Per Fly
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, /10

Per Fly

Arven/ Inheritance (2003) is the second chapter of a sociorealistic trilogy, after Baenken/ The Bench that focused on the poor classes. The film describes the cold and calculating attitude of the business people, focusing on a man who is slowly driven to give up what he likes and accept his business duties.

Christoffer is an entrepreneur who arrives at a luxury hotel in Stockholm. His meeting has been canceled, but he nonetheless decides to stay one night, and has his assistant call his wife that he won't be back until the following day.
Flashback to five years earlier. Christoffer watches a theatrical performance and, at the end, visits a young gorgeous actress, Maria, backstage. They are in love and he just proposed to her. They are surprised by a visit by Christoffer's father, who only wants to say hello and refuses to stay a little longer. Later, the phone rings and Christoffer learns that his father has committed suicide. At the funeral, he learns from his mother that the family's factory is deeply in debt. He meets his sister and her husband Ulrich, who has been working with his father at the factory for many years and is supposed to inherit the dead man's title. Someone has to tell the employees, and mother thinks that it should be Christoffer. Mother and father's right-hand man, Nils, want Christoffer to take over, not Ulrich. Maria doesn't want him to: Christoffer's heart is just not into business, and they now live in Stockholm. She has a career as an actress in front of her. But, when he sees hundreds of workers at the factory listening to him, Christoffer changes his mind and accepts. This offends both Maria, who was hoping to return to Stockholm right away, and Ulrich, who wanted the dead man's job. Christoffer promises Maria that he is going to work at the factory only for two years, enough time to save it from bankruptcy and work out a merger with a French company.
At a hunting party, Mother invites Annika, Christoffer's old girlfriend and a fresh divorcee. Ulrich starts rumours against Christoffer, hoping that the bank will ask Christoffer to step down and be replaced by Ulrich. Instead, Christoffer, advised by mother and Nils, fires Ulrich. Then the troika decides to lay off dozens of workers. By mistake, his father's most faithful worker is also included. Christoffer swears to him it was just a mistake and promises to fix it, but Nils tells him it is just not possible to fix the mistake: they can't admit mistakes. Christoffer's sister is furious at him for firing her husband and swears never to see him again. His wife Maria is disappointed that he forgot that she is leaving for four months. Mother is cold and strong, totally indifferent to all the family drama. She just wants the factory to survive, and she trusts that Christoffer has the talent to succeed, whereas Ulrich was incompetent and her dead husband was weak.
On a surprise visit to Stockholm, Christoffer sees Maria kiss another man. Confronted, she admits that she slept with the friend, but only once and it was a mistake. Christoffer is hurt, but forgives. Mother has other plans for Christoffer: she invites Annika to dinner, and the old flame tries to seduce Christoffer, but in vain. Maria has a child. The couple celebrates the birth. Christoffer's sister comes, but mainly to beg her brother to re-hire Ulrich, who is still unemployed. Christoffer just can't do that, and humiliates his sister one more time. His mother is on his side. Maria doesn't approve of their cruelty, but Christoffer refuses to discuss business with her. The merger is proceeding well. They are close to make an announcement. The faithful Nils, who is almost family, has worked hard for the merger, but it turns out that the French partners don't want him: Christoffer will have to lay him off the moment the merger is announced. Christoffer does not blink. To placate Maria, he decides to take two weeks of vacation in France after the merger is announced. At the formal dinner, Maria hears that Christoffer promises three more years of work. She gets up and leaves him. Christoffer, lonely and drunk, almost rapes the maid. Mother finds him drunk and bleeding. Christoffer re-hires Ulrich, thus healing the wound with his sister, but lays off Nils as planned (telling him coldly in his face that he doesn't need him anymore). His mother convinces him to let Annika take over his private life.
Two years later, in Stockholm, Christoffer is staring at a window. It's the apartment where Maria lives. (so she is not the wife who is waiting for him back home). He sees her walk out with the child. He follows her, talks to her, promises to watch her performance. Maria is happy. Instead, he doesn't show up. She is not part of his life anymore, and viceversa.
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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