On Tuesday 10 February, Benny and Ludvig Andersson attended the world premiere of their RMV film adaptation of Mats Strandberg and Sara B Elfgren’s acclaimed teenage fantasy novel, Cirkeln (The Circle), at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.
The movie was screened at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of the festival’s ‘Generation 14+’ programme, a section of Berlinale devoted to children and young people. As they arrived at the cinema for the red carpet event, Benny, Ludvig, Mats, Sara and their young, previously unknown, cast of ‘witches’ were met by hundreds of excited fans.
Actress Hanna Asp, who plays the role of Ida Holmström, was surprised by the crowd’s reaction. “It is both absurd and wonderful to be at this kind of festival,” she said.
Director Levan Akin said he was pleased and relieved at the reception they had received. “Cirkeln is the first part of a trilogy, so if this film finds its audience, there will of course, be two more movies,” he promised.
Ludvig Andersson was delighted by the audience’s response too. “As a producer, my role largely came to an end more than a month ago, once the editing process was complete. Now it is mainly about ‘this’, the fun stuff,” he explained to icethesite at a reception following the screening.
“But the last two years have been such an incredible, all absorbing and intense experience, that now it is over, I feel slightly empty and lost. I can’t wait to get going again on the next film. But of course, this one must be a success first, so I am very happy that people liked it!”
Cirkeln’s co-author and scriptwriter, Sara Bergmark Elfgren said that bringing the novel to life on screen has been completely exhausting but at the same time tremendous fun.
“Making the necessary changes to the storyline without altering the essence of the book was the main challenge. But we also tried to inject a little humour here and there,” she explained. “It took many edits to get it right!”.
Benny has written the film’s significant musical score, which reflects the movie’s sweeps from tense thriller to teenage romance, seamlessly linking the different themes. While the soundtrack features an abundance of beautiful new music, along with several obvious nods to previous recordings (most notably Skallgång from the album November 1989 and Endgame from the musical CHESS), Benny has not incorporated any new, full-length, compositions. The film also features tracks by a mix of artists, including Ludvig’s band Atlas, The Hepstars, Kate Bush and Swedish rock band, The Hives.
Although some critics have commented that the film is a little long and uneven in tempo, Cirkeln has generally been well received in Berlin. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet awarded it a 4/5 star rating and SVT Kultur described the movie as “a resounding success”.
In Berlin, Benny recorded a short interview for Swedish television show Go’kväll (Benny appears at 5.15) and on Friday 13 February, Benny will be among the guests on SVT’s ‘Skavlan’.
Cirkeln opens in Stockholm on 18 February. No decision has yet been made regarding a wider European release.