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Film Editor
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Biography

Swedish editor. Born as Anna Viktoria Zetterström in Stockholm. Died in Sundbyberg.-For those of us actively involved in Swedish film during the late 20th century Wic' Kjellin was an institution, a film professional everyone knew, admired and wanted to include in their crew. Yet in terms of cinema history, film editors and the work they do is an undeservedly overlooked category. There are several reasons for this. The work is carried out without fuss, mostly after shooting has finished and when press interest in the film is at a low. Furthermore, the...

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Biography

Swedish editor. Born as Anna Viktoria Zetterström in Stockholm. Died in Sundbyberg.

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For those of us actively involved in Swedish film during the late 20th century Wic' Kjellin was an institution, a film professional everyone knew, admired and wanted to include in their crew. Yet in terms of cinema history, film editors and the work they do is an undeservedly overlooked category. There are several reasons for this. The work is carried out without fuss, mostly after shooting has finished and when press interest in the film is at a low. Furthermore, the director is usually in charge of how the finished product will look - many also edit their own films - and this makes it difficult to define the part played by an editor.

This does not prevent certain editors carrying out essential work for a number of directors, especially novices, but also those established practitioners for whom the film editor is a necessary sounding board for ideas and whims, and also a critical eye when it comes to selecting the right edit and the right scene. This is especially true when cutting out scenes which do not drive the narrative forward, yet to which the director is attached for various reasons: this cull of scenes is known in the trade as "killing your darlings".

During the 1960s and 1970s Kjellin became such an editor for virtually all of our leading directors, with the exception of Bergman. She edited six films each for Göran Gentele and Vilgot Sjöman, four for Jörn Donner and Jan Halldoff, two for Tage Danielsson and Mai Zetterling, but it was perhaps Bo Widerberg's Barnvagnen ('The Baby Carriage', 1963) and Raven's End (Kvarteret Korpen, 1963) which made her so popular in the decades that followed.

She arrived at a young age at Europa Film, where she was active for the first 30 years of her career. Having served as an assistant editor, at 22 she was entrusted with her own first feature, Our Boy (Våran pojke, Arne Bornebusch, 1936), starring Edvard Persson, Europa Film's most popular actor of the 1930s and 1940s. Around this time editors were often permanent staff members who therefore had to edit whatever films that were produced by their company. At Europa Film this was a mixed bag, largely made up of light comedies. Wic' was charged with editing almost all the films of Edvard Persson, but she was given a little more freedom when she became the favourite of Göran Gentele. His 1958 film Miss April (Fröken April) was singled out as one of Sweden's freshest comedies, with a lightness and tempo unusual in Swedish film at the time.

A vital characteristic for any film editor is a sensitive appreciation of the director's intentions whilst maintaining a critical assessment of the material and its possibilities. Wic' often demonstrated this quality, working together with directors of widely differing temperaments. It is hardly a coincidence that Bo Widerberg's first films are the most cogent ever seen in terms of form. Left to his own devices, the director's films became rather more unkempt. Yet Wic' was not averse to changes of style. Following on from Vilgot Sjöman's stylistically correct costume drama My Sister, My Love (Syskonbädd 1782, 1966), she dived enthusiastically into his I am Curious (Yellow) (Jag är nyfiken - gul, 1967) and I Am Curious (Blue) (Jag är nyfiken - blå, 1968), followed by Mai Zetterling's The Girls (Flickorna, 1968).

I had the pleasure of working together with Wic' in the 1970s when she edited her final films, including Jan Halldoff's Chez Nous, Hans Dahlberg's A Walk in the Sun (En vandring i solen), and Sjöman's A Handful of Love (En handfull kärlek), a film which presented a major problem. In the director's cut it was far too long for both its co-producer and distributor. The fact that it could be edited down by almost half an hour without the audience and critics noticing was in no small measure down to Kjellin.

Wic' Kjellin never got to edit a film for Ingmar Bergman, but that did not prevent the director in 1978 from selecting her for the first-ever Ingmar Bergman Award, "for an inspiring artistic achievement", a prize for those working in the film industry that he wanted to set on a par with the Guldbagge awards, which at that time were reserved for the more glamorous jobs in film.

Bengt Forslund (2014)

(translated by Derek Jones)

Awards

The Ingmar Bergman Award Stockholm 1978

Films

Film Editor

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