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Interview with Jorn Donner

BROADCAST: 1973 | DURATION: 00:55:17

Synopsis

Interviewing Jorn Donner of The Svenska Film Institute while Studs was in Sweden.

Transcript

Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.

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Studs Terkel Svenska filminstitutet, I look through the window on this rather balmy day in Stockholm, I see housing complexes in green grass, I'm seated next to the co-director, Jorn Donner, who is a Finn, who is a very fascinating man himself. And to me, you interest me, Jorn, in your view of Sweden, this very -- more and more I find this very singular country, society in this moment. But first about this place where we are, it's a huge place. Svenska filminstitutet, you and Harry Schein are the co-directors of it.

Jorn Donner He's sort of a chairman of the board, so he's only half-time, and what you are looking out on in fact is an old exercise area, where the Swedish army was exercising, the Stockholm army at least. So I don't know how they get the permission to build a house here, but they got it, and

Studs Terkel You call that the Swedish Pentagon.

Jorn Donner The house next door to us is the Swedish Pentagon, the Defense Department, and when this house was built, they didn't allow us, or I wasn't here then, to have windows facing the Pentagon. So instead, Mr. Schein put up an eye outside the house just to look at the Pentagon. So there it is, and but about this hugeness or not so, it's not so huge, but, but it has everything, studio, stream studios and offices and university departments for film, theater, schooling and ballet and whatever.

Studs Terkel What is the relationship of this institute with Swedish filmmaking? Say, the works of Bo Widerberg or the works of Ingmar Bergman? What's the connection?

Jorn Donner The connection is that once they had a, once they had an entertainment tax in this country, and then they abolished the entertainment tax and instead some percentage, that's 10 percent of the gross of all cinemas in the country is given to a foundation, and that's the foundation behind, it's the Swedish film institute. So this money is used for production purposes, [most of it?], so when Widerberg makes a film

Studs Terkel Let's say like "Elvira Madigan" for the moment.

Jorn Donner No, that's an old film. But anyway, anyway he gets support from the Institute or when Bergman does "Cry and Whisper [sic - "Cries and Whispers"," "Whisper and Cry", his last film which was shown in the state, that was, we were coproducers of the film first of all.

Studs Terkel So, say, "Cries and Whispers" of Bergman, so that is also subsidized by the government of Sweden?

Jorn Donner Yeah, yeah, not the government directly, because this foundation is not a state thing. It's a private foundation, but of course it's controlled by the government in a way. I don't know which way.

Studs Terkel But we see, in other words we'll come to you in a moment and your ironic commentary on Sweden as a Finn. We're living in -- you are living at this moment four days a week in Stockholm, then you go back to Helsinki, where you have a television program where you work, you travel about. But we live -- Sweden. That this moment is -- might be described as a mixed economy. Ninety-five percent private enterprise, and five percent public.

Jorn Donner A mixed enterprise, but very much state control of how money is being given to the people. You know, Sweden has the highest, highest percentage of a sort of public income. The state transfers via high taxes and then so on they control more than half of the gross national product. Which means that, that they don't need, I think they don't need socialized and a socialist economy because they have socialized incomes. You see what I mean. Socializing the income means redistributing the income in a different way. So they haven't touched on capital. They haven't touched on the property, they have touched on the income, and of course income is in a way much more important than the capital.

Studs Terkel You say this is far from a socialist government.

Jorn Donner Yeah, I don't know what a socialist government is in fact, but I wouldn't consider the Swedish government very socialist, it's just the government of a people who favor a mixed economy and the social benefits and Social Security, and as that it's good, but it's, it doesn't differ so much from any government who tries to alleviate the [posit?] of the poor or the sick or the handicapped and so.

Studs Terkel But there is medical care that is

Jorn Donner Yeah, everything like that. I mean, in that respect it differs very much, but let's say compared to my country, to Finland, Finland is much poorer than Sweden but it has instituted about the same reforms, without having a socialist government, so I don't know what the socialists in Sweden stand for, except for this.

Studs Terkel Except for what?

Jorn Donner Except for this redistribution of income, but otherwise I don't know. I mean, they are liberal people, and they are no fascists. They are very liberal in culture. They are not repressive, but sometimes they even are oppressive.

Studs Terkel Now we come to the Orwellian nature of Sweden. We come to a country that is not a superpower, that is between two superpowers, U.S. and U.S.S.R. and walks a tightrope as Olof Palme obviously does. We come to you, the observer. You've written a book on Sweden that I hope will be published in the States one day. Your thoughts, you're a Finn, and you're ironic, you're detached, at the same time you're quite involved, too. You, Jorn Donner, how you came to Sweden, your thoughts about a Swedish society and Swedish people.

