Scen.: Eija-Elina Bergholm, Vivica Bandler. F.: Esa Vuorinen. M.: Dubravka Čebulc, Anna Szafran. Scgf.: Anna Asp. Mus.: Horacio Salinas. Int.: Pirkko Nurmi (Valerie da adulta), Sanna Hultman (Valerie da piccola), Carl-Axel Heiknert (Magnus von Freyer), Kerstin Tidelius (Maria von Freyer), Mimi Pollak (la nonna), Gunnar Björnstrand (il nonno), Stina Ekblad (Kerstin), Majlis Granlund (Elin), Bent Blomqvist (Gustaf ). Prod.: Cinematograph AB, Stiftelsen Svenska Filminstitutet, Sveriges Television AB TV2, Oy Mainos-TV Reklam Ab, AB Svensk Filmindustri. DCP. D.: 90’. Col.
Made by women (written by Eija-Elina Bergholm and Vivica Bandler and directed by Tuija-Maija Niskanen), this drama of female autonomy unfolds in the repressive home of an haute bourgeois Finnish-Swedish family in Helsinki on the eve of WWII. Faced with the cruel indifference of her father and the weakness of her mother, the child Valerie turns to her governess for affection. When she later recognises her love for women, she is denounced by her father but follows her heart which leads to a career in the theatre. Niskanen’s ability to observe and sense the unspoken gives the film a rare visual intensity. Produced by Ingmar Bergman’s company Cinematograph, the film’s cast and crew comprise some household Bergman names: actors Gunnar Björnstrand and Stina Ekblad, production manager Katinka Faragó, production designer Anna Asp and costume designer Mago. The prelude in Avskedet, with the young child wandering through the mansion, evokes the opening in Fanny and Alexander, but was indeed shot before the Bergman film. Stina Ekblad has in a recent interview even stated that she would not have been cast as the androgynous character Ismael in Fanny and Alexander if it had not been for Avskedet. Director Tuija-Maija Niskanen (1943-2019) began her career at YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, as a director of television plays in the late 1960s. After her remarkable feature-length debut Avskedet, Niskanen also made Grand Illusion (1985) for the big screen, after which she continued to work for television.