Rafael Edholm • Director
by Annika Pham
30/06/2006 - Baba’s Cars [trailer] is Swedish star actor Rafael Edholm’s second feature film as a director but his first big budget feature film produced by Nordisk Film Production. His talent as an original scriptwriter and up-and coming filmmaker had already been displayed in his first feature film Completely Mad, a very personal yet comical take on fame shot in 10 days. With Baba’s Cars, an action comedy with ordinary people set in absurd situations played by Andreas Wilson (Evil) and Sara Sommerfeld (Wings of Glass), Edholm lets go with his wild imagination and taste for black humor ‘à la Coen Brothers or Anders Thomas Jensen’. The film was released last March in Sweden and is being handled internationally by Nordisk Film International Sales.
Cineuropa: Why didn’t you give yourself the lead role in your film?
Rafael Edholm: At the beginning I wanted to act in the film and have another director shoot it. But I didn’t find any Swedish director daring enough to do it. Kim Magnusson -Head of Nordisk Film Production- said why don’t you direct it as well? So I was glad to give the lead to Andreas Wilson.
Baba’s Cars has car chases, villains, lots of weird characters and it is filmed much like a western but set in icy Norrland…a very original film for a Swedish production. What inspired you to write and direct such a story and how difficult was it to put it together?
I wanted to make something I had never seen before and have fun with the way films are done normally. So I used a classic setting: a western, but set in the far north of Sweden. I invented naïve characters with very common problems, and then turned the story into something completely absurd and comical. The people at Nordisk and Filmpool Nord really liked the script from the very start so it wasn’t difficult to finance it, and I was told it was the most Danish film ever made in Sweden!
Do you feel close to someone like Danish writer/director Anders Thomas Jensen?
Absolutely. He’s a friend and one of my favourite writer/directors. In fact, he held my hand a bit when I wrote the script: He helped me go through it and said: “don’t change the characters, whatever the producers say!” He liked the rawness, the funk in the film. So yes, I feel very close to the new Danish wave of filmmakers who have more guts than their Swedish counterparts. Plus as an actor I owe quite a lot for instance to Susanne Bier who gave me the leading part in her 1999 hit The One And Only. Norwegians as well have great up-and-coming filmmakers, and in fact, my next movie will be made in Norway. I hope Baba’s Cars will now give other Swedish directors the urge to make more original films.
Baba’s Cars was released in Sweden last March. How was it received b y the local press?
The press didn’t really know what to think about it and said ‘Hey, you can’t make a film with no moral at all!’ Plus a film with foreigners should be speaking about immigration problems and integration… They couldn’t understand the fact that I just wanted to make a spoof a quirky story set up in Norrland.
What’s your next project and how does it feel to have your film selected in Karlovy Vary’s sidebar ‘Variety’s Critics Choice: Europe Now’?
I have a lot of stories in mind but the next project will be the story of a man who moves in with a moose…! As for Karlovy Vary, I’m flattered and honored to be a selection like that. It’s actually my first festival that I will attend as a director who was rewarded or …something like that!