Jorn Donner Well, see I have a sort of 25-year love/hate relationship with Sweden because I came here first time 1940, '49 when I was 16-year-old, and I was really astonished because I came from a country that had been through a war four years earlier and I was as I said 16 years, and I found out

Studs Terkel Sweden was neutral.

Jorn Donner Sweden was neutral and Sweden hasn't had any war since 1809, and you looked at the houses and they were well-painted and everything was in order and everybody was kept in order and so on, and everybody sort of reacted according to a certain schedule, and that they still do by the way. So but then it's a, you see a country that is highly developed and has a high standard of living. I think it develops a certain conformist traits. I mean, it's like a certain segment of the state, United States with suburban population of course probably white or whatever they are who are, so the same here, they eat the same porridge, they drink the same schnapps and so on and they use the same toilet paper and they're [lop?] a conformist and that is very alarming, even if they say that they are very free. I'm a little worried. I was more worried when I made those trips for the books. For this book.

Studs Terkel Let's talk about your worries, we'll talk about the books in a moment. What are your worries about Sweden?

Jorn Donner My worry is that that more and more people are depending on the public, on the on the public sector of the economy of the government. I mean, there are more and more people who are employed by government agencies and so on, and climbing, climbing the ladder of success or of a promotion when you are at the same time employed by the state means in this country a danger that you have to have conformist opinions [to? too?] and be very silent. Somebody put it this way, this was some friend of mine who is a professor in international politics that he doesn't know of anybody being so silent as the ones who are climbing the ladder of the bureaucratic here.

Studs Terkel Tell me, Jorn, how does it differ from say a private enterprise society which climbing takes place too in a climate of silence?

Jorn Donner Yeah, but they don't, they don't claim the same silence, because private enterprise doesn't, couldn't care less about your private opinions as long as you do your work. But in the sec-- in when you are working in schooling, in education and so on, the people who are behind that, they want to have your loyalty.

Studs Terkel Who told you that that private enterprise economies don't care about the thoughts of people say working

Jorn Donner Oh, no, yeah, but in general I mean, I know about Swedish enterprise, maybe in the United States I don't know, but in Sweden at least, I mean in the Volvo car factories nobody cares if you are communist or a right-wing as long as you do your work. But the technical process is difficult -- different.

Studs Terkel Coming to you, the observer of the Swedish scene, I myself was taken with the politeness, the amenities, the grace, I find around and about and during our lunch, during which you are very gracious host, you were saying things are not what they seem.

Jorn Donner Yeah, I see then when you go to a shop or something, you meet people they are very deferential and very polite. That's a general trait. And they are also at the same time very reserved. I feel that the Swedish people don't have enough means of getting their aggressions done with. I mean, they are, they are behind your back they are saying a lot of things, but they don't dare to offend other people directly. They should hate each other a little more, more. They are like boxers who are not, who are in the ring but they are not touching each other. So it's, it's, it's not -- I think it's, it's sick. And there is, there is a lot of, lot of repressed aggressions in this country.

Studs Terkel How does that express itself, the repressed aggressions? How does it manifest itself? Examples.

Jorn Donner No, in practical life it just expresses itself in a sort of sourness. People are sour. They are, I don't know, I mean, lots of foreign people like I and others have been speaking about the discontent of this culture, and really after writing those 300 pages I don't know exactly where that discontent lies, probably it lies in the fact that they have reached a sort of material well-being as a level that is quite high. But they don't know what to do after that. I mean, it's an eternal question. They are miles, they are ages from most people in the world today.

Studs Terkel Extend this a little further, Jorn, Mr. Donner, further. You as a Finn, observing the Swedes at this moment in this mixed economy, social democratically controlled at the moment though there's a dead heat in Parliament.

Jorn Donner [You know?] seen, maybe it's something that comes automatically with a country of equal well-being, almost equal well-being so we will have Sweden as the first country reaching the Orwellian heights, because the United States with a higher income maybe per capita or however you want to count it, is so unequal in many ways. But Sweden is equalized, and so

Studs Terkel Aside from the three percent or so.

Jorn Donner But it will reach a sort of nightmare quality, because people, how do people live here, you know, the work hours are shorter and shorter so they will work only something like 35 and below or two and so on, and then they go back to those bloody apartments they have a look at this, this monopolized television channels and this monopolized radio and that and then they go back to work. It's a very drab life.

