The Emigrants The New Land
In every country there is a book which every schoolchild knows or an author who’s embedded in the fabric of the culture. The Emigrants Suit, written by Wilhelm Moberg, comprises four books (The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers and The Last Letters Home). The novels are classics and considered to be amongst the best examples of Swedish literature. Adapting them to the screen was a daunting task but one Jan Troell was more than a match for. Along with Bengt Forslund, they condensed the tomes into two epic films, The Emigrants and The New Land.

The films tell the story of a group of poor country folk from the province of Smaland in Sweden. In over seven hours of considered yet riveting filmmaking, we follow their fortunes all the way to eventually settling in the United States. Set in 1850, there story largely revolves around Karl-Oskar Nilsson (Max von Sydow) and his wife, Kristina Johansdotter (Liv Ullmann). They live on a small farm with their four children, Karl-Oscar’s parents and his wayward younger brother Robert (Eddie Axberg). Despite struggling to make ends meet on the small family farm, they vow to plough on. That changes after their eldest daughter dies due to the side-effects of malnutrition.

Along with Robert, several friends, family and other members of the province, they make the decision to emigrate to the United States. They dream of the promises of fertile land and freedom the new land offers. After an arduous and gruelling voyage, they disembark to find themselves in a strange country with highly limited grasp of the language. The family struggles on to build their new lives, with the perils of the natives and new country to contend with. Meanwhile, Robert tries to make his fortune in the Gold Rush.

Director: Jan Troell
Cast: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Eddie Axberg, Allan Edwall, Pierre Lindstedt
Country: Sweden
Genre: Drama, History, Western

2xBD50, 3xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 3:12:05 + 3:22:35 | 90.2 Gb + 22.5 Gb
Language: Svenska
Subtitles: English


Introduction - in this new video introduction, theater and film critic John Simon discusses the brilliant simplicity of Jan Troell's film and some of the timeless truths that are depicted in it. The introduction was recorded exclusively for Criterion in October 2015. In English, not subtitled. (8 min, 1080p).

To Paint with Pictures - this archival documentary takes a closer look at the production histories of The Emigrants and The New Land. Included it are clips from interviews with director Jan Troell, actors Liv Ullmann (Kristina), Hans Alfredson (Jonas Petter), Pierre Lindstedt (Arvid), and Eddie Axberg (Robert), producer Bengt Forslund, and script supervisor Katinka Farago, amongst others. The documentary was produced by Svensk Filmindustri in 2005. In Swedish, with optional English subtitles. (57 min, 1080i).

Jan Troell - in this filmed conversation, Jan Troell discusses the production of The Emigrants and The New Land with film scholar Peter Cowie. During the conversation, the director also explains in great detail how important the success of Here is Your Life was for his involvement with The Emigrants and The New Land, and discusses Vilhelm Moberg's persona and his novels which inspired the films (four novels were reduced to two films), life in Sweden during the 19th century, and his working methods. The conversation was filmed exclusively for Criterion at the director's home in Sweden in March 2015. In English, not subtitled. (36 min, 1080p).

Liv Ullmann - in this brand new video interview, actress Liv Ullmann recalls how she was cast to play Kristina, her exceptionally close and beautiful relationship with Max von Sydow, Jan Troell's instructions during the shooting of the two films, some of the key differences between Jan Troell and Ingmar Bergman's working methods, etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in New York in October 2015. In English, not subtitled. (25 min, 1080p).

Trailers. In Swedish, with optional English subtitles.