Directors’ Showcase / UK premiere

Let the Right One In

  • Tomas Alfredsson /
  • Sweden /
  • 2008 /
  • 114 mins

Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm / Fiction / Swedish

Teen angst with a mysterious twist…

?Winner of the Nordic Film Award and the Nordic Vision Award for Best Cinematography at this year’s Gothenburg Film Festival, and more recently, The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, this beautiful, dark and thoughtful coming-of-age drama blends childhood innocence with stark, foreboding themes of self-preservation and unconditional love. Set in the snow-bound Stockholm suburb of Blackerberg in 1982, Let the Right One In – adapted by John Ajvide Lindqvist from his own best-selling novel – has become a memorably original feature in the hands of director Tomas Alfredsson. With its carefully conceived mix of macabre horror, dark humour, teenage angst and mid-life crises, this powerful, beautifully-handled film immediately marks Alfredsson out as a talent unafraid of taking risks in the pursuit of great cinema. On one level, this plays as a straightforward family drama, centring on a solemn young schoolboy named Oskar. Ostracised at school by the local bullies, Oskar begins to develop a friendship with Eli, an enigmatic girl who proves to be a kindred isolated soul. However, as events unfold, a supernatural element reveals itself and opens the door to the horror genre, Alfredsson sublimely blending the themes. The performances are excellent, with the two young leads displaying an intense focus, understanding, and very human mix of vulnerability and stoicism. Surrounding them, a disparate group of adult characters, including Oskar’s mother and various acquaintances, serve to round out the narrative. Their interaction allows proceedings access to more adult territory, exploring areas such as unrequited love and long-term loneliness. The exquisite production design by Eva Norén and outstanding cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema enhance this already captivating film, in which Alfredsson demonstrates that it is possible to fuse known genres successfully and in the process create something valuable, beautiful and startlingly new.

2008 Archive

Image from Let the Right One In

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