Studs Terkel But how would that compare -- I know I'm from the United States and we have many channels, but they're commercials on these channels aside from educational television, you see. There are no commercial channels on the two, the two Swedish

Jorn Donner Yeah, but you see the people, there is, there is an ideology in Sweden that is stronger than socialism or liberalism or whatever. It's the belief that everybody in society wants to be educated, wants to all the time get education and more learning and so on and so on, whereas I think, but maybe I'm very reactionary, that I think that there are always a certain, certain people who don't want to have all that crap, education because maybe I want it, but sometimes I want to read a crime story. If I don't get the crime story, I do something else. There is always a longing for escapism, for entertainment, for difference, for a change. And what I feel here is that they have a sort of -- there is a drabness and also that that Sweden is very Swedish, very astonishing statement, by the way.

Studs Terkel How is it Swedish? What is Swedish?

Jorn Donner When Sweden is very, very Swedish it means also that I'm always laughing at their engagement in things internationally in the world and so on, in Vietnam or South Africa. I think it's wonderful that they try to engage themselves, but they don't have the slightest understanding of what happens in the world. They think that they can, they can they can be moral judges of the world. You know, that it's not only that they are saying that it's good to say to the big powers that, "Shut up and so on," but they don't say it, put it that way, they say that "We have a moral judgment on you. We think that you are, you are morally inferior and so on," because they have a very high estimation, estimate of their own moral quality.

Studs Terkel Are you're talking about a certain, you feel a certain complacency and smugness is here, and the Swedish people in contrast to other peoples that you're

Jorn Donner Look, for instance, you have been in the United Nations you have this disarmament commissions and so on, and the Swedes have a very prominent, permanent place there, but Sweden has, it's one of the strongest armed countries in the world. At the same time as they're speaking about the world

Studs Terkel I put it to you this way. Olof Palme, the prime minister of Sweden, said, "Yes, Sweden is, has the fourth biggest expenditure," and you, yourself Jorn Donner the other night on television, the following when I was on, you were saying that isn't it remarkable no one questioned Swedish defense expenditures, but Palme says "Since we are not part of either superpower structure, U.S. or U.S.S.R. or Chinese, we must maintain our independence unfortunately in this horrendous world with high

Jorn Donner But since 19-- 1809, Swedish independence has never been questioned in that way. They were in, they were in trouble during the Second World War with the Germans, you know, that when the Germans asked them to transfer soldiers to the north. What did they do? They conceded.

Studs Terkel Yes.

Jorn Donner And they

Studs Terkel Mr. Hermansson, the Communist MP, by the way in Sweden, has said exactly the same thing, and he said he observed those things, too.

Jorn Donner Yeah. And you see, they concede -- their independence were save, saved and when there were very, very, very activist elements in Sweden in 1939, when Finland was attacked by the

Studs Terkel You mean activist, anti-fascist

Jorn Donner No, activist for Swedish active participation, the Finnish winter war, 1939. They were very realistic in Sweden. They said, "Let's help Finland with underpants or stockings or guns or whatever, but let's not lose our neutrality. So what has saved Sweden has been good policy. Good politicians. Not one of those guns, I don't think so. It's just a sort of illusion, because if you would ask the politicians, they would -- I mean they wouldn't give that answer, but it's because the defense, it employs people and they have a unemployment problem and they have other problems and they want to develop their own electronic equipment for certain reasons, security reasons, and so forth. But not that the weapons that the guns would have said Sweden.

Studs Terkel The funny thing is as you're talking, your, your, I realize your approach is very ironic and somewhat detached, though I know you're very passionate in many things. You speak as though you were a reactionary, and I know you are a political radical. Do you see?

Jorn Donner I am, and I am not, because in Sweden you must be both a little. In certain respects even you have to be conservative in a sense. I mean, because the main line in Swedish politics is as I maybe told you like a ditch. I mean, everybody's falling into the ditch. I don't know if there is water in it, but that's the middle. So all politics are middle politics, and if you belong to the, which I don't, but there are people on the radical left, there are even people on the not so radical right, which of the Conservative Party that can criticize this society from, from very interesting starting points. So I am, I am a critic. I mean, I see my job as a writer to be a critic. And then you can't be into the ditch crawling with all those others.

Studs Terkel So this ditch we're talking about is the center. This ditch is the middle.

Jorn Donner Yeah, the Labor Party.

Studs Terkel And this ditch of political radicals of right and left you're

Jorn Donner Yeah. Because there's nobody who's questioning the welfare policies nowadays. Thirty years ago when the whole policy of social reform was instituted, then there was heavy attacks against it. If you go to Parliament today and somebody say that now we have to have a dent-- reform with the dentists that the state will pay 75 percent of all dentist bills, everybody approves it, and it has been approved.

