Opening 25 Oct 2018
Two writers meet, and their subsequent conversation is the course of the film. A semi-retired author (Ben Kingsley) magnanimously agrees to advice Henry (Benno Fürmann) on his first manuscript. The translator-cum-author reads selected passages that Axel comments on: “elaborate,” “so you gave up,” “get on with it.” Onscreen the book materializes as Henry speaks; time passes, and lunch is served. Juxtaposed are the mysterious circumstances of acclaimed Germund Rein’s last manuscript that comprise mention of Rein’s wife (Daniela Lavender), two publishers (Jason Riddington, Veronica Ferres respectively), and David’s wife (Tuva Novotny). Throughout the film, this shift between reality and fiction occurs until they merge with an incredibly “spectacular twist.”
Director Daniel Alfredson (Millennium series) co-wrote the screenplay with Birgitta Bongenhielm; characters’ personalities have a nice balance. This is the first of a film trilogy based on Swedish author Håkan Nesser’s books: Death of an Author, Dear Agnes, and Samaria. It is a smart, subtly delivered film; the cast excels in understated portrayals that add to simmering emotional turmoil just below the surface. There is great camerawork (Pawel Edelman), keen editing (Håkan Karlsson), and the music, predominantly piano, (Anders Niska, Klas Wahl) is measured throughout.
Salient is the director’s respect for the author’s voice in the treatment. Can people escape without making amends? Breadcrumb-clues are in the storyline from the outset, if one pays attention. Intrigo - Death of an Author demonstrates that “Either you write your script, or you live according to someone else’s.” (Marinell Haegelin)