Writings, 1960

A Page from My Diary

Programme issued by SF at première of The Virgin Spring.

About the text

Also translated and published in the French programme notes. The text was never published in Swedish.

Text in full: 

Maytime in Dalarna: Shooting the Exterior Scenes of The Virgin Spring.

ONE rainy morning in the early summer of 1959 we assembled at about half past seven by a stream near a lake in the forest. The shooting schedule for the day called for a number of close-ups of the people from the farm going to the spot where the daughter of Töre had been raped and killed.

Thirty metres of camera track had been put down across the uneven and difficult terrain. The electricians were setting up their lights by the camera track. Actors, actresses, make-up men, and even the dictor, all helped to get things going. All were active in order to keep warm. The temperature was about the freezing point, and now and then snowflakes appeared from the ice-grey mist.

That day our location unit consisted of twenty-two persons, attired in an amazing variety of costumes: raincoats, oilskins, Icelandic sweaters, leather jackets, old blankets, coaching caps, medieval cloaks and other items obtained from the wardrobe mistress. The Sweidhs summer is at times a trifle chilly.

It would have been an exaggeration to have called the atmosphere cheerful, but on the other hand we were not downhearted. All were caught up with that unique family feeling which is typical of filmmaking in Sweden.

We rehearsed the first scene; the track was old, and uneven. As our tracking devices were a little primitive, everyone, with the exception of those in front of the camera, had to help with the ropes, the cables and the lamps. We tried time after time; things got better as time went on. Then the rain changed to snow. We continued to be active and managed to raise our humour by several degrees.

Suddenly a break appeared in the clouds, the wind dropped and the sun brust through.

We decided to shoot.

However, as the rays of the sun penetrated and sparkled across the mysterious darkness of this water in the forest and through the transparent spring green of the Swedish brich trees, someone called out loudly and pointed to the sky.

Everyone looked up.

There above the tops of the pine trees soared two cranes in their majestic flight. Slowly and almost without movement they circled around over our heads.

We dropped what we were doing and raced up to the crest of a small hill above the stream in order to get a better view of the birds in the flight.

We stood there quite a long time, looking and pointing. Finally the cranes flew off to the west and disappeared over the extensive forest in the distance.

We returned to work in a happy mood, enchanted by this experience.

Then this thought started playing on my mind: "It would be a fine thing to have one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and it would be very pleasant to have a camera track that was not buckled, a camera truck that does not creak, and it would be quite an event just for once to make a motion picture with a budget of over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, just for the experience. However, despite all that I am turning the American offer down flat".

I felt a sudden happiness and relief.

I felt secure and at home.