Studs Terkel Do you yourself, Jorn, disagree with the idea of social

Jorn Donner No, not at all. Not at all, but it has its implications, and the implication is of course that I wouldn't say that this is the implication that is necessary, because social welfare in that sense that when you are sick or disabled that the society will take care of you, but because, because it's by nature a society of high taxation on income, there are also people who, who sort of lose their will to take initiatives, and society cannot lose those people. I don't want the society of an unbound free enterprise and so on. Not at all. Quite the reverse, but I mean there are implications when, to be faced when the public sector as I said the government indirectly employs more and more people. The danger of getting all these conformist living in a free, happy state, but then it's 1984.

Studs Terkel Well, in 1984, you're implying that 1984 has arrived in Sweden 11 years ahead of schedule.

Jorn Donner No, not yet. It will probably arrive on schedule, because you know trains also work on schedule it seem, so it can't arrive in advance, it's well planned, 1984 will arrive in 1984.

Studs Terkel Well, wait a minute though. We're talking -- this is -- the conversation -- as the audience can gather, this is a rather Orwellian conversation with Jorn Donner, who you must understand is a Finn, and we'll come to that in a moment. You were saying, don't you feel that in a free enterprise society there too there's a conformity that is as rigid as there might be in a quasi-socialist society?

Jorn Donner Yeah, that's possible. Of course, I know Eastern Europe, much of Eastern Europe, and I wouldn't be very much willing to live in Eastern Germany or in Poland or in Hungary or in Russia, because I know there is a age that differs us from those societies, and then this also should be said to those people in Sweden who think that Sweden should change into something like East and Eastern Europe, because that's hopeless. I mean, the repression, we know what happened to Czechoslovakia and so on. You have to remember also the other side of the portrait that Sweden leaves culture very much on its own. I mean free, and doesn't sense sort of -- there is a house in Stockholm called the Sweden House which has some terrible critical paintings or whatever about Sweden, about the prime minister. And I think only that when somebody wanted to have some paintings hanging there saying that the Prime Minister or the king were complete fools, that these paintings were taken off, but they are still, the Swedish Institute that works for relations with the foreign countries has distributed some, some terribly critical films about Sweden, about its system of government. So in this sense, but on the other, the other side is also that when culture is left on its own, you can also say that maybe they think that culture has no importance, you can leave these artists do whatever they do, because it doesn't mean a thing, because you have control, you have here control of the main thing by which you inform people, and that's television. And that's those two channels on television. There is a statistic saying that the information gathered by people about everyday life, about everything, it's 60 percent from television. You know what television is, television is just a thin, thin, thin image. I mean compared to radio that gives much more compared, compared to newspapers. You look at these people telling about something on television, they give you images and a few, a few scattered informations, and they have control of that and they're keeping it, and that's important.

Studs Terkel We're talking now about Sweden. I, a citizen of the United States, am talking to you, Jorn Donner, co-director of the Svenska filminstitutet, Swedish Film Institute. You are a Finn. So if I ask you, a Finn, who lives three days a week in Helsinki, who travels around the world, your thoughts about a Finn living in Sweden, what would you say?

Jorn Donner I once wrote that it's easier to be a Negro than a Finn. In Sweden.

Studs Terkel In Sweden.

Jorn Donner In Sweden. First of all, there are less Negroes than Finns. There are only a couple of thousands, I would say, and secondly there are, there are more than 400,000 Finns working here, that's about 5 percent of the city's population. And also besides that there are lots of Finns who have became Swedish citizens. So there must be some up to 10 percent. And I use this expression that when you have a soup, and there is no salt in the soup, it tastes awful. Then you put a little salt in the soup, and then it's just okay, but then you put too much salt in the soup, it tastes awful again. And much more awful. And now there are probably, if the Finns are the salt, there's too much salt in the soup, and there are very nationalistic reactions against the Finns.

Studs Terkel What do you mean, the Finns are the salt in the soup? You mean the Finns are a more passionate people?

Jorn Donner No, but they are not getting assimilated. The Negroes aren't, either, but you know they have a, Swedes have much more sympathy because they think that all Negroes who have come here are some sort of demonstrators against the Vietnam War, whereas some have come for other reasons. I mean, the Swedes have sentimental attitudes, that I think that somebody is good because he's Black. Maybe sometime they thought that somebody was good because he was white or something, but I don't think that this attitude is healthier. It's like not being able to say anything nasty about the Jew because Hitler killed 10 million of them. And that's not really good. And so it's the same with Negroes and other -- and then also that's when somebody comes here who speaks English by birth or by education, then it's easier because if somebody comes here and speaks Finnish, nobody understands Finnish, but almost everybody understands

Studs Terkel Well, why would there be this antipathy toward Finnish people? There are a number of foreign workers, a half million in Sweden, some are Finns, some are Yugoslavs, some are Greeks, we'll come back to the other groups too, but the Finn. Why this antipathy toward the Finn?

