I wrote on Criterion’s release (on both DVD and Blu-ray) of Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments for the Turner Classic Movies website.
Everlasting Moments is based on the memoir by Maria’s daughter, Maja, and it plays like a memoir. Her story is as much about the detail of her daily life and the culture of her world as it is about her marriage, her hardships raising children with an unreliable and often absent husband (between a stint in the war, a term in jail and an affair with a barmaid, she’s left to support the family alone) and her work as a photographer, which in hard times she turns into a small business run out of the home. The portrait of Sigfrid is hardly favorable but Troell doesn’t demonize him, even in his worst moments (and there are many). “Why mother stayed with father, I’ve always found a mystery,” Maja contemplates in her narration, which frames the film. “Perhaps it was love.” Troell’s portrait suggests it’s more than that, a combination of duty, social expectations, concern for the children, and maybe even a little guilt. But perhaps love was a part of the equation too, for Sigfrid does love his wife and children and brief moments of intimacy remind us of that. There is even room for his redemption.
But Everlasting Moments is also about photography (as both art and documentary record) and “the gift of seeing” that Maria brings to it. There is a sense of magic to photography as presented in the film, from the ethereal image of a moth refracted through a lens by Pederson onto Maria’s hand (as beautiful and delicate an image you’ve ever seen in a feature film) to the unexpected emotional power of a heartbreaking portrait of a dead child in repose before the funeral.
Read the complete feature here. Also available on DVD and Blu-ray.