There is so much in THE MAKING OF A MAN (documentary, 48 min, 2019) that greatly interests me. As an avid fan of Stig Dagerman’s writing, I could listen to Lo for hours talking about him. But I also appreciate the central question in the film about the meaning of a hero, and how facts get whitewashed to fabricate heroes, as was the case in post WWII France. The film uses Stig’s play Marty’s Shadow as a jump-off point to make the viewer reflect on a great many issues like parent and sibling relationships, politics, courage and manliness.
Having acted in the play, I know it very well, and in my mind the brief excerpts in the documentary can’t do it full justice. I have always regarded Gabriel as my hero. The intellectual man who is met not only by a mother who doesn’t understand him, but by a whole world blind to him. To me, he is neither a nerd nor a youth on the spectrum. To me, he represents Stig. A man driven to a final desperate action, maybe more symbolic than real, but it’s not committed by a madman.
I believe that Stig’s writing is more important than ever. His unrelenting belief in truth-telling and authenticity, and the role of the individual to take a stand. But the truth, as he well knew, is a complicated thing, full of contradictions, and one where simply following emotions and gut feelings will blow you off course. To read Stig is for me a constant reminder that we must not be fooled by myths that divide humanity into binary good or evil, but we must always look at humans in their imperfect complexity. Ecce Homo.
Stellan Skarsgård, Stockholm October 20, 2020
VIEW Stellan reading Stig in OUR NEED FOR CONSOLATION (short film by Dan Levy Dagerman, 20 min, 2012)