Young Thorbjorn lives with his family on a farm called Granliden. He is intrigued by the girl named Synnove Solbakken, whose home is across the valley from his own. They meet one day in church as children and become friends. As the years pass and the children grow up, Thorbjorn (Lars Hanson) and Synnove (Karin Molander) have spent much time together, both together and with Thorbjorn’s sister Ingrid (Ellen Dall). They are all in school together, and one afternoon, Thorbjorn gets in a fight with some of the other guys. Unfortunately, they tell a different version of the story to shift the blame entirely to Thorbjorn. Synnove’s parents (Hjalmar Peters, Ingrid Sandahl) hear the exaggerations about the argument and, concerned about Thorbjorn’s character, forbid Synnove to see him again. A few years pass before the two meet again during Midsummer and reaffirm their devotion to one another. However, a grave situation soon threatens their future happiness.
Synnove Solbakken is a compelling Scandinavian silent film with great acting performances, beautiful majestic scenery, and a gorgeous soundtrack. The storyline was based on the Norwegian novel by Bjornstjerne Bjornson, and is nicely divided into seven acts.
I like how the story was presented; so many events happened throughout, but it was all organized so well and flowed smoothly. The earlier acts focus primarily on the story development with the main characters as children before they are aged to adulthood later on, amidst a multitude of changing situations. I must say I was really very impressed with the younger actors and how very similar they were to their grown-up counterparts. And overall the whole cast was truly excellent, with all the performances so natural and top-notch. I especially enjoyed seeing Lars Hanson though; he’s one of my favorite actors and always brings such talent and depth to his roles.
There were so many scenes I really enjoyed -- just a few of them include the mirror scenes at the church with the characters as children and adults, when Thorbjorn plants the flowers at Synnove’s house, the sweet scene when Thorbjorn and Synnove reunite during Midsummer, and the very satisfying conclusion. Another great moment was when Synnove was turning down a suitor, and her parents ask her if she is promised to anyone else, and she thinks longingly of Thorbjorn. It’s very poignant.
One of the many things I love about Scandinavian silents are the beautiful outdoors shots -- such rustic grandeur that is absolutely thrilling to see. Another aspect of this film I really enjoyed was the score by Matti Bye; as always, the music is unlike anything I have ever heard, is so beautiful, and fits the story amazingly well.
Sweeping, sweet, and beautiful, with excitement, love, and wonderful old-fashioned elements, Synnove Solbakken has quickly become one of my many favorite films. I am sure I will enjoy re-visiting it many times in the future, and recommend it to all those interested in Scandinavian films and silent cinema.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