Jeux Olympiques, Stockholm 1912

stockholm olympics 1912 poster Olle Hjortsberg

Far from being recent, the notion of the Olympics as a PR opportunity for the host nation dates back to 1912, when Stockholm provided the first purpose-built stadium, the first concerted Olympic advertising campaign and the first official poster, all with the aim of promoting Sweden as a dynamic modern nation.

At first sight Olle Hjortsberg’s design, which sets dynamic male nudity against vigorous art nouveau pattern-making, seems to belong to a culture of naive, essentially platonic homoeroticism that flourished in the early 20th century and vanished with the First World War. Yet even then the image wasn’t perceived as entirely innocent. Those whirling orange streamers were added to shield the central figure’s modesty, and the poster was barred from many public places.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Review: Wallander (Episode 5 – The Man Who Smiled – BBC)


Opening with a near monochrome landscape – an old man is driving through desolate terrain. He stops at what appears to be a hooded figure on a deserted road.

Next it cuts to Wallander who is living alone in a B&B on the coast. Addicted to prescription drugs, he’s struggling to come to terms with the man he killed last time. He’s left the police and cut himself off from his old life.

He then has a visitor who comes out to him on the beach. It appears to be an old friend, asking for help. His father was murdered (the old guy driving up the mountain). Wallander says no, he’s not ready; he can’t help.

At last Wallander returns to Ystad, making his way to the police station. Confused and awkward, the commander spots him. They chat and he learns that the guy coming to seek help from him is now dead, like his father. Wallander decides it’s time to return to policing.

This is a slow episode, plot-wise. It’s much more focused on Wallander and his deterioration than it is on the murders. Wallander visits his father who is now in a care home. His daughter Linda is also there. He hasn’t seen his family for a long time (we don’t know how long). The dysfunctional relationship he has with his family is brought into sharp relief.

The plot line then gets back on track. It transpires that it’s about the illicit sale of body parts. Plot-wise this isn’t a strong episode but that doesn’t detract from the drama itself which is very good and I’m still thoroughly enjoying it.

Overview of Wallander on the BBC

Review: Wallander (Episode 3 – One Step Behind – BBC1)

A very absorbing final episode of Wallander, the dark Swedish crime thriller brought to a UK tv audience by the BBC. This episode seemed almost more grim than the other two so far screened as it seemed to have the most murders.

The storyline was deeply complex and mostly a mystery, right up until the end. Dead teenagers, a homosexual police detective who also gets killed, more murders, vivid scenes of the Swedish outback, Wallander himself looking like a zombie from so little sleep and illness. Surreal country-scapes, the dead bodies of children looking like broken dolls and to top it off – a psychopathic transvestite.

No point in me dissecting the plot line in depth suffice to say it’s a real shame that only three of these were made. To me it has far more appeal than any of the other police dramas we have on TV. Masses of originality, luscious cinematography, excessively dark and twisted story lines (as I’ve said before, it’s like a TV version of the film Seven).

I have never been a huge Branagh fan but I thought he was excellent in this.

Let’s hope they make some more. I may even read the books now too.

Overview of Wallander on the BBC

Review: Wallander (Episode 2 – Firewall – BBC1)

I think this can probably assume the mantle of the best current crime thriller on TV, and easily one of the most stylised dramas to hit the BBC in quite some time.

It’s exceptionally dark. Really deeply and quite depressingly brooding. The storyline is complex and very tangled and in last night’s episode there was a powerful feeling of increasing claustrophobia and suspense as it progressed over 1.5 hours.

I really hope they do more of these rather than just the initial three. I was never into police dramas before this but it’s so different to standard British fare – mainly because of the cinematography and also that it’s set in Sweden – that I would definitely watch it regularly.

Below is last week’s trailer, to give you an idea.

Overview of Wallander on the BBC