”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

Goda Människor

Goda människor

En dag hittar en pojke en skadad falk, han gömmer sig i skogen för att ta hand om den. Han mer eller mindre bosätter sig i skogen, undan vuxenvärld och civilisation. Det är då allting börjar … Han tvingas inse att friheten är en illusion.

”Mycket svensk, rörande vacker…
en film i den svenska traditionen från Selma Lagerlöv till Pippi Långstrump”
/N.P. Sundgren, Filmkrönikan

”Få aktuella svenska filmer har större bredd än den här …
en närhet till människor och natur som är nästan taktil. .. En makalös barnskildring … Lever i kraft av sina skådespelare och av den otroligt medvetna gestaltningen”
/Stig Björkman, Chaplin

Gripande, poetiskt sprakande … en stark film om drömmar och hopp, för 11-åringar i alla åldrar.”

/Jens Peterson, AB


Good People

A film about civilization and innocence. And a film about father and son. Son Viggo sees himself as a part of Nature and he doesn’t want to grow up. Be finds a falcon that becomes his closest friend. With the hawk as his ally, he fights against adult society’s stubborn will to in-doctrinate him with societal norms. Good People is Stefan Jarl’s first feature film, but it has distinct documentary characteristics, clearly in-spired by reality.

A tale of exceptional depth.”
/Los Angeles Weekly

One of the most acutely observed portraits of childhood ever filmed.”
/Los Angeles Times


Titel: Goda människor
(Good People)
Regi: Stefan Jarl
Foto: Per Källberg
Klipp: Anette Lykke Lundberg
Musik: Ulf Dageby
Medverkande: Viggo Lundberg, Ernst Günther, Karin Nordström mfl.
Längd: 105 min
Premiär: 1990
Format: 35 mm, 1:1,66

För fullständiga produktionsuppgifter se: Svensk Filmdatabas

Stanford University in Berlin /Article by Jamie S. Dycus

This film succeeds in locating the object of its Romantic bent where it belongs inside Its (white male) hero. Viggo, the film’s ten year old protagonist. ls prompted by his discovery of an injured falcon to take to the woods. He skips school. and gets in trouble with his father. He reacts against the controlling forces of civilization – especially his father, who, good­hearted, opposes Viggo’s longing for nature ( ”her ist keen Urwald,” he says) and ls undeniably surfing the wave of progress. with his brand-new gas station sign, his paving machines and his go-kart. Terrified of the society that killed Olaf Palme, and reluctant to join It. Viggo fights tooth and nail the forces that would make him grow up.

Jarl’s portrayal of civilization is not invariably favor­able. but neither is it polarized. Goda Människor means ’good people’ in Swedish, after all, and the film is full of them. Jarl employs his documentary experience to achieve this effect; he has filmed his own friends as they enjoy potlucks diners, laughing, dancing and telling dirty jokes and the result is a lively and endearing portrait of southern Swedish society. These are not crazed and starving Spaniards, clinging to a raft; these are not cosrse and violence-prone Indian-fighters – these are just folks.

Viggo’s society Is not unusually terrible. And by the same token, Viggo himself Is not unusually good. There’s no getting around the fact that he belongs to the society he Is fighting against. Unlike John Dunbar, he’s no diamond in the rough. But he doesn’t need to be one; the simple fact of his youth Is enough to grant him a brief glimpse of the ’far better place’. and to make him wish to remain there. Because he is still a boy, and not totally socialized, It is still possible for him to locate the lightness of nature Inside himself.

Viggo’s ordinariness is exactly what makes Goda Människor so out-of-the-ordinary. Because Viggo is just a normal boy, his film succeeds in doing two very Important things that the three White Hero films fail to do. First, it conveys Its message In total honesty. The White Hero films, on the other hand, trick me into Identifying with an Other culture in order to speak to my longing for a thing that

actually resides not In the Jungle, but within me. Second. Goda Männlskor speaks far more eloquently to this longing than the White Hero films. When I watch Dances with Wolves. I am swept up in the notion that I might be Kevin Costner -that I too, might live in harmony with nature. But when I watch Goda Männiakor, I dont need this kind of speculation; I know I was Viggo, once, and part of me believes I may be again.

