Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stuff)

Discuss Lukas Moodysson's first feature film Fucking Åmål (Show me Love).

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Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stuff)

Postby Eldsjäl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:46 pm

Now I'm going to try to cover everything of note that Ralph told us during that event here in this thread.

All in all there were very few people there at the salon on that day the 23rd, most of the audience consisted of a couple of former municipal representatives and their relatives. One municipal official named Gunnar Källström acted as the compère for the two panels that were held there; the first being the interview with Ralph and the second being those representatives talking about how they reacted to the film's title and the events that followed.

Ralph began telling us his story of how he one day received a phone call about doing an audition for a feature film that were to be shot in Trollhättan, reportedly he was told early on that “There were not a lot of money in this project”, i.e. that it was going to be a low budget film. Before actually meeting the film crew or anybody involved his thoughts on what to expect were very modest, pointing out that Film i Väst was not this big household name back then that it is today.

He reminisced about some early rehearsal sessions, sitting on chairs in a circle reading from the script, and tells us that he was very impressed with the dialogue and remarked on how well-written he thought it was. “Every ‘uhm’ you hear was written in the script, I have worked with Colin Nutley for example and there we would improvise quite a lot with the dialogue, but not here.”

[I should point out that obviously not all dialogue in the film actually went completely according to the script, especially the 9th edition which was the version used when shooting the film, with some stuff being improvised or edited together to appear in a different order at the post-production phase]

When being asked about what he thought was Lukas secret that allowed people to act so naturally during some of the more difficult scenes, Ralph answered that Lukas behaved in a very prestigeless manner and that he was able to communicate to people at their own level.

That scene was brought up where Olof tries to console Agnes by telling her that he also had it rough in school but that everything worked out for him over time. Ralph mentioned to us that it's pretty rare for him to have lines that are as long as that particular one and that he also expressed concern about if he'd be able to pull it off. He asked Lukas “I don't think this will turn out too great, perhaps we should rewrite this?” and was answered somewhat playfully “Go ahead and rewrite it, if you think that you can do it better yourself”. Ralph was thinking for a while about how he perhaps could change some parts of it but ultimately gave up and said “Well it's good as it is, I'll just have to learn it I guess”.

They started talking about what happened that night at Guldbaggegalan of '99 but nothing was really mentioned there that weren't already well know before.

When talking about the fact that there are no shots of Åmål in the actual film, he said that he personally think it's hilarious that a feature that's this highly regarded and well-known with the title ‘Fucking Åmål’ does not actually contain any footage of Åmål itself.

He begun talking about some amusing encounters he have had throughout the years with people who recognized him for being Olof in FÅ. The funniest story by far in my opinion was that he in the more recent years had been to the hospital Södersjukhuset/SÖS in Stockholm and the personnel there had jokingly remarked to him that “You've just missed your daughter!”, obviously referring to Rebecka Liljeberg.

He remarked on how mature Rebecka was behaving for her age and that it was mentally draining for him to do the scene where Agnes is crying for example, “You have to really prepare yourself to do scenes like that, and maybe try to find similar things that have happened in your own private life that reminds you of this in order to feel the right emotions”.

The compère began to wrap things up and asked the audience if anyone had any questions. I raised my hand and asked Ralph if he could talk some more about his different experiences working with Lukas Moodysson. He once again mentioned that Lukas acted in a very prestigeless manner, that he kept an open mind and never tried to stand above anyone even though he was the director and everything, also adding that he was pretty hands-on during times showing his presence when shooting the scenes. Ralph said that he suspected that Lukas always knew that the script was something extraordinary and that he knew he had something big going on with this film.

Unhindered, he carried on talking by bringing up a fun behind-the-scenes anecdote about how they in Agnes' room during one take had to interrupt everything because one of the audio engineers [Nils Nilsson?] noticed that he was picking up snoring sounds, which turned out to be the owner of the house who was sleeping at the nearby room. They had borrowed that house from none other than the municipality chairman of Trollhättan.

[He said that they were doing the scene where Agnes “wakes up” in the morning on her birthday, but I think he possibly could've mixed that up with another scene shot during the night. If you've read Anna Westerståhl Stenport's study (that one book) then you'll recognize this story as it's briefly mentioned there as well.]

Once again pointing out that the film had a low budget, he told us that one of the people responsible for costuming wanted to investigate the possibilities for Ralph to use his private clothes in the film. This person [Maria Swensson or perhaps Lise-Lotte Book?] visited Ralph's home to check out his clothes and concluded that they indeed should do that in order to save some production money. So we actually are seeing him wearing his own personal clothes during the entire film. [This does not per se mean that everyone is using nothing but their own clothes in the film. Alexandra for example expressed discontent with Elin's choice of clothes, indicating that those probably weren't her own clothes. But it's reasonable to think that this also could've been the case for many of the more minor roles.]
Last edited by Eldsjäl on Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Eldsjäl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:03 pm

Ravel and I were invited up on stage right afterwards by Gunnar whom we both had briefly talked to before the panels. He mostly thought it was fun to repeatedly point out that we had traveled far to get there, so it was not like we were asked on stage what we knew about the film or anything. Then our two minutes of fame were over as they moved on to the next panel.

