Swedish Biopic highlights journalist’s battle against Nazism
“The Last Sentence” provides audiences with a valuable history lesson regarding crusading journalist Torgny Segerstedt’s one-man battle against Hitler and the Nazis.
The film, released in the United States through Music Box Films and directed by Oscar-nominated Swedish director Jan Troell, is based on the life of Segerstedt, editor-in-chief of one of Sweden’s leading newspapers played brilliantly by Danish actor Jesper Christensen. It highlights his battle against Nazism and his country’s policy of appeasement to Adolf Hitler. Locally, the film opens on Aug. 8 at The Tower Theater in Miami, Bill Cosford Cinema in Coral Gables, O Cinema Miami Shores and on Aug. 15 at Living Room Theaters in Boca Raton.
The film is set against the backdrop of World War II. As Sweden is caught between Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia, the country’s elites chose a policy of neutrality and compliance, with few daring to speak up against the evil around them, except Segerstedt. Amidst the political turmoil of the era, his own personal life took a scandalous turn as he entered into a very public affair with Maja Forssman, played by Pernilla August, the Jewish wife of the newspaper’s publisher.
In an email, Troell discussed the lessons that he thinks future generations can learn from the film.
“I am afraid that history has shown us that we don’t learn from history, but hopefully each generation is becoming a little more aware of its own power and take a greater responsibility for it,” he said. “And perhaps, in this case, we can at least learn that in both Hitler’s and Segerstedt’s case “just one voice” is a very powerful thing that should be handled with care.”
Troell was asked by the author of a biography on Segerstedt, Kenne Fant, who is also an old friend of his, if he would like to direct a film based on his book.
“I was immediately interested since I knew the importance of Segerstedt’s fight against Nazism before and during the second World War,” he said. “But beyond that heroic story, I found the contrast of his private life and moral struggles to be a compelling counterpart to the official and somewhat glorified view on him. This tipped the scale and made me want to do the film.”
The film screened during the Miami Jewish Film Festival earlier this year. Before the film begins its run in local theaters, MJFF will co-present a “Best of MJFF” screening of the film with O Cinema Miami Shores on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. More information on the screening can be found at http://bit.ly/1lskYQq.
“We hope everyone who missed our sold out screening during the Festival will take advantage of the opportunity of seeing this epic masterpiece on the big screen,” said Igor Shteyrenberg, MJFF’s director. “This film is as historically important as it is devastatingly beautiful, and it will stay with you long after the closing credits conclude.”
More information on the local screenings can be found at o-cinema.org/venue/o-cinema-miami-shores/, cosfordcinema.com, towertheatermiami.com, and fau.livingroomtheaters.com/. More information on the film can be found at musicboxfilms.com/thelastsentence. The film is in Swedish with English subtitles.