (Viveka Seldahl), the orchestra's concertmaster who is ten years his junior. While both Martin and Barbara are married, there is a strong mutual attraction between them, and after a brief affair they decide to divorce their respective mates and get married. Despite the objections of their children (all of whom are fully grown), Martin and Barbara wed, settling into a happy and productive relationship in Sweden. But five years later, while Barbara assists Martin with his latest project, she notices his memory seems to be failing him, and his personality is beginning to shift. A doctor diagnoses Martin's condition as the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and as his condition worsens, Martin finds it more and more difficult to write the music that means so much to him. Barbara, on the other hand, wants to help her husband, but as his memory fades and his confidence goes with it, she sees the brilliant artist she fell in love with slipping away, and she's not sure how she feels about the increasingly feeble stranger who has taken his place. En Sang For Martin was based on the novel Boken om E by Ulla Isaksson.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Although it's a pretty straightforward Alzheimer's drama, the Danish/Swedish A Song for Martin comes at the subject matter from a different enough angle to be distinctive. Instead of the protagonist watching his or her spouse of 30 years deteriorate into a stranger, these two are newlyweds -- while still being in their fifties or sixties. In fact, this cellist and her acclaimed composer recently left their longtime spouses to be together. Ordinary film morality might make his subsequent diagnosis some kind of punishment for their sinful extramarital longing, but director Bille August has the utmost respect for his characters' decisions. In fact, there's not a moment in the dialogue when Barbara (Viveka Seldahl) regrets having left a healthy husband to be with a sick one. And since the dialogue is sometimes too on-the-nose, those feelings would be there if that's the message we were supposed to take. Barbara followed love, and her love doesn't waver under the enormous burdens of her new husband's illness. This isn't to say she copes perfectly -- in fact, her coping is often quite imperfect. It's just to say she could be no less a wife to him if they'd been married since they were teenagers. The creative individual losing his artistic skills is a pretty familiar window into Alzheimer's, and sometimes the film plays a bit like "Alzheimer's greatest hits," with the incidents following the well-documented behavioral patterns we've seen in other films. But the leads play their roles with a deep believability, Seldahl walking the line between weariness and determination, and Sven Wollter fixing that expression of slack panic that comes with losing your bearings. They may be walking down a sadly familiar path, but A Song for Martin reminds us that each couple experiences its sorrows in their own personal way.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/12/2003
UPC:
0687797971098
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Alchemy / Millennium
Time:
1:53:00

Special Features

Scene selections; Previews; Director commentary

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits [13:01]
2. Quiet Times [11:25]
3. Laps of Memory [11:35]
4. Bad News [13:32]
5. Easter with the Family [14:22]
6. Old Friends [10:58]
7. Some Birthday [8:54]
8. Going Home [12:51]
9. Letting Go [5:44]
10. Moving On [4:21]
11. Ending Credits [3:43]

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