Jorn Donner Well, there are more of the Finns than of any other nationality. There are about 50 percent of the foreign workforce. But then they also come from a society that is really near Sweden, not only geographically but also by history and laws and so on. We have heard about the same laws as the Swedes, because we were part of Sweden, and they have a sort of paternalistic godfather attitude to Finland still. Because they think that really it was lost, it was the Finnish provinces of Sweden and all that shit. I mean, that is idiotic.

Studs Terkel Well, come back to Fin-- the Finnish attitude toward -- I know we can't generalize, I realize that. The Finnish culture is wholly different than the Swedish culture. The language is obviously wholly different base and

Jorn Donner Yeah, but you see, even if language is completely different to the Finnish being a [Uralic?] language from Asia, from some far out, and Swedish being a Western European language, I think the other things matter very much more. The common things: laws, schools, the way society was built up. The same climate, almost, it's a little colder in Finland, but and so on and so forth. So through Sweden, Finnish people always sort of travelled to Sweden, to Europe, and I mean it was the [center?], and it still remains. We also have a complex, we're Finns.

Studs Terkel What's your

Jorn Donner Well, that's this love/hate complex that I mentioned, because we, we Sweden is more developed than we are, we are desperately trying to find faults with Sweden. Whereas of course there are much more faults with Finland, but that's not, that's not the aim of

Studs Terkel I'm going to ask you in a moment about Jorn Donner himself, you, how you came to think the way you do, and be the way you do, background. Let's come back to your thoughts about Sweden and the rest of the world and you the outsider/insider, you're both, aren't

Jorn Donner Yeah, yeah, you see I've been, I've been probably 357 times to Sweden and I have left Sweden 356 times, what the 357 time will come this afternoon.

Studs Terkel In about an hour from now.

Jorn Donner When I'm back to Finland again. So, so I always say that when I leave Sweden, I feel very happy, and when I leave Finland, I'm sort of eternally leaving something because I'm very disloyal. I'm not loyal to anything because I find that my aim as a writer, because I write nonfiction mostly, is to be disloyal, to try to find not only faults, but see through people and so on and try to analyze them.

Studs Terkel As a, as a creative spirit, as a writer, as a man involved with films and the arts, you feel no matter where you are, you will question, you will be the dissenter.

Jorn Donner I hope so, I am able to do it. I feel it's my duty to do it. I don't know if it's my duty. I was born to it in a way. I mean as a person I was born to it, to criticize, and I'm so, I'm so fed up with cliches about left and right and so on and so forth, because seeing reality is more important than fitting yourself into any sort of [Finnish?], of leftish or rightish color, except that you have to have a moral behind a sort of, sort of concern about people. And I think that's the most important.

Studs Terkel I'm going to turn this tape, because you said something just now that interests me very much, the matter of labels, left and right ideologies and perhaps in Sweden where we are at this moment, may be a kind of crucible in which these labels go by the boards and we talk about the human condition perhaps at this movement, and George Orwell and there's a Kafka touch here too as we're talking now. [pause in recording] We're talking about Sweden, the middle way, and here it is that suddenly things become not black and white but gray perhaps, the ditch you talked about in which labels that we live by, right, left, suddenly become irrelevant, don't they?

Jorn Donner It's very strange, yes, because at the same time as they become irrelevant, there are more and more people, young people, who become, become prisoners of a [dogma?]. There are

Studs Terkel Prisoners of a what?

Jorn Donner Of a sort of preconceived idea, about society, about politics and so on. Especially among the young generation. I don't know, maybe it's because they are provincial. They don't know what happens in the world as I said, so they feel, they feel very much stuck to a preconceived idea. So if you ask somebody about something, you ask them what they think about I wouldn't say social welfare and so on, you know when they have given their answer, you know their reaction to everything, because it is a sort of chain reaction. I mean, you have to react -- you start there and you go on from there and then you finish by, by reacting to everything, you know in a certain way. There are no surprises.

Studs Terkel What is that -- what is that way? You spoke of the young Swedes reacting, I sense in you, too, possibly. Is it a world-weariness, for want of a better word? Would that be it?

Jorn Donner I don't know what it is. I think it's also that we live in Sweden or the Swedes live in Sweden in a very sort of secular country. I don't care about religion myself very much, but people, you maybe know that in Sweden people have migrated in the last 20 years more than most people in the world. Because the inner immigration to towns, to cities, from the countryside has been greater than anywhere else. So not

Studs Terkel -- Is that true, by

Jorn Donner the Yeah,

Studs Terkel You mean the nomadic quality of Swedes is

Jorn Donner -- No, no, it's not a nomadic quality, quality because it's forced.

