It is well known that Swedish film director and two-time Palme d’Or winner Ruben Östlund’s career so far has been a globally praised success story. However, it might come as a surprise that his career path and successes are deeply rooted in a 25-year-old Swedish ski film.
Ruben Östlund grew up in Gothenburg’s southern archipelago together with his mother who originally descended from Haparanda. As a child Östlund frequently used to travel to Swedish Lapland to visit relatives and it was here that skiing became a major part of his identity.
In 1997 Östlund filmed and directed “Free Radicals”, arguably the most celebrated Swedish ski film ever. There are several reasons why the film quickly became a success, not only in Sweden but also globally, and today is considered a classic within the genre. The main reason is the, at the time, progressive skiing and Östlund’s work behind the camera and in the editing room.
In the latest issue of Swedish Lapland based mountain culture magazine, Fjälljournal, Östlund tells the story of how the film came to be and how it in many ways laid the foundation for his future filmmaking:
“In ski films you constantly want to push the limits. When I write and film a scene today, all that is ingrained in my DNA — how can I describe this situation in a way that hasn’t been done before? For me there is no point in repeating things that someone has already done. I always want to add something to my filmmaking and that is something that I have learned from ski films.”
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Read the latest issue of Fjälljournal online here (in Swedish)
Watch “Free Radicals” online here
Fjälljournal is a Swedish Lapland based mountain culture magazine focused on Sweden’s highest situated mountain range and some of the countries most renowned ski areas. Fjälljournal is published two times a year with one winter issue and one summer issue.