For the first time, the murder of Anna Lindh is dramatized. Helena Bergström, who knew her privately, threw herself into the project, which is an audio drama for Sveriges Radio. She is doubly relevant with the new premiere of the 30th-anniversary “Änglagård”.
Several films have been made and TV series about the murder of Olof Palme. But the story of the murder of Anna Lindh on 10 September 2003 has never been dramatized. Until now, when Sveriges Radio presents “Anna Lindh 2003” in its series of audio dramas based on contemporary historical turning points. Director Helena Bergström herself has thought a lot about why it has taken so long.
“When Olof Palme was murdered, it was a history that disappeared, but with Anna Lindh it was a future that disappeared for many. She had small children and it would be too messy to make a thriller about the murder.”
When Helena Bergström was asked to direct the series, she accepted partly because she did not want anyone else to do it. She got to know Anna Lindh when the S-politician was a cultural citizen councilor in Stockholm and much later they started hanging out in private. Helena Bergström sat on the board of Anna Lindh’s memorial fund for the first ten years.
She describes the fact that the story has been dramatized in audio format, not pictures, as a relief.
“An audio drama feels like a worthy way to tell her story. Just like when you read a book, you as a listener get to create your own images,” says Helena Bergström.
The series, which is six half-hours long episode, follows several parallel stories. The act itself is depicted only through a few witnesses and loudspeaker exclamations, instead it is the police who hunt the murderer, the perpetrator and his closest friend, a radio journalist and a nurse at a psychiatric clinic who move the story forward.
“It was extremely important to me that this would not only be a murder drama, but also give a picture of who Anna was and take her case forward. But also show what society looked like back then and that it was such a failure on so many levels that the murder could happen,” says Helena Bergström.
Which of the parallel stories do you feel the most?
“I am very fond of Moa, who works in mental health care. I think Anna would have appreciated us telling her that a person is not evil from the start. It was a difficult balancing act that it would not tip over into feeling sorry for the perpetrator, but still tell in plain language that he sought help several times before this happened. And it is portrayed through Moa, who says precisely that it is not a person’s fault, but the system’s.”
I think radio theater can be quite painful to listen to, but this was something completely different, maybe because it’s partly documentary?
“I understand what you mean. It’s the same problem that can exist with theatre, that some people don’t think it’s for them. That it is too ambitious. But this drama is really not that and I really wish we could reach many, not least for the sake of the message.”
A month ago, there was also a new premiere for the film “Änglagård”, the film that became both Helena Bergström and her husband Colin Nutley’s big breakthrough exactly 30 years ago. The film about the outsider Fanny Zander, who turns a rural idyll upside down, has been restored for the anniversary.
“I hadn’t seen it in its entirety since it came out, but the scary thing is that it is still so relevant with its theme of xenophobia and fear of the new,” says Helena Bergström.
”Then it got interesting to see how long Colin dared to stay with the camera on different things, like faces or a meadow or someone riding a bike. We live in a time where everything is so hectic and fast-paced, but it’s storytelling that’s actually quite useful to watch.”
“Black Jack”, which was the first film she made together with Colin Nutley, will now get a sequel after 32 years, and today they are writing the script together. In addition to filming two different roles in Finland and Greece, she will also direct a play in the future. Nowadays, she is primarily a director, and acts herself between those projects.
“I don’t stress about that. It feels like a very exciting period in my life where I see more of what comes my way and now I think I have found my next film project.”