Studs Terkel You mean the end of a rural society

Jorn Donner Yeah, yeah, it's, and it's a sort of big jump from the end of rural society to post-industrial society. There's been by force. They are lost their chances to work there and so on, and there has come that I must admit a very strong reaction against it, but they have also lost their roots very much. They also lost religion very much, and that's maybe for instance one of the explanations why there was such a lot of mourning for the, for the, and sorrow about the old king that died. It wasn't that they venerated the king as such, but he was terribly old and he represented one of the institutions that that had a sort of stability.

Studs Terkel Is it also perhaps explain what is known as the Green Wave, the reaction against social democracy and Olof Palme by the sheep farmer up north, a longing simplistic for a pastoral, more simple time?

Jorn Donner Yeah, I think so. I think it all belongs together. Also a sort of, a sort of revival of nationalistic patterns. You know, art from the turn of the century of a nationalist, certain nationalist character has suddenly become a vogue, and they speak about eating Swedish food and so on. They all are, they are all part of the same reaction back towards something lost, and in a way of all these reforms I think they lost something. I can pinpoint it

Studs Terkel Go ahead.

Jorn Donner But I said, I already said that it has something with roots.

Studs Terkel You're not implying you can go back to what was.

Jorn Donner No

Studs Terkel You can't go home again, said Thomas

Jorn Donner No, but there's also the illusion that people leaving, that you're going to go back to farming, whereas they can't go back to farming because it wouldn't go back to an economy which is without money, you would just sell your milk on the marketplace and get some cigarettes in exchange. But it doesn't happen that way, because they are all prisoners whatever you want of high living standards and dependent on what their export economy is doing and what their sophisticate -- sophisticated machinery is doing. So if you go back to the countryside you are sort of a, you are, you want to have all the advantages of technologically very developed

Studs Terkel -- You still want indoor plumbing.

Jorn Donner Yeah, yeah, you want indoor plumbing, you want deep freezers and everything. And I think you can't, I think you cannot take both. Because of course in many ways this is also has to be remembered a very, very efficient society in a sense, because they have an engineer, they don't have very much imagination, but they are very good engineers, and as you know between -- the difference between an engineer and an inventor is that an engineer, a social engineer also, wants to improve what is, but doesn't want to turn things upside down. That's for the inventors to do. That's why there are cars. Look, about us, this, they look themselves. They are well, well, well-made.

Studs Terkel Yeah, but I want to come back to

Jorn Donner They are like trucks. The fastest trucks in the world.

Studs Terkel You, you, you Jorn Donner, you're looking for astonishment. You say there's little astonishment in this society. Astonishment at the expense -- what do you mean when you say you're looking for astonishment or to turn things upside down?

Jorn Donner Adventure. There is always a quality of adventure in life, but it's also difficult if I would be a politician and a member of Parliament, I would -- I couldn't introduce a bill saying that in the Parliament saying that this is the adventure bill.

Studs Terkel Once upon a time there was great, there was great adventure on the part of a few. Tremendous adventure. Let's take Sweden. We know there's tremendous -- whether it's the novels of Wilhelm Moberg or Johanssen, Bo Johanssen, the horrendous life of Swedish farmers and peasants. You're not implying you go back to that.

Jorn Donner No, no, not at all. Not at all. But they still lost adventure. I don't know how they lost it. It is so difficult to know what should be instituted. You [can't?] institute adventure, by the way. You can be just, you can be adventurous as a human being, and maybe it's all that drabness is part of the whole picture, because they are drab and efficient and longing for security, they have found security, maybe they don't want anything else, because security for instance what was the big slogan during the last elections, that every, every bloody party was, was speaking about security. The slogans of the parties were exactly

Studs Terkel They were also when you say the slogans of all the parties. Someone said to me, Jan-Erik Larsen, a young reporter of the South Swedish paper. Jan-Erik was saying it didn't matter where they -- Palme won or lost. There's be little change would occur.

Jorn Donner There wouldn't be much change. There would maybe be in the, in so in culture, certain cultural policies and so on. But you see the, the state budget for instance and this increase of the public sector of the economy, that happens all the time, and maybe 2 percent of the budget. That's of course quite a lot of money would be changed to -- I don't know how under certain things, but otherwise nothing. Nothing, nothing.

Studs Terkel We're talking now about Sweden domestically, internally. A while back you were speaking of -- we know the world knows that Olof Palme condemned, of all the Western leaders, he was the most eloquent in his condemnation of Nixon's Vietnamese adventure. You're not disagreeing with that.