Of course. our chances of a return to this kind of harmony are slim. Just as Viggo is finally forced to release his falcon, we are eventually forced out of childhood and into civilization. And the longer we retain in It. the dimmer our hopes, of escaping it for civilization works by making us need lt. in more ways than we can count. This effect is beautifully illustrated by the scene in Goda Männlskor in which Viggo, seated in his treehouse, tries to open a can of food with a rock. Removed from civilization, the can has become recalcitrant. It demands a can-opener. Like all technological advances, once invited in, the can invites its friends in too. The road to civilization is a one-way street: once we’re on it. we’ve little chance of turning back.

This, though, is precisely why we need movies like Goda Människor. Viggo is a fighter for childhood, for magic, and for the harmony of nature – all things we could use more of. With his description of this ordinary boy, and his desperate struggle against socialization – ”I dont’t want to grow up! I don’t want to grow up!” – Stefan Jarl has given us a real hero.

/Jamie S. Dycus

Stanford Univercity in Berlin /Article by John Abromeit

Stanford in Berlin

Goda Människor is a Swedish film that tells the story of a young boy who teams his first lessons about the grown up world and about grown up world such as individual society and death. One day while out playing little Viggo discovers a wounded falcon and decides to make it his personal project to nurse the bird back to health. This seemingly modest undertaking begins to consume more and more of his time as he has to search for food the the bird, exercise It, build a special cage for it etc. Finally it gets to the point where Viggo is devoting so much time to his new feathered friend that he begins to neglect his contacts to human society. His father complains that he never sees him, his teacher is frustrated by his consistent tardiness and inattention in class, and his playmates’ attempts to find him are fruitless. Viggo, however, is perfectly content being alone at this tree house in the woods with his falcon. As the movie progresses Viggo becomes increasingly distant from school and family and through various experiences his suspicions grow about the world of the grown ups. He asks his father why the well-loved Swedish Prime minister Palme was assassinated and is dissatisfied with the answers he gets. He is constantly pestered by a strange acquaintance of his father’s who finds his tree house and threatens to reveal his secret spot. His attempts to share his enthusiasm and knowledge of birds, which he has acquired through extensive Independent reading, are met with indifference by his classmates and teacher who are only concerned with finishing the next dry arithmetic lesson. Finality Viggo withdraws completely into himself and his bird, refusing to talk even with his own father. This rum takes a critical look at Swedish bourgeois society from several different angles. First of all the characters of the father and his strange acquaintance represent the two extreme possibilities of the relationship between Individual and society. The father is a hard working, fully integrated bourgeois whose life philosophy, ”the secret to success is never to slam any doors, reflects his self-abnegating, docile relationship to the societal norm. His unemployed, unsuccessful acquaintance, which he pities and sees patronizingly as having gone wrong somewhere along the line, is completely alienated and resentful. He slinks around during the entire film looking on longingly at the bourgeois community which refuses to acknowledge his existence. Viggo’s character develops in the foreground of these two polarized examples. The viewer sympathizes with him as he is forced to choose between these two deformed role models offered to him by his society. However, with his discovery of the falcon, Viggo finds a third option, namely. Individual development under the guidance of nature itself.

This Incorporation of nature and description of the conflicting influences in Viggo’s development is where the power of the film lies. It does not just present us with the problems of alienation and socialization from ’the viewpoint of an eccentric outcast or a rebell1ous school kid, but actually forces the society to stand trial against nature itself. From the clear unbiased perspective of Mother Nature, bourgeois society’s uncritical usurpation of –“normality”- appears much more questionable.

The basic contrast between nature and society is used brilliantly in both the content and the form of the film. In the development of the story, nowhere are the chains of society more evident then when Viggo is forced out of his state of nature, his natural individual development, to come to school to be indoctrinated by the teacher and ridiculed by his classmates. Also, the candid portrayal of the weekly social gatherings of the father, where rem1nlsclng about the military past and dirty jokes are the standard fare, showed the basic irrationally of the bourgeois herd mentality. With respect to the form of the movie, the sense of the restriction of bourgeois society is conveyed in the definitive contrast between the open naturally light shots taken outside and the closed, dark shots of the inside of the house or the dance hall. This effect is also increased by the editing of the film, which on several occasions suddenly cuts from the uninhibited movement of a child playing in the woods or a bird flying through the sky, to the forced and in comparison, ridiculous movements of the older citizens exercising or carrying on a superficial conversation.

