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HUGO AND JOSEPHINE

Sweden, 1967 (MIFF 1969, Programme 12)

Director: Kjell Grede

A lonely seven-year-old daughter of a clergyman runs away from home with her young fatherless friend, Hugo, and together they explore the dreams of childhood through the glorious Swedish summer in colours and romance redolent of a pre-pubescent Elvira Madigan.

Based on some charming Swedish children's books, this is the first feature of Kjell Grede, the 32-year-old husband of Bibi Andersson, and a former assistant of Ingmar Bergman. He took a summer holiday with two children and a camera — and produced a minor miracle, spiritually liberating, psychologically subtle, and completely irresistible. He was intending to pioneer in the realm of children's film; but, as with all the finest work for children, this one is either too good for kids or suitable for all the over-tens, depending on your viewpoint.

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