Jorn Donner No, I'm, I'm disagreeing completely with that, because 1967 when Erlander was still prime minister, when the Parliament was member of the Swedish government, the Swedish government represented by the Prime Minister tried to threaten the organizers of the so-called Bertrand Russell Vietnam Freedom Now to come to Stockholm, because they didn't want to offend the United States. It was the public opinion in Sweden, the newspapers, television, private people, writers, journalists who turned the government to suddenly start condemning the American Vietnam War. It wasn't at all, they have no, not at all -- they can't be praised for anything in this respect. They were just op-- it was just an opportunistic reaction.

Studs Terkel So now how I

Jorn Donner -- I don't praise them at all

Studs Terkel So you're implying that Erlander, the predecessor of Palme and Palme himself were not that heroic.

Jorn Donner No, there were people before, because the Vietnam adventure, the Vietnam War isn't only Nixon's war, it was also Kennedy's war, and not a word about Kennedy. He was the big hero actually.

Studs Terkel Expand on that

Jorn Donner And Johnson, Johnson wasn't anymore. But then he wasn't a very big hero in the United States either. But the Kennedy was at the time and up to 1968 nothing, nothing, really from the official part. I mean, there were as many private people, I mean also members of the government circles who condemned these things and did a lot. But the official government reaction didn't come before late.

Studs Terkel This is interesting, what you're saying here. I other words the Erlander/Palme government did not condemn, nor do the day condemn the cold war policies of Kennedy.

Jorn Donner No. Not at all. Bay of Pigs as far as I remember, the Cuban, Cuban adventure. Lots of other things. You also have to remember that before Palme, I mean Palme wasn't Prime Minister, but Erlander was. In the 1950s, with the, even if Sweden wasn't a member of the of the Atlantic community or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it was still very decidedly neutralist on a Western basis, on the basis of containment of communism and so on. Even if it had a very clever foreign policy and very, very clever and very good foreign ministers.

Studs Terkel This is not unwell then, that leads to a rather delicate question you can't discuss, while I'm here, during this week, two weeks in Sweden, a scandal broke. Obviously you can't comment, none of us know the exact facts, but five journalists of a radical left paper were arrested because they exposed something that was unknown to most Swedish people.

Jorn Donner Yeah, they exposed something that is akin to the American CIA or at least part of the CIA operations. First of all, I would say that it's sort of sign of the times that these security people were so sloppy that they let themselves be photographed in the streets and in restaurants by these

Studs Terkel By these left-wing guys.

Jorn Donner Yeah, by this left -- among them, by the way, was a Frenchmen too, so there was, I mean some countries would probably have killed -- executed him before long. But anyway, I think that that the government thinks that these security services are so important that nobody should do anything about them. I think it was a healthy sign that these young guys exposed the whole operation. But as -- but what does it lead to? It just leads to a reorganization of the same bloody thing.

Studs Terkel Let me explain Palme's position in fairness, in the other day, and he was saying Sweden is independent of the two superpowers, U.S., U.S.S.R., one has CIA, one has KGB or whatever the secret police is of the Soviets, and he says, "For us to maintain our independence, we need some intelligence, too." And this was his expert -- a part, partial rationalization.

Jorn Donner I don't think that that Sweden needs that sort of intelligence nor that much, because I was told by people who are experts on spying, I'm not, that with complicated radar and other detection systems you can, you can check your, your, the air around your country, you can, you can read military journal journals and do a lot of military evaluation of the different forces and so on. I don't think you need all that, all that crap about people disguised in black birds and going around to Arab legations or to Israel delegations or exchanging small, small microfilms in their letterboxes.

Studs Terkel I should point out that one of the allegations, and this is strictly an allegation of course, is that it is alleged, alleged by "Folket i bild", which is the left-wing paper that exposed the existence of the international -- of the information branch which is the secret police of Sweden, that they were helping the Israeli intelligence raid Egyptian delegation, and the Swedish government's furious because Arab governments find this out might take away the oil, and Sweden of course depends 80 percent for its fuel upon oil. That's one of the allegations, but this is all beside the point. The big thing is, not beside the point, but the big thing is you're talking about what is ostensibly a very open society. At least, I find it so. There's a great deal of politeness and openness and tolerance for other peoples' opinions. I find this so, too. Within this framework, you find a country that is not powerful and [kind of superpowers?], having almost to adjust to the tensions of the world. Isn't this what it amounts to in a sense> And thus take on some of the illness.

