Bildmakarna / The Image Makers (Play, 1998)
Bildmakarna describes an imaginary meeting between four great figures in Swedish cultural history: Selma Lagerlöf, world-famous story-teller and Nobel Prize laureate, Viktor Sjöström, one of Sweden’s greatest film directors and actors of all time, Julius Jaenzon, legendary and brilliant film photographer, and Tora Teje, one of the leading Swedish actresses of the 1890s. Tora Teje was to star in Julius Jaenzon’s film based on Lagerlöf’s book Körkarlen /The coachman but she lost her part when she lost her place as Julius’ mistress.
One autumn day in 1920, they gather to look at a provisional version of Sjöström’s silent film. What begins as a meeting between real life artists Enquist uses to explore aspects of the human condition as experienced by the characters mixing their documented life with his own interpretation. The result is a moving and articulate debate about the relationship between the artist and the audience.
With Bildmakarna, where Per Olov Enquist develops the thesis of hidden driving forces behind Selma Lagerlöf’s writing, such as her father’s alcoholism, Enquist continues the line from two of his earlier plays Tribadernas natt, a drama about Strindberg and his first wife, and Från regnormarnas liv about H C Andersen, and brings together these characters from the world of literature for a discussion about life and death, about art and ethics.
The play has been translated into English, German and French.
”Bildmakarna is a play about how humiliation, suffering and sorrow can be transformed into great art /…/ it follows a classical form, it describes women, it searches for secrets and reasons” Svenska Dagbladet
”at times magical /… /shows virtuosity and lightness of touch” Expressen
”As an artist, Per Olov Enquist has developed to the level of a constructor with the gift of God. As well as which, he has written his new play with a smile on his lips. But Ingmar Bergman, in his direction, underscores the seriousness …” Dagens Nyheter
”When monuments meet, the result is masterful …” Göteborgs Posten