Based on a Finnish novel, this pastoral romance is a tale of unrequited love. What drives the film are its scenes of family strife and acrimonious confrontation. The hero is banished from his father’s home when he refuses to abandon his affair with a servant girl, becoming a wanderer and freelance logging man, and is eventually scorned in his turn as a ‘vagabond’ by a wealthy patriarch whose daughter he shyly begins to court. Eventually the two lovers confront the old man, and when he insists that if his daughter leaves against his will she must go with no more than she had when she arrived, the girl calls his bluff by promptly beginning to strip. The wilfulness of such scenes startles into life these stolid figures in a country landscape, and hints at the perversity and tortured sensitivity that wreak havoc in Stiller’s later dramas.
Black and white.