Straydogs marked a new step in Swedish film. It was wholly recorded on video during only twelve days with an anorexic budget of 3 million Swedish kronor. On top of that the language and actors were English. Just like in Alfredson's last film, the Guldbagge-awarded Tic Tac, Hans Renhall is behind the script. This time the text is based on Renhall's own play Vildhundarna, which right now can be seen at Dramaten. Somewhere in a time not too distant from our own, a brutal war is being fought. The young Niko is on the run through the remains of a town towards the sea and freedom. On the way he meets Leo, Anna and Thomas, and takes refuge in their underground bunker. Soon he becomes part of their looting tours, in the quest to survive, but at the same time realises that he has turned into a hostage subordinated to the Law with which Leo rules his subjects. With grainy close-ups, grabbing camera movements and bewildering sound effects an almost physical feeling is created from the chaos of war. ''The effect Daniel Alfredson is looking for is similar to the one young Danish film is trying to achieve with its absolute-zero-aestheticism,'' Leif Zern writes in his entry on He continues: ''The anonymity which is created through the actors speaking English ... contribufes to the feeling of the omnipresent war. The question of whether this takes place in Sweden seems pointless since Leo is a kind of person that seems to exist everywhere in Europe, and when the logic which governs progression has no national limits.'' The contemporary realism and symbolism of Straydogs is mirrored by the fact that at the same time as it creates direct associations to the war-torn Balkans of today. It also summarises, on a larger scale, our violent century with an unpleasant image of a sort of fascism psychology.

Daniel Alfredson
88 min
Made in Sweden
Production year
Kevin Knapman, Sarah Jane Potts, Mark Bagnall
Malte Forsell
Hans Renhall
Jason Mayo
See all films from the 1999 festival