The Emigrants — An Important Story

Immigration is in the headlines these days. Ingebretsen’s was founded by Charles Ingebretsen Sr. who emigrated from Norway in the early 1900’s, the only member of his family to leave the country. It is good to remember the courage of people who emigrated here in the past, and who are still coming to find a new life.

This weekend Ingebretsen’s is a promotional sponsor of the movie The Emigrants, being shown at The Trylon, a local independent theater located on the corner of 33rd Street and Minnehaha in the Longfellow neighborhood.

The Emigrants is a 1971 Swedish film directed by Jan Troell and starring Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Eddie Axberg and Allan Edwall. It is based on the first two novels of The Emigrants series by Vilhelm Moberg — The Emigrants (1949) and Unto a Good Land (1952).

The Emigrants won international acclaim, and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1972. The next year, after its release in the United States, it was nominated for four more Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Liv Ullmann), and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Roger Ebert’s review said:

“The Emigrants” is a special film in that it’s Swedish and yet somehow American – in the sense that it tells the story of what America meant for so many millions. When it was over the other evening, the audience applauded; that’s a rare thing for a Chicago audience to do, but then “The Emigrants” is a very rare film.

The Emigrants takes place in the middle of the 19th century. A young couple, Kristina and Karl-Oskar, live in Småland – a small rural community in southern Sweden. They survive on a small plot of infertile land. Times are difficult: there is bad weather, the harvests are poor and hunger prevails. Hunger forces the couple’s first-born child to secretly eat food that was not ready for eating. This leads to the child’s death and convinces the mother to accept the decision of the father to emigrate to the United States. They are joined by another family running away from religious persecution and a man running away from a troublesome wife. The remainder of the film traces their journey on a rickety ship that takes ten weeks to make it across the Atlantic and then the journey to what is now Minnesota (actually Stillwater and Chisago County) where the emigrants that survived the journey would start their new life in the New World.

Here is a trailer for the movie:

You can buy tickets in advance here.