What those municipal representatives told us can be pretty quickly summarized: they explained that they were not told by Memfis/Film i Väst what the film was about and were, judging by the title alone, concerned that it would paint a negative picture of Åmål. They looked for ways to have the film legally stopped from being called ‘Fucking Åmål’ but had no success in doing this, after that they instead sent a written request to Film i Väst (apparently) encouraging the crew to change the title. Bengt-Åke Karlsson (a local politician) received a phone call from Lukas some time later where he said “Don't be angry, this is a nice film”, Bengt-Åke then asked him why he had chosen Åmål of all places and was answered something like “I've always been fascinated by the fact that there exists a town with a four-letter name, with two of the letters consisting of the unusual ‘Å’”. Nowadays they are thankful for the fact that the film have put Åmål on the map.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Eldsjäl » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:25 pm

As mentioned in the other thread, I actually met with Ralph the following morning out of pure coincidence. I was heading to the hotel restaurant around 8 am to eat their breakfast buffet there and he was just standing there completely alone picking different foods on a platter. I said hi and he recognized me from the day before. It felt stupid to sit on like the other end of the room when no one else was there so I asked him if he'd mind that I joined him at his table, and there I was.

We were mostly talking about unrelated stuff but I tried (of course) to steer the topic towards ‘Fucking Åmål’ two times. He said to me that he was cast by Imor Hermann who in the film's credits is titled as “Casting Stockholm”, but Ralph lived in Gothenburg at the time. He had auditioned or at least been talking to some kind of casting director for Lukas new HBO Nordic series ‘Gösta’ but didn't actually get the role that was available, he had apparently been recommended by Lukas. Ralph then said that he himself had not met Lukas since the FÅ-days.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Santi » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:05 am

Very interesting to listen to Ralph and what he says about Lukas and Bex.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby fish » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:40 am

I certainly liked Ralph's character Olof.
He was a caring, loving father.
Does he seem like that in real life?

I take it the conversations were in Swedish, but I wondered if he spoke any other languages, English for example.

He seems like a very interesting man.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Ian » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:10 am

Great, interesting stuff. Thanks for that. :D
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Eldsjäl » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:23 pm

fish wrote:I certainly liked Ralph's character Olof.
He was a caring, loving father.
Does he seem like that in real life?

Not exactly I'd say, his character Olof is a lot more reserved and cautions in his approach to things whereas Ralph is pretty outgoing and expressive in his manners. He mentioned actually that some teens had approached him on the street back when the film was fairly new and they told him something like “We wish our father were more like Olof”, Ralph then comforted them saying “My kids also wish that”. :-)

fish wrote:I take it the conversations were in Swedish, but I wondered if he spoke any other languages, English for example.

I'd guess that he problably knows English too. Ravel could perhaps give an answer to that.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby fish » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:16 am

Eldsjäl wrote:...“We wish our father were more like Olof”, Ralph then comforted them saying “My kids also wish that”. :-)

Sounds like he has a good sense of humour at least. :lol:
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby ravel » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:31 am

Really good writeup. But I think Ralph also recounted his encounter with a girl with Down syndrome who asked about Agnes. I'm sure Eldsjäl understood it better because I couldn't always understand everything because it was in Swedish. :-)

I found it impressive that there was so little improvisation in the film, and that the script was so "complete" and natural. It's really interesting.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Eldsjäl » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:54 pm

Yeah, he told us about some interesting encounters. This story went that Ralph stumbled upon a guy on a bus once that he suspected had some mild Down syndrome or something, and he was asked “How's Agnes? Are you leaving her alone now that you're traveling?”, Ralph went on explaining to this person that it's only fiction. Eventually he managed to convince the guy and before he left he was told “When I get home I will tell everyone that I've met you here, but no one will believe me.”
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby fish » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Eldsjäl wrote:“How's Agnes?”

That's really nice.

My son has a genetic condition similar to Down Syndrome, meaning he will be forever an eight year old.
It would be wonderful if all people treated him with the warmth and generosity that Ralph did here.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby M83 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:20 am

It's great to see any cast member talk about the film. It shows what a fantastic director Lukas is, and how he instills confidence in his actors. That's why he get's so many great performances from kids and teenagers. Ralph should be proud of his work in Fucking Amal, it's not a big part but he leaves his mark on the film that's for sure. I think his scene with a weeping Agnes is probably in my top 3 favorite scenes in the whole film, such a wonderful heartbreaking scene. You can tell the film was made with a low budget but that's the film charm in a way isn't it, that Dogma 95 approach with it's camera work.

I'm not too shocked to hear him say that Rebecka was serious and grown up for her age, didn't she live by herself by the age of 16 and had her first child at a young age. You can see why some are shocked when Alexandra said her and Rebecka weren't close buddies on set, she always seem to be older then her years. It is funny a film named after Amal and set there and there isn't a scene in the film shot there. Interesting that Ralph went for a audition for Lukas's new HBO show and didn't get the role. That's the weird thing about Lukas in that, he's never used anyone again once you appear in one of his films. Nice to see some people still call him out for his role in the film.

Nice little discussions about the scenes he worked on, I can't imagine he was on set for too long considering it was a low budget film. I've worked on a few and they usual want to get all scenes done with smaller roles done and out of the way in a day or two. Fair play to Ralph for going to the event. Thank for do a write up for us to read Eldsjal.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby fish » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:29 am

M83 wrote:...he leaves his mark on the film that's for sure...

I think all of the actors, kids, adults, amateurs, professionals, did such a great job.
A tribute to Lukas and his entire crew that they were able to get such good performances from everyone.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby Santi » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:25 pm

I think many people would have liked to have Olof as their father and maybe they want to believe that he is the same.
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Re: Ralph Carlsson at the anniversary event (and related stu

Postby fish » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:32 am

Santi wrote:I think many people would have liked to have Olof as their father and maybe they want to believe that he is the same.

Good point. :Y
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