”One of the last great samurai who unyieldingly fights for ideals
and convictions. In our ’heavy industry’ there aren’t many like him.”

Ingmar Bergman

Förvandla Sverige

Den här filmen började som ett försök att göra en långfilm om klassamhället Sverige. Vi filmade under 1968 tills pengarna tog slut. Vi sökte finansiering men fick nej med motiveringen att detta inte var en film för biograferna. Vi färdigställde en kortfilm av materialet långt senare. Filmen hade premiär på Folkets Bio 1974.

Transform Sweden

”There is something remarkable about this film. Superficially it is a feature film which was never completed and was then made into a half-hour long short film five years later. But in actual fact it is probably a work that lies at the very heart of Stefan Jarl’ s work as a film­maker.
He worked on Transform Sweden (Forvandla Sverige) with Jan Lindqvist (with whom he had previously collaborated on They Call Us Mis­fits) (Dom kallar oss mods) and it was to be their National Epic. The choice of words is their own. This was going to be The Great Film About Sweden. Spurred on by the success of They Call Us Misfits (Dom kallar oss mods) and tremendously inspired by Solana’s four­hour-long masterpiece The Hour of the Fur­naces, they were going to take the lid off the Swedish Welfare State and lay The Truth bare.
Today it is probably impossible to under­stand the mixture of powerful motivation combined with naivete which characterized both film-makers at that time. Their ambition was to spend two years filming a sociological investigation of Sweden with the intention of lancing the boils on Swedish society which nobody had ever even touched before. They wanted to do an exposure of Sweden from a left-wing point of view. And they seriously believed that somebody would be willing to give them money to do this. In reality it all came to a grinding halt. They used up the money they had made from They Call Us Misfits (Dom kallar oss mods) and were then left holding 10, 000 meters of film. That was in 1969.
Five years later, an abridged version of the projected national epic saw the light of day. Jarl and Lindqvist decided, in spite of every­thing, to make a short film of the material they already had. The title Transform Sweden (For­vandla Sverige) -was given the bitter subhead­ing Fragment of A Feature Film 1966-1974.
But the 28 minutes of film given that first screening at Folkets Bio (The People’s Cinema) in Stockholm on April 26, 1974 still shocks. Admittedly the film suffers from the rhapsodic incompleteness of a television documentary, but its soul is crystal clear. Here is the basis of something which could have been The Film About Sweden, 20 years before Jan Troell’s The Land of Dreams (Sagolandet), but with an aggressive political acuity to which Troell’s fairly critical magnum opus (it was three hours long) could hardly lay honest claim.
Transform Sweden (Forvandla Sverige) presents society as a prison and depicts Man’s exploitation of Man more powerfully and more uncompromisingly than, I would venture to say, any of Jarl’s other works. The poetry is strictly subordinate to the political impact.
In the opening sequence we follow the camera into an apartment which once belonged to a man named Harald Lapidus. He was a doctor at the Sater lunatic asylum, one of the most notorious institutions in Sweden. Lapidus had been off sick since some time in the
1940’s, but had returned to work one year previously. He was only there for half a year, however. A few month earlier the police had found him dead in his apartment. At the age of 67 he had hanged himself in his little toilet. Apart from a guitar and some pictures he had painted, he also left behind him an eight millimetre film projector. With its help we are able, in Transform Sweden (Forvandla Sve­rige), to see an utterly bizarre record, a film made at the Sater mental hospital on midsum­mer eve 1936.
People deformed by their inner demons dance past on the screen like marionettes, like grotesquely enlarged and cruelly caricatured mirror images of ourselves.
After a few other meetings with oppressors -at the Stock Exchange we see a school class being instructed in how to take over the ticker tape and the best way to cheat your neighbour, from which we cut to an immigrant family which is being forced to move because a fac­tory has been closed down despite the fact that it makes a profit-Transform Sweden (Forvand­la Sverige) summarizes its message: ”We are occupied by a foreign power”.
Jarl considers Transform Sweden (Forvandla Sverige) to be one of his most important films, perhaps for the very reason that it ended up being no more than a fragment and therefore remains as a memorial to how difficult, if not impossible, it was (and is) to make a film about Man’s exploitation of Man.
For Stefan Jarl himself, Transform Sweden (Forvandla Sverige) is the film which he has always ”tried to do again”. In that sense, I believe that he came very close to achieving this goal in Nature’s Revenge.”

/Mats Nilsson

Regi: Jan Lindqvist, Stefan Jarl
Titel: Förvandla Sverige
Längd: 25 min
Premiär: 1974