ROLE:  Swedish ambassador Harald Edelstam

GENRE: Historical drama

COUNTRY: Sweden, Mexico and Denmark

SWEDEN RELEASE:  September 14, 2007


Swedish diplomat Harald Edelstam (1913-1989) was ambassador in Chile in 1973, and a firsthand witness of the coup against Salvador Allende and the seizure of power by the military. He refused to shut his eyes to the persecution of the left wing opposition. Edelstam had worked for the Swedish embassy in Berlin and Oslo during World War II. During that time he saved members of the resistance and Jews from persecution; within the Norwegian resistance he was called "The Black Pimpernel". In Chile Edelstam was similarly committed. He allowed Chileans who were being persecuted access to the embassy and organized for them to be granted asylum to Sweden. The rescue of Cuban civilians is generally viewed as his most courageous act. When Chilean tanks advanced towards the Cuban embassy, he stepped into their path and declared the Cuban embassy Swedish sovereign territory. The feature film pays homage to this man’s courageous actions, not withholding the fact that he gradually lost all support from his superiors.

Film Details

Michael Nyqvist - Harald Edelstam
Lumi Cavazos - Ana Dominguez
Kate del Castillo - Consuelo Fuentes
Lisa Werlinder - Susanne Martens
Carsten Norgaard - Winther
Cristián Campos - Coronel Maldonado
Patrick Bergin - US Ambassador

* * * * *

Director - Ulf Hultberg & Asa Faringer
Screenplay - Bob Foss
Cinematography - Dirk Brüel
Music - Jacob Groth

95 minutes

View trailer

Production Notes:

The film began shooting in January 2006 in Santiago, Chile.

Directors Ulf Hultberg and Åsa Faringer said that it was important for them that the film was shot in Chile, partly due to respect for the victims, but also as a reminder for those who still deny what happened during the Pinochet regime 1973-1990.  Filming took place both outside the presidential palace la Moneda and at the infamous National Stadium.  Many of the Chileans on the production team had relatives who had died there.

Several times people came spontaneously to the film team and told them what Edelstam meant. The hope of those who have worked with the film is that it will reach a large audience and not just to those already inaugurated. Just as many of those who worked with the film were heavily influenced by Edelstam and his act, they hope that those who watch the movie will also be moved. Hultberg says, "The destiny of Edelstam is worth learning and is inspiring in this dark time. We have forgotten human values - solidarity, humanity and caring for our neighbor."

Publicity Stills
Comments from Michael:

"I hope that the movie will raise the question of what has happened to Sweden.  Where did the Civil War take the road and what happened to the word solidarity? This was a time when Sweden stood for something important and valuable in the world. Now it's very quiet."

Michael was fascinated by Edelstam's unscrupulous virtue and morality. He wondered how he would have acted.

"I would have been afraid to die."

Michael Nyqvist was twelve years old when the coup in Chile occurred.

"It became a political awakening for me. I remember when the television reporter Jan Sandquist's photographer was killed while filming."

It was only when Michael came to Santiago to film did he understand the extent of Harald Edelstam's work.

"Every day people came and thanked me for what he did. I met a woman who says goodnight to his business card every night."

Several strong scenes are recorded in the National Stadium, which after the coup became a regular concentration camp. Film teams were released into a corridor that had been closed since the coup.

"It was immediately unpleasant to film inside the stadium, in that hallway where many were dead and tortured hard. I felt a bit ridiculous, actually. Here we go and pretend. So I had to make a decision before my profession. Now you take this seriously! Sharpen yourself now, Nyqvist! "

During filming, the production received death threats from an extreme-right radio channel.

"It was unpleasant. Clearly, I was afraid."

Filming was anything but a dream and Michael chose to be extra careful.

"For my own safety, I got police protection."


"The film is recorded on site, including the scenes at the National Stadium. What really matters is the feeling that Michael Nyqvist conveys by a man who can not help acting, a man who is in violation of the conventions surrounding his profession, and instead is driven by humanity and solidarity. He not only exceeds his powers as a diplomat, he utilizes them in absurdism. He is extremely formal, extremely correct and elegantly dressed, and succeeds with his authority to convince the military at roadblocks, during the attack on the Cuban embassy, during the visit to the National Stadium, that he has the right on his side that they will have trouble with his superior And that they violate Swedish territory. Harald Edelstam was a man of unusual civilian courage, as he demonstrated in Berlin in Nazi Germany. A movie like "Black Cod" may not bring him full justice, but it can give him the place in the story he deserves."   ...Eva Kellström Froste,