About the film

Eugen Albrecht and Gustav Danielsson, prepairing for the "Court scene" in Roy Anderssons " You, The Living"

Portrait of a Reluctant Gentleman is a 13 min long documentary. It was filmed in Stockholm, 2008. Most of it was shot in Roy Anderssons Studio 24 at Östermalm.

The Gentleman is Eugen Albrecht. I came to know him when I worked as cinematographer on the film ”You the Living” by Roy Andersson. Eugen used to visit us in the studio every now and then and ask to borrow some money for a beer at Systembolaget. He used to tell us the most incredible stories about his life. At first I thought that he made it up to impress us. But when I started to investigate, it turned out that most of the stories were true. And I was truly fascinated by the man – how could he have possibly experienced all this during a lifetime?

In 1939, when Eugen was just a kid, he was abandoned by his parents in Gdansk when the Germans occupied Poland. Since he had no chance to escape, he lived with distant relatives in Poland during the whole World War II. He had to join the Hitler Jugend. In 1945 he returned to Sweden and his family. Because of his German accent he had to fight everyday in the schoolyard. And at home was his tyrant father. Soon he got expelled. He went to a boarding school. He became a chemist. He got an airplane certificate. He worked as an actor. He worked as a flying chemist in the Middle East. He fought in a war. He started to produce amphetamine. He got sent to prison. And it just goes on.

Eugen refused to talk about this in front of the camera, especially the rough parts. Luckily for me, Eugen has charm, humor and star quality. That’s how this film got its form. The reluctant Eugen who made hints and clues about his wild life, combined with my staged fantasies of his life. Which in fact, are all true.

I approached this project more in the fashion of a painter than a film maker. So I tried to visualize the images I got from Eugens stories and not struggling to tell the ”truth”,to let the poetry and fantasy of the portrait emerge. Eugens life story is surely enough to base a movie on – in comparison, this portrait is just a few strokes with a brush.

Eugen approved the film before the premier, ”I think we’ve both done our very best!

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