This is an extremely personal film for me, and this is highly reflected by the lack of dialog and shot choices. I would say that it is the first film I have made, which actually shows the style that I want to work towards in my career.
This film is not your ordinary “run of the mill“ Swedish crime drama - it is a whole new breed, made outside of the usual Swedish film funding system. Swedish crime drama usually takes the side of a police officer or a crime reporter following them as they solve a gruesome murder. However, in AMBER, we take the point of view of the offender, and how his journey towards self realization begins when he needs to care for a baby girl.

I knew that, deviating from the norm, the story would have to be gripping, and the lead character a really unsympathetic individual. Nevertheless, he should also have a heart of gold somewhere deep below that callused exterior. As a result, a person shaped by an upbringing in foster care came to life. This man, who I chose to name M (after Clint Eastwood's character “The Man With no Name”), had never felt love as he grew up, and therefore he did not know how to love, nor show empathy. It became a pet challenge for me to take an audience along for the trip, as M goes from being an unscrupulous thug to actually showing a bit of heart, without losing the audience's interest along the way. I feel strongly that I have actually achieved this feat. However, future audiences and critics will be the final judges of this.

To bring the audience into the haunting mindset of the offender, I knew the film would need an almost surreal quality. With this in mind, I was highly influenced by the fluid and well-composed work of Kubrick, as well as the more erratic handheld style of Swedish and French new wave directors of the sixties - such as Bo Widerberg and Jean-Luc Godard. In order to achieve my goal, I mixed between well-choreographed static and handheld shots in different sequences throughout the film, as seamlessly as possible. A static camera or dolly was used in scenes where M acted calm and calculated, while a handheld camera was used to portray M in tense situations. The main problem was doing this in the short time we had, so a dual camera setup was used for 90% of the film – making it possible to cover both close-ups and mid-shots in every take, as well as having two handheld setups available at all time.

Hop on, and enjoy the ride that is AMBER (Jag Är Min Egen)".


/Johan Bergqvist - Writer Director