Monday, December 3, 2007

Pelle the Conqueror : Pelle erobreren

Saturday afternoon I saw Pelle the Conqueror at Scandinavia House in midtown Manhattan.

They have an ongoing film series highlighting significant Nordic theater.

Pelle follows the life of two Swedes as they immigrate to Denmark in search of a better life. It won an Oscar in 1987 for best Foreign Film.

Expecting a feel-good film, I was instead startled by the horrible reality facing the central characters. Their trials and tribulations during the beginning of the 1900's helped lead to the creation of the modern socialist state.

Moving abroad they are forced into servitude by the Danish Authorities and made to work their way through yearly contracts that offer very little hope of a better future.

The ending sees a young Pelle leaving farm life and his father to conqueror the world.

Considering the current social and political situation in Denmark and the United States its perhaps all too propitious for the topic of immigration and human rights to be revisited.

We are a nation of immigrants, let us not forget this.