Although the movie does a brilliant job of ironizing and questioning the authority of bourgeois society, I do not think the makers of the film have a superior societal model in mind. Instead, I think they are lamenting the loss of innocence that comes inevitably in any society with the process of becoming an adult. In the first scene of the movie, which is shot in black and white. Viggo holds a toy gun to his father’s head and pulls the trigger. At this point he is still completely naive and innocent. With the discovery of the falcon, however, his first conscious contact with the adult world begins. The movie switches from black and white to colour at this point. Viggo’s relationship with the falcon takes him through many new experiences. Including death. Loneliness. Responsibility, spirituality, and serious conflict. Near the end of the film, when the bird is healthy once again and Viggo realizes that he must let him go, he is no longer the naive little boy he was when he found him. However, he proves that he has not just lost his innocence, but also gained a little maturity, when he is faced with the decision of what to do with the falcon. He realizes that he can no longer control the bird, and briefly debates whether or not he should kill him rather then let him go back into the cruel world. But then he understands that nature is where the falcon belongs and human society is where he belongs. As the bird rues out of his hands the cycle is complete and the film reverts to black and white. In the closing scene at the latest town social gathering, everyone is dancing to a song with the words, you live as you learned it as a kid… – The point then is that little Viggo’s Instructor, his guide in his first step toward becoming a mature member of society is nature, the falcon, and not school or the father.
/John Abromeit

Article by Mats Nilsson

There is a bridge between Nature’s Revenge and Good People. Strictly speaking they are two very different films, but like several of Jarl’s other films, they have the common theme of Mankind-Nature. However, the bridge to , which I am referring is the one which stretches ”’ from the short black and white autobiographical a section in Nature’s Revenge, where the five-a year-old Jarl himself is glimpsed as a symbol of innocence, to the obviously autobiographical nature of Good People. The boy here is somewhat older than the one in Nature’s Revenge, but he is still a representative of Nature, who” is here confronted by Civilization/Society, primarily personified by his own father, played by Ernst Günther.

In Good People, Jarl has also come eloser to the major film experienee of his childhood, Arne Sucksdorff s The Great Adventure (Det stora äventyret, 1953) than at any time in the past. The story of the boy who finds an injured merlin and decides to look after it in secret, together with an older friend, is rather similar to the tale of the two boys and the otter in The Great Adventure.

Viggo, the boy in Good People, tus his back on society for as long as possible. His life a is in a hiding-place in the woods, where he looks after the merlin. But Civilization is more powerful than he is and liberty remains an illusion. Viggo is forced to capitulate and relinquishes his innocence, symbolized by the merlin. He gives up.

What Jarl wishes to capture in the film is the tragic irony that the process of civilization is unavoidable. What is decisive is the meeting with it. It is then that the kind of person we are to be is decided. It is the eternal drama.

Good People is considered to be Jarl’ s debut as a maker of feature films. That is true in the sense that it is a story with a dramatic structure. But the process of filnling was basically the same as in Jarl’s previous films. The relationship between those behind the camera and those in front of it was much the same as it was before, not least with respect to Jarl’s son Viggo, who plays the leading role, and the amateur members of the Backsippan dancing association.

The experiences from making documentary films are reflected in the script, which was only 60 pages long instead of the ”normal” 100. Jarl quite simply wanted to keep the ”missing” pages ”blank”. He wanted to be open to whatever might come his way once filming had started. He wanted to be open to Reality. The weightiest of the scenes in the school, the one where Viggo holds a lengthy monologue on birds of prey, was never in the original script, for example. It took shape as they were shooting, and came to playan extremely central role in the finished film!

Jarl has always paid tribute to authenticity.

If you have that attitude, he says, then there is no difference between a feature film and a documentary. When the professional actor Ernst Günther says a line during filming, it is authenticity which counts for Jarl. It is the only criterion he has, since, as he says, he has no idea what good acting is!

/Mats Nilsson