Hedvig Jensen is a famous ropewalker and is known to her public as Elvira Madigan. She meets Sixten Sparre, a Swedish officer who is married and has two children. They both decide to run away, but since Sixten deserted the army, he cannot find any job and the couple encounters many hardships.
Bo Widerberg reached new heights of visual lyricism with this sublime retelling of a real-life nineteenth-century romantic tragedy. Bound by their all-consuming desire, a young circus tightrope walker (Pia Degermark, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actress prize) and a lieutenant (Tommy Berggren) with a wife and children forsake everything to be together and escape to the countryside—only to see their lovers’ idyll gradually give way to poverty and desperation. With its painterly, sun-dappled images and indelible use of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 21, this 1960s art-house sensation is the most ravishing expression of Widerberg’s recurring theme of the tension between individual freedom and social responsibility.