Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

I AM MARIA
(Jag ar Maria)

Year: 1979
Country: Sweden
Run Time: 100 minutes

Filmed in and around Stockholm, I AM MARIA is another successful adult film with an 11-year-old child as its central character. Like its predecessor "Children's Island," a festival favorite last year, a Swedish director has shown a special gift for creating a screen adaptation of a children's book with a strong appeal to all ages. Director Karsten Wedel gives children credit for understanding subtleties of language and feels they share an equal capacity with adults to appreciate complex ideas. Lise-Lotte Hjelm gives a performance beyond her years as Maria, whose adventure away from home proves to be a maturing experience. Visiting her mother's cousin in a small town, she meets Jon (Peter Lindgren). He is somewhat of an old pariah in the eyes of the townspeople, who reject him due to his slovenly appearance and drinking habits. Jon is considered dangerously abnormal and Maria is not permitted to go near him. But one day he is struck by a car and Maria, independent and unafraid, helps him home. There she makes a wonderful discovery: Jon is a painter of marvelous and unusual pictures. He makes her a gift of one and all too quickly becomes an unwilling celebrity, unable to handle the reaction of the townspeople and, especially, the media. Maria is the only one he trusts. Through her caring, the old man allows his life to take a different direction.

Screenplay
Karsten Wedel and Goran Setterberg (from a novel by Hans-Eric Hellberg)

Producer
Hans Iveberg

Cinematography
Rune Ericson and Mischa Gavrjusjov

Editing
Karsten Wedel

Principal Cast
Lise-Lotte Hjelm, Peter Lindgren, Helena Brodin, Claire Wikholm, Fred Lindqvist, Mia Lindqvist

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