(The Man in the Grave Next Door)

ROLE:  Farmer Benny Söderström

GENRE: Romantic comedy

COUNTRY:  Sweden/Norway

SWEDEN RELEASE:  August 2, 2002


This romantic story is a tale of opposites who become attracted to one another. Desiree, a young widow and librarian is a "townie" who often visits the grave of her deceased husband. Benny is a farmer who often visits the graves of his parents. Desiree and Benny see each other and begin a relationship. Although the two appear to have little in common, they turn out to be possibly perfect for each other.

Cast & Credit Details

Elisabet Carlsson - Desirée Wallin
Michael Nyqvist - Benny Söderström
Annika Olsson - Märta
 Anna Azcárate - Lilian
 Rolf Degerlund - Bengt-Göran
Anita Heikkilä - Violet
 Axelle Axell - Desirée's Mother
 Lasse Pettersson - Desirée's Father
 Sara Arnia - Benny's Mother

* * * * *

Director -  Kjell Sundvall
Screenplay - Sara Heldt
Based on the novel by Katarina Mazetti
Cinematography - Philip Øgaard
Music - Trond Bjerknes

* * * * *

94 minutes

View trailer at this link.

Production Notes:

Filming began in mid-September 2001 in Luleå and Lillträsk south of Korstäsk City.

Director Sundvall:
"When making a romantic movie, there must be sparks between the couple. It does not matter how I direct. There must be chemistry. Then we found out that Micke and Elisabet know each other before. They are perfect."

Publicity Stills
Promotional Photos

Won Guldbagge for Best Actor


Gunnar Rehlin:
Despite a predictable outcome, "The Guy in the Grave Next Door" is a light love story that’s as charming and appealing as its leading actors. Based on a local bestseller, this new film from Kjell Sundvall is scoring good business in Sweden, where it should end up among the biggest local movies of the year. Foreign adventures will be limited, though some festival exposure could prove successful.

Desirée (Elisabet Carlsson) is single, works as a librarian in a small Swedish town and, when she isn’t working, spends time with her female friends and reluctantly visits her senile mother. She also visits the cemetery where her husband, killed in an accident some years before, is buried.

Benny (Michael Nyquist) is also single, and a farmer, living at and taking care of the farm his deceased parents left behind. His life consists of work, socializing with the couple on the farm next door and visiting his parents’ grave.

At the cemetery, Desirée and Benny start eyeing each other but don’t know how to make the first move. Still, they soon start dating and end up between the sheets.

However, they’re different from each other in almost every way. They don’t like the same kind of music; she likes to keep her flat tidy, while he can be a slob; and so on. Also, Desirée has assumed that Benny is a non-intellectual, whereas in reality, he turns out to have more depth than she could ever have imagined.

In an early montage showing the differences between the two, Sundvall makes it clear the potential lovers will encounter obstacles, but will eventually end up together. The predictability of the outcome doesn’t matter, as the film’s charm and natural ease make the ride to the final embrace both entertaining and amusing.

Nyquist is one of Sweden’s most reliable character actors, and here he’s as good as always. The real find, however, is Carlsson, a legit actor here making her movie debut. Not a regular beauty, she has a smile that sets the screen on fire, making it easy to understand why Benny falls head over heels for her.

Peo Sandholm,
"The Man in the Grave Next Door" is a romantic comedy based on the novel by Katarina Mazetti with the same name. Desirée lives alone in a small town and works as a librarian. She wants to move to Stockholm where life seems more exciting. And she wants to stop being alone. One day she makes eye contact with a man in a cemetery.

Director Kjell Sundvall and scriptwriter Sara Heldt have chosen a simple and traditional storytelling technique instead of a somewhat more exciting and daring road that the book opened up opportunities for. I cannot help wonder what another director could have created. In any case, Sundvall and the actors succeed in getting the psyche of the two personalities and the good humor in the book.

Michael Nyqvist plays Benny who manages his farm on his own after his parents have died. Benny dreams of finding love. Desirée  is also interested in love but she would never dream of being interested in someone like Benny. He is a farmer and eats sausage with bread for lunch. An unlikely love story begins between two completely different individuals. Traditional gender roles are strengthened between the two when Benny expects her to cook meatballs for him. There is a certain conflict between an old and a new world, but above all, a conflict between what is expected of one in the choice of life partners and how the passion may turn into prejudices.

Both Elisabet Carlsson and Michael Nyqvist make brilliant interpretations. Elisabeth Carlsson has been featured in TV shows, but this is her first feature film. Michael Nyqvist participates this year in no less than four feature films.