My Life as a Dog

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My Life as a Dog
Mylifeasadog.jpg
Film poster
Directed byLasse Hallström
Produced byWaldemar Bergendahl
Written byLasse Hallström
Reidar Jönsson (novel)
Brasse Brännström
Per Berglund
Based onMitt liv som hund 
by Reidar Jönsson
StarringAnton Glanzelius
Tomas von Brömssen
Music byBjörn Isfält
CinematographyJörgen Persson
Edited byChrister Furubrand
Susanne Linnman
Distributed byAB Svensk Filmindustri
Release dates
  • December 12, 1985 (1985-12-12) (Sweden)
  • March 24, 1987 (1987-03-24) (United States)
Running time101 minutes
CountrySweden
LanguageSwedish
Box office$8,345,266 (North America)[1]
 
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My Life as a Dog
Mylifeasadog.jpg
Film poster
Directed byLasse Hallström
Produced byWaldemar Bergendahl
Written byLasse Hallström
Reidar Jönsson (novel)
Brasse Brännström
Per Berglund
Based onMitt liv som hund 
by Reidar Jönsson
StarringAnton Glanzelius
Tomas von Brömssen
Music byBjörn Isfält
CinematographyJörgen Persson
Edited byChrister Furubrand
Susanne Linnman
Distributed byAB Svensk Filmindustri
Release dates
  • December 12, 1985 (1985-12-12) (Sweden)
  • March 24, 1987 (1987-03-24) (United States)
Running time101 minutes
CountrySweden
LanguageSwedish
Box office$8,345,266 (North America)[1]

My Life as a Dog (Swedish: Mitt liv som hund) is a 1985 Swedish drama film directed by Lasse Hallström. It is based on the second novel of a semi-autobiographical[2] trilogy by Reidar Jönsson. It tells the story of Ingemar, a young boy sent to live with relatives. The cast includes Anton Glanzelius, Melinda Kinnaman and Tomas von Brömssen.

Plot[edit]

The action takes place in the years 1958-1959 in Sweden.[3] Troubled 12-year-old Ingemar (Anton Glanzelius) gets into all sorts of trouble, which drives his mother (Anki Lidén) crazy; Ingemar does not know that his mother is in fact terminally ill. When he and his older brother become too much for her, they are split up and sent to live with relatives. Ingemar ends up with his maternal uncle Gunnar (von Brömssen) and his wife Ulla (Kicki Rundgren) in a small rural town in Småland. Gunnar and Ingemar bond over Povel Ramel's recording of "Far, jag kan inte få upp min kokosnöt".

In the town he encounters a variety of characters. Saga (Kinnaman), an assertive tomboy his own age, likes him, and shows it by beating him up in a boxing match. Among the more eccentric residents is Fransson (Magnus Rask), a man who continually fixes the roof of his house, and Mr. Arvidsson (Didrik Gustavsson), an old man living downstairs who gets Ingemar to read to him from a lingerie catalog.

Later, Ingemar is reunited with his family, but his mother soon takes a turn for the worse and is hospitalized. He and his brother go to stay with their uncle Sandberg (Leif Ericson) in the city, but his wife thinks the boy is mentally disturbed. After his mother passes away, he is sent back to Småland.

Mr. Arvidsson has died in the interim; Gunnar and Ulla now share the house with a large Greek family. Gunnar welcomes him and consoles him as best he can, but the house is so crowded, he has Ingemar live with Mrs. Arvidsson in another house. Meanwhile, Ingemar becomes the object of contention between Saga and another girl. When they start fighting over him, he grabs onto Saga's leg and starts barking like a dog. She becomes upset by his strange behavior and gets him into the boxing ring. During the bout, out of spite, she tells him that his beloved dog (which he had thought was in a kennel) was actually euthanized. This, along with his mother's death, is too much for him and he locks himself inside Gunnar's one-room "summer house" in the backyard. The time spent here forces Ingemar to reflect on the death of his mother, the loss of his dog and a changing world. Ingemar uses the experiences of others and of his own personal loss to reconcile a life which is sometimes tough.

Throughout the film, Ingemar tells himself over and over that it could have been worse, reciting several examples, such as a man who took a shortcut onto the field during a track meet and was killed by a javelin and the story of the dog Laika several times, the first creature sent into orbit by the Russians (without any way to get her back down).

The film ends with the radio broadcast of a famous heavyweight championship boxing match, between Swede Ingemar Johansson and American Floyd Patterson. When Johansson wins, the whole town erupts with joy, but the now-reconciled Ingemar and Saga are fast asleep together on a couch.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The movie received mostly positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it an average of 7.9/10. 100% of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes have given the film a positive review based on 28 reviews.

The author Kurt Vonnegut said the film to be one of his favourites, alongside Casablanca and All About Eve. [4]

Awards[edit]

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Director and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988.

AwardCategoryNameOutcome
60th Academy AwardsBest DirectorLasse HallströmNominated
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another MediumLasse Hallström, Reidar Jönsson, Brasse Brännström, Per BerglundNominated
BAFTA AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWaldemar Bergendahl, Lasse HallströmNominated
Bodil AwardsBest European FilmLasse HallströmWon
Boston Society of Film Critics AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWon
Directors Guild of AmericaOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesLasse HallströmNominated
45th Golden Globe AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWon
21st Guldbagge Awards[5]Best FilmWon
Best ActorAnton GlanzeliusWon
Independent Spirit AwardsBest Foreign FilmLasse HallströmWon
Lucas - International Festival of Films for Children and Young PeopleChildren's SectionLasse HallströmWon
New York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmWon
Robert AwardBest Foreign FilmLasse HallströmWon
Seattle International Film FestivalBest FilmWon
Young Artist AwardsSpecial Award - Best Family Foreign FilmWon
Special Award - Best Young Actor in a Foreign FilmAnton GlanzeliusWon
Special Award - Best Young Actress in a Foreign FilmMelinda KinnamanWon

References[edit]

External links[edit]