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The New Land

Where to Watch The New Land


The New Land, a Swedish epic film from the year 1972, tells an inspiring and heart-wrenching story laced with elements of hope, struggle, perseverance, and the search for a better life. Directed by gifted filmmaker Jan Troell, the movie stars a remarkable cast, including Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, and Eddie Axberg. It is a sequel to Troell's The Emigrants from 1971, and both films collectively constitute a significant part of Swedish film history.

The New Land revolves around the lives of a Swedish family, consisting of a group of farmers led by the determined and resourceful Karl-Oskar (Max von Sydow) and his devoted wife Kristina (Liv Ullmann). The story starts off as they leave their famine-struck homeland in Sweden, in the mid-19th century, in search of a new life of promise and prosperity in America, a place, they believe, that holds opportunities beyond their wildest dreams. However, as the narrative unfurls, it soon becomes apparent that the New Land is not the idyllic paradise they had perceived it to be.

As with the previous installment, The New Land paints a realistic and sometimes brutal portrait of immigrant life. It delves deep into the hardships, trials, and tribulations that the Swedish emigrants face while trying to survive and establish themselves in the unfamiliar and sometimes hostile terrain of America. Meanwhile, one of their group, Robert (Eddie Axberg), dreams of striking it rich during the California Gold Rush, paving the way for subplots of ambition, risk, and adventure.

Max von Sydow delivers an exceptional and powerful performance as Karl-Oskar, a man faced with the monumental task of guiding his loved ones through the challenges of the New Land. Liv Ullmann's portrayal of Kristina is both poignant and compelling, producing an intense array of emotions that form a key part of the film's dramatic pull.

The New Land is rich in raw emotional depth but is also a visual masterpiece, thanks to Troell's enchanting cinematography. Vividly capturing the harsh, beautiful, and sometimes threatening landscapes of 19th century America, the film manages to tell a story as much through its imagery as through its dialogues and performances; thus, offering an immersive and tangible sense of time and place.

The movie also explores the inner struggles of its characters; their homesickness, the difficulty of maintaining faith amidst adversities, the clash of cultures, and the often painful process of assimilation into an alien society. This emotional introspection grants the narrative a depth and poignancy that resonate well beyond its historical setting and connect to universal human experiences and emotions.

Significantly intertwined with the Swedish cultural identity, The New Land also broaches thematic threads of family, community, perseverance and the quest for a better life. Furthermore, it doesn’t shy away from highlighting the Native American perspective and their encounters with European settlers, adding another layer to its overall narrative.

Through its story, The New Land prompts viewers to examine the very essence of the immigrant experience and the human condition—the desire for a better life, the sacrifice of comfort and familiarity, and the relentless battle for survival. It speaks of hope in the face of despair, strength in the midst of struggle, and the unquenchable spirit of humankind despite overwhelming odds.

Despite being produced in 1972, The New Land remains a timeless masterpiece that continues to hold relevance in today's world. Its profound storytelling techniques and the exploration of the universal theme of migration make it a significant cinematic achievement. It is a film that, despite its historical setting, reflects universal human conditions and emotions that every viewer can relate to and learn from. Therefore, The New Land remains an enduring piece of global cinema that continues to resonate with audiences around the world.

The New Land is a Drama, Western, History movie released in 1973. It has a runtime of 203. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly positive reviews, with an IMDb score of 8.0..

How to Watch The New Land

Where can I stream The New Land movie online? The New Land is available to watch and stream at Netflix, Kanopy.

Jan Troell
Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann
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