I finally had the opportunity to get acquainted with Jonas Jonasson’s Allan Karlsson . It’s the movie version of him, portrayed by Robert Gustafsson aand directed by Felix Hendgren. I must say, they did a great job. So much so, that I feel I must cram the novel into my busy schedule. The movie reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump and Little Big man. Just like these two, the 100 year old man owes a big debt to Voltaire’s Candide. I personally have always felt an affinity for Candide and these other two. Just like them, I too have lived through a magical, eventful and screwed up life without seemingly being too affected by it. I started drinking at the age of 8 days old and had a rich sex life that started at the age of 5. I had love affairs with exotic dancers and lesbians. As a gunner and tank commander, I took part in a couple of wars managing to shoot down a bunch of enemy tanks. I once gave flowers to Ho-Chi-Minh and I co-wrote a song with Israel’s President Shimon Peres. Obviously, I have a lot of material to draw from in my own writing. If you ask yourself what this has to do with the 100 Year Old Man, let’s just say that I am trying to pique your curiosity without giving away any parts of the plot.
Comparing it with my own life might not be such a great idea after all because there is no sex whatsoever in it. The reason for that is explained at some point, still, it being a Swedish movie, I expected at least some sexual scenes. Come to think of it, Forrest Gump and Little Big Man didn’t get into that area either. For a steamier Candide influenced story one needs to look up Christian Marquand’s Candy from 1968 and/or the novel by Terry Southern. It may seem that I am rambling but I cannot help that. This is movie that belongs in a certain class. Besides the movies already mentioned, there are others that create a similar atmosphere and I don’t necessarily refer to their plots. A few that come to mind include: Snatch, Schultze Zelig and actually, most Woody Allen movies. Guy Ritchie is of course also an obvious influence and the director gives his movies a nod when including Alan Foster in the role of a ruthless gangster.
Bottom line: highly watchable, hilarious at times and definitely has my recommendation.
P.S. My copy had a bad English translation that was hilarious all by itself once in a while.