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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared ("Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann")

Canadian Premiere
  • Sweden
  • 2013
  • 112 mins
  • DCP
  • Swedish
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection, Valenciennes Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, Seattle International Film Festival 2014

“Delivered with such deadpan panache that it’s irresistible” - Demetrios Matheou, SCREEN DAILY

Allan Karlsson is 100 years old. He’s seen, heard and done — and blown up — many things in those hundred years. And now, as he sneaks out of the retirement home to which he’s recently been confined (after dynamiting a fox, which to be fair did kill his beloved kitty Molotov), Allan is about to see, hear and do so much more.

An amiable sociopath, uneducated (beyond his self-taught skills in his greatest passion, explosives), unmarried (having lost his family jewels to the surgical knife of a quack, proto-Nazi “racial biologist”) and unburdened by hopes or regrets (his late mother’s dying words having instilled in him an almost Buddhist sense of stoicism), Allan is a perfect naïf who has managed to stumble through an amazing century, rubbing shoulders with Stalin, Reagan and Albert Einstein’s idiot brother, aiding in the invention of atomic bomb, playing on both sides in both the Spanish Civil War and the Cold War — and blowing up lots of things, bridges mostly but sometimes people. Now he’s on the lam from the retirement home with a suitcase full of someone else’s cash, assorted cops and biker-gang thugs hot on his heels, and a trio of oddball new friends (plus an elephant!) along for the ride on his quest for — well, whatever comes next!

A pitch-perfect picaresque adventure laced with loads of decidedly Scandinavian black humour, Jonas Jonasson’s 2009 novel quickly became a Swedish bestseller, and has since sold over three million copies worldwide. The cinematic potential in its precision comedy, cleverly complicated plot and ZELIG-style historical revisionism no doubt struck director Felix Herngren as prime material for the big screen, and he has struck gold with his brisk, witty, wisely assembled adaptation. At the heart of the tale is comedian/actor Robert Gustafsson (“The funniest man in Sweden,” by many accounts) who captures Karlsson’s character through so many stages of his tumultuous existence. Climb out your own window and into your seat at Fantasia’s screening of this laugh-a-minute look at one man’s long and ludicrous life!

— Rupert Bottenberg