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Interview with Tobias Aspelin (Dr. Berg)
What did you find dazzling about doing a film set in the Sweden of the 50s?
Apart from the beautiful clothes, cars and furniture, it was exciting to do a film about a subject that has been so shamefully hidden in the Swedish history.
What do you think have been the major social changes from that Sweden to the modern one?
Our economy increased from 1948 to its peak in the mid-70s and Sweden became world leading in export to other countries. In the 70s we had the best school system and social welfare in the world and we were a leading example of women’s liberation. Now in 2012, four out of ten students in 9th grade don’t get their grades and we have 50,000 undocumented immigrants who live in misery, and the gap between the richest and the poorest grows bigger every year.
Is the Swedish society portrayed in the film true to the reality in those days?
It is. After the industrialization, the bigger cities in Sweden were overpopulated and the majority were poor and lived in misery. Few politics and social entrepreneurs made social reforms, known as “the Swedish folk home,” (meaning social welfare), that in some ways made the country blossom, but they also had ideas that reminds a lot about Hitler’s Third Reich like to control the childbirth of individuals. They thought it would later become a burden for the society. They made 63,000 forced sterilizations between the years of 1934 to 1976 of most women but also men. Some were mentally or physically ill, some could not take care of their kids, but a huge number were vagrants, gypsies or unmarried women who weren’t in position to questioning the doctor´s authority.
What was the most challenging aspect of portraying your character?
My character is a concentrate of the ideas that grew in Sweden at that time, and for me it was important not to make him just an “evil” man, but human representing inhuman beliefs.
Are you involved in any filming projects at the moment? Could you tell us about them?
I have a part in a film called The Ice Dragon that has been screened on festivals around the world, and another part in a German/Swedish film called Der kommissar und das Meer. I also just stopped filming two Swedish crime TV-series. I’m also writing a one-man-show for the stage, which is a mixture of stand-up comedy and pitch-black drama.
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