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MSM/Kronos: Anne and Alet [2013] - Mark Candasamy

In Norway late in the 18th century, the young household servants Anne and Alet Christophersdatter, from a peaceful rural community in the far south of Norway, poisoned a number of their employees with arsenic. They were later sentenced to death by beheading, in front of a large crowd of several thousand people traveling from near and far to witness the event, which was reported to have been a particularly cruel and violent execution.

The story has since become incorporated into local folklore. The many mysterious circumstances, curiosity about motive, and the fact that this happened to two beautiful young girls, has inspired literature and historians to research the events and the sociological terms of society during the 18th century. The story is well known for being adapted into Gabriel Scott’s novel “The Iron Burden” (1915).

The film intercuts between reconstructions of the 18th century events and environment - with actors, hundreds of extras, elaborate costume designs, and cinematic photography - and interviews with historians, scholars, and people from the local community who have grown up with the story as part of their community’s identity. The documentary is narrated by Norwegian actor Helge Jordal.

Anne and Alet marks the third collaboration between composer Mark Candasamy and director Stephan Hergel and is their first documentary together. The direction the production took early on required a romantic approach to the music, with the film’s vivid photography and beautiful landscape depictions contrasting the dark contents of its story. For the execution scene itself - an ambitious and violent reconstruction of the beheadings, religious procedures, prayers, and crowd reactions - the music remains in its romantic mode, elegiac and painfully suspenseful, rather than supporting the violence and other terrifying aspects of the scene.

As a special bonus, the soundtrack also includes the premiere recording of "Concert Suite from Anne and Alet", recorded live in the summer of 2013 at the Norwegian town of Risør which is famous for its international chamber music festival held every summer. 

MovieScore Media

Jeremy [HWR:OLM]

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