Biography Lars Gustaf Andersson The arts

Arne Sucksdorff 1917- 2001

The Swedish documentary filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff was born in Stockholm in 1917. Sucksdorff is the most important documentarist in Swedish film, and has been a source of inspiration for younger filmmakers such as Stefan Jarl.

Black and white photo of Arne Sucksdorff.
Arne Sucksdorff in 1965. Photo: Svenska Dagbladet. Public Domain.

With short films such as Människor i stad (1948) (Symphony of a City), which gained an Academy Award, and Skuggor över snön (1945) (Shadows on the Snow), Sucksdorff developed a personal vision of the documentary as an impressionist genre. He also demonstrated an exceptional ability to pose questions concerning the human condition and humankind’s relationship with the environment.

In the feature film Det stora äventyret (1953) (The Great Adventure) he examined the mysteries of childhood, blending reality and fiction. Pojken i trädet (1961) (The Boy in the Tree) was his most ambitious film but a financial and critical failure, and led to Sucksdorff’s temporary exile in Brazil, where he directed Mitt hem är Copacabana (1965) (My Home is Copacabana). Sucksdorff won numerous awards for his work. He died in Stockholm in 2001.

Further Reading:

  • L. G. Andersson, J. Sundholm,and A. Söderbergh Widding, A History of Swedish Experimental Film Culture (Stockholm: National Library, 2010).