17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding piece of storytelling.,
This review is from: Sweet Land [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
'Sweet Land' revolves around two generations of the Torvik family, after Lars Torkiv's grandmother 'Inge' dies in 2004 he's faced with the difficult decision to either sell the family farm to a property developer or to hold onto a piece of land which means so much to his family history. He remembers back to the time when his grandfather 'Olaf' died and the story 'Inge' told of how she and 'Olaf' came to be married.
An orphan born to German parents who settled in Norway after fleeing world war one, Inge arrives America in 1920 as part of arranged marriage to meet 'Olaf', a Norwegian immigrant farmer who has settled in a small village in Minnesota. When she's met by her prospective husband he's shocked to learn the woman his Norwegian parents have sent to marry him is a German immigrant without any identity papers.
After the local minister refuses to marry them on the moral grounds that Inge is German and the local county clerk refuses to marry them due to her lack of papers, the couple are forced to live together on Olaf's farm and soon find themselves condemned by the local minister and ostracised by the entire town. Now as outcasts the pair are forced to face a harvest alone without any community help, but through the hardship the couple form a deep bond in which love develops.
Despite a horribly misleading DVD cover which makes the film seem like a cheesy made for TV romantic drama, I was really surprised as just how good a film 'Sweet Land' is. Produced on a budget of $1 million dollars this is a beautifully tender independent film, which is a very human tale chronicling the journey of two people who eventually fall in love.
The direction from `Ali Selim' is simply outstanding. Although the story is one that tells of how `Inge' and `Olaf' fell in love `Selim' cleverly tells it in such a gentle and quiet way avoiding any romance or schmaltzy moments, and at no point in the film do the couple ever come in physical contact with each other, and for a film with such a modest budget the cinematography was stunning, the colours bright and vibrant and the landscape of the Minnesota farmlands was a joy to view.
For me this was one of those rare films which I knew within five minutes of viewing that I was going to enjoy it, and not for one minute did it ever disappoint.