Bo Widerberg's Adalen '31 chronicles the events surrounding the Adalen riots on May 14th, 1931; a confrontation between Striking workers and the military which erupted into violence, leading to the death of five men. Widerberg's story is intimate in scope, yet expansive in its thematic assertions, instilling a coming-of-age archetype in which innocence is shattered for a young man who for the first time begins to understand the injustice and oppression which exists in the world. The clash between the working class and employing class is viewed through the lens of the youth in Adalen '31, in which the stakes of the ongoing strike are shown but they are far from front-and-center. Adalen'31 maintains its youthful perspective throughout its running time, one in which the stakes are felt but delivered in a subtle, yet efficient way, juxtaposing the youthful spirit of unbiased judgement with that of adulthood, where bias and preconceived notions create hostility among various classes and creeds. Our main protagonist's young romance with a woman of the bourgeoisie class is a prime example of this. They may come from different classes of society but they share the same youthful curiosity and attraction towards each other, yet in the end their relationship ends in tragedy, never standing a chance in the end due to the preconceived notions and bias stemming from their elder parents, individuals who simply won't attempt to step outside of their class. Unquestionable a story about the working class, and its rights to be treated fairly and freely; Bo Widerberg's Adalen '31 is perhaps most inspiring due to how it looks towards the youth, recognizing how they're not yet stained and defeated, having not yet simply accepted that things simple are the way things are.
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