Stockholm My Love
Director: Mark Cousins
Cast: Nineh Cherry
Genre: Drama, Musical
Country of Origin: Sweden-UK 2016 88 mins. (PG)
Released by BFI
Stockholm My Love is the first dramatic feature by acclaimed documentarian Mark Cousins (I am Belfast, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, A Story of Children and Film) and stars the Swedish-born singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry in her film debut. Neneh also performs five new songs on the soundtrack. After its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October, the film will be released by the BFI in selected cinemas UK-wide and on BFI Player on 16 June 2017, followed by a BFI DVD/Blu-ray release on 26 June. Mark Cousins and Neneh Cherry will take part in post-screening Q&As at some venues (details below).
Written by Mark Cousins and Swedish writer-producer Anita Oxburgh, Stockholm My Love is a contemporary city symphony – a poetic and music-infused love letter to Sweden’s capital and the story of a woman’s journey through grief to recovery.
Neneh Cherry is Alva, an architect. When she reaches the first anniversary of a traumatic event that she is struggling to recover from, she spontaneously bunks off work and wanders alone around the streets, buildings and bridges of Stockholm. Alva has an African father and Swedish mother (just like Neneh herself); as she thinks about her father and how he made a life in Stockholm, she tries to make sense of herself, her misery and her own relationship and feelings about the city in which she was born. She questions whether she really belongs in this place, where the urban design and architecture seems intended to contain and balance emotional extremes.
Stockholm My Love is an extraordinary and beautiful vision of Stockholm; some of the places seen are well-known and some are undiscovered places in the city – even to those that live there. As well as the stunning lakes and canals, there are the famous landmarks of Gamla Stan (the old town), the iconic Gröna Lund amusement park and the Katarina Elevator. Then there’s the more hidden side of the city – St Mark’s Church in Bjorkhagen (designed by Sigurd Lewerentz), the skate park under the impressive Västerbron bridge, the Resurrection Chapel at the Woodland Cemetery (a UNESCO world heritage site, designed by Gunnar Asplund and Lewerentz), the pioneering post-war suburb of Vallingby – and the newly notorious Rinkeby ghetto.
Director Mark Cousins says:
“Stockholm is one of the world’s great cities, yet there are surprisingly few films in which it has played a central role. Even Ingmar Bergman preferred the archipelago. I wanted to try to make such a film; to capture the city’s urbanism, cinematic vistas, changing weather and luminosity, the poetics of the place, its social history, complexity and dreamscape.”
The film’s images have been photographed exquisitely by the legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Hero) with Mark; they also worked together on the photography for I Am Belfast.
The atmospheric soundtrack which follows Alva’s path from grief to recovery, features five pieces of original music written specially for the film by Neneh Cherry with her husband, singer-songwriter-producer Cameron McVey (Massive Attack, Portishead), RocketNumberNine’s Benjamin Page and Mark Cousins. There are also two Swedish folk tunes from ABBA’s Benny Andersson and classical music by the 19th century Swedish composer Franz Berwald.