“My aim is to speak as much to the cineaste audience as to my friends from my little home town”
Returning to some of the themes present in his Oscar-shortlisted Simple Simon [+], Andreas Öhman’s new film One Day All This Will Be Yours [+] sits just right in this year’s Göteborg Film Festival Focus section, spotlighting the concept of homecoming. He shared a few thoughts on the mixture of light and dark tones, and also how a personal family loss became a movie.
Cineuropa: On the surface, One Day All This Will Be Yours comes across as a quirky, feel-good movie, but quite soon, we’re subjected to some complex and darker themes. Can you share some thoughts on mixing these tones?
Andreas Öhman: I’ve always liked smartly written stories, funny and sharp and with both light and dark elements. For example, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment gets these things just right. Lukas Moodysson also made a big impact on me when he showed up. I like to have one foot in the “popular” and one foot in the “arthouse” scene. My aim is to speak as much to the cineaste audience as to my friends from my little home town. Let’s see how it goes. Humorous fare sometimes gets given a lower priority at certain festivals.
Your first film, Simple Simon, certainly contains some of these elements. Judging by the reactions, you too seem to have got some things right. Were you surprised by the response?
Very much. Six days after it opened, it was picked as Sweden’s Oscar submission. It then made the shortlist as well, and travelled to Europe, America, Asia… It worked especially well in the USA and Japan. After that, I made a few films where I explored the youth and road-movie genres, and experimented with different themes. I’m glad I did them, but they kind of went under the radar for many viewers. I would say this new one, in some ways, returns to some themes found in Simple Simon.
Are you thinking of the offbeat personalities of Simon then and now Lisa?
That’s certainly part of it. I like them both, and I’ve felt quite offbeat myself at times. I’m interested in how people like this fit into our society. Lisa finds her way through her cartoons, even if she struggles a bit out in the real world.
As for the cartoons and also the animations in both of these films, what led you to such choices?
I like things that stick out, and I like to explore new and fresh means of expression. As for animation, I’m very at home with it and have been since many years back. I may well do a fully animated feature one day, not least to keep up the tradition here in Sweden, following the great Per Åhlin and the like. We’re a group who operate a small animation studio where one of my colleagues, Carl-Johan Listherby, also drew Lisa’s cartoons.
You succeed quite well in capturing the “female cartoonist” humour. In Lisa, you’ve also written a rich and complex female character, as Bergman and other males have done before you, but it can still have its challenges…
Lisa, as is implied in the film’s dedication credit, is partly based on me and partly on my sister, who perished in an accident when she was 12. I’ve taken her honesty and her humour, which was considerable, and then added my own experiences. Some of what we see has actually happened – a few years ago, my parents called us children up about the sawmill and the woodland, and wanted to discuss who would take over. It was tough to be reminded of their mortality, and even for us children to be together, as we had all moved away and rarely saw each other. I spent some time in LA afterwards and mentioned this event to an acquaintance at FOX, and she said it sounded like a universal story that should be a movie.
Read the full interview from Cineuropa here.