In a 50's Sweden, Bertil and Rudolf are struggling with alcoholism. Bertil just came home from rehab and is trying to win over his wife's trust and manage the rough days at work. Rudolf is Bertil's boss and is living a high class life, and is on the verge of promotion, but people around him start noticing that he's a heavy drinker.
This remake of the Danish "Café Paradis" is an anti-alcoholism propaganda drama from a country that has seen its fair share of propaganda films. Sure, maybe they were never used as such, but made with the obvious intentions to be just that. Klubb Super 8 have done it again, they've managed to dug out a very obscure Swedish movie and brought it out on DVD, in sparkling quality! At least if you consider what it is - a long lost Swedish drama from the 50's, where all they could find was a 16mm print! Klubb Super 8 are indeed doing the country a favor. No matter what you think of the films they help them survive through another format.
To call "Paradiset" a wild ride would be to exaggerate, but it is actually quite an interesting story surrounding two complete opposite characters - one is a working class man, the other a higher class boss. Let me introduce Bertil and Rudolf. The one thing they share is their alcoholism. Bertil is back home from rehab and managed to get his job back. But his wife doesn't trust him and things go wrong for the poor man. Rudolf is about to get a promotion and can finally get his wife the car she always wanted. But it becomes more and more apparent to people around him that he suffers from alcoholism.
Very, very obvious propaganda here, but to my surprise there are moments where the alcohol can be seen in a good light. To those who have lost it all, there's still alcohol (I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but I am proud that it did!). Other than that it's clear from the start that this movie wanted to tell people what to do back in the 50's. But hey, and alright drama movie came out of it so it's not all bad, right? I certainly thought it was a pleasant viewing - not too depressing but still powerful enough for us to care about the characters.
The actors are all excellent, I especially liked Åke Grönberg as Bertil. His character was sympathetic and fun, but maybe more importantly realistic. What made the characters work was that it was able to relate to them and recognize the behavior in people today. It's interesting to think that with alcohol being as powerful as it is, not much has changed with how we use it, and how much we use it, in over 60 years. When will we learn!
I can't say that it's a very good movie to keep people away from alcohol, at least not now in 2012. But it is a decent timeless drama movie that I think is well worth checking out if you are a fan of Swedish films. Klubb Super 8 has managed to find this lost movie and brought it out to DVD, and I definitely think it's a film worth keeping alive. But of course, the story doesn't really stay fresh and captivating after 90 minutes, and that's probably the biggest problem I have with the film.