Jorn Donner But at the same time you have to remember that there is an openness about this society that is quite admirable. I think there are also repressive forces in different, different segments of the society. For instance, the school system has lately been changed into a wat that at least for me it feels, I feel that it's being more repressive. Also the university system, because when you, when you instigate national schooling systems that are completely uniform as they have done and lots of other things, they're up, there's very little sort of living space for different opinions. And when we come back to this political question of the, that they have to adjust, I don't know if they have to. They have done it on their own free will. They have adjusted to the world. But to who would like to occupy Sweden, that's the $64 question. I would like to know, maybe Finland, but to ours armed forces are a little too weak for that, and that the Swedes know, I can tell them that by registered letter.

Studs Terkel You know, there's a question, Jorn, that is hanging of the Erlander/Palme administration did not object to U.S.'s adventures in Vietnam, [unintelligible], but then you said public opinion made them. How would you explain, and we come to the fact why in Sweden was public opinion this strong against the barbaric actions?

Jorn Donner People, like people like the writer [Sara Leidman?] and some other people, individuals who express their opinion in the leading liberal press, you have to remember that the liberal press in these countries has much more influence than may be in the United States. There is a "New York Times" in the States, but it's when you go to the Midwest and you ask for it, they don't know the even the name of the paper in some places. But here the leading press is liberal, and has been, has been like the biggest morning paper in the country, has been, has been advocating this criticism for a very long time. And writers still, and opinion-makers, radio, television still have some influence on the opinion.

Studs Terkel So you, Jorn Donner, living in Sweden four days a week, codirector of the institute that is obviously has tremendous impact in filmmaking and various arts in Sweden, go back to Finland. Your thoughts now as a Finn. How -- because you said earlier it's a love/hate relationship you feel. As a Finn. You know, I talked to a -- the other day I talked to a Finnish girl who works, she works as a nurse and as a sitter, and she spoke of a certain prejudice. At the same time, she puts down her own people, too. [Mumbles]

Jorn Donner I don't put down anybody, but of course I could make another five hours about the Finns, even very bad things. Why somebody who comes to work to Sweden from a foreign country mostly feels better here than in his own country, it is of course the obvious reason that there is more margin for not only a money margin, but an action margin too, but mostly a money margin, that they have a, that they, that they live better.

Studs Terkel Well, most people, don't they, when they leave a certain society where there's [relative?] poverty or less chance, go to other cities for a better life, other countries, that's more or less natural,

Jorn Donner Yes, I think so. And really Sweden gives that that freedom. Does, and people can develop up to their abilities, and Sweden as we spoke earlier, it's an, it's an open country in many ways. And maybe it's also that openness that creates some problems, and that some of the problems which we have mentioned here.

Studs Terkel We're talking about paradox now, aren't we? Basically the work and my mind continually talking to Olof Palme, to others is paradox. There's a paradox involved here. Relatively open society more than other societies, relatively less repressive. At the same time, you're speaking of a certain grayness that occurs and a lack of us, must this be the case? I talk to now a creative spirit, Jorn Donner, or is there some other way?

Jorn Donner I think it must be like that. Because when you develop a high standard of living in the material sense, you have to streamline the project. You have to have foodstuffs, supermarkets, things, things that people need for their daily bread sort of. That must be very much rationalized, streamlined, made in a certain conform way. And also how people live and work and so one has to be conform, and you get margin for individual freedom. I would say that the individual freedom is very big. That's another thing that the social freedoms are maybe not so big, because of course because the country, the society, the government demands you to give away bigger part of your income to what they decide should be done. You have a certain margin and you can use that, but the rest is publicly controlled and within the wall of your home you can do whatever orgies you want, but probably to sort of sort of symbolically speaking. You can't do it on the street.

Studs Terkel So we come to Jorn Donner. What would you see, if there were such a thing as an ideal society. What would you -- what -- suppose you were the prime minister of Sweden. What are the things you would do?

Jorn Donner I would probably emigrate, because I wouldn't like to be prime minister of the happiest country in the world.

Studs Terkel So we're talking about the happiest country in the world, aren't we, in a sense?

Jorn Donner Yes, we are. And that's why I'm leaving.

Studs Terkel You're laughing as you're leaving. You know, the phrase is "exit laughing."

Jorn Donner Yes. Because you know it depends on what people ask for. I'm not asking for happiness. I'm asking for a full day of work. I'm asking for a, for satisfaction in my work. In my, in my, in my life. And that's not the same thing, because I have like other people living in this country, I have the minimum I need of food or shelter and so on, but the rest is open.

Studs Terkel This is funny what you're saying. You ask for satisfaction in your work, fulfillment in your life and your work. This is precisely what I'm told by various Swedish bureaucrats and people involved, including Palme himself, that's a, in Sweden of all Western countries at the moment [that is?] is looking at seems to me for a redefinition of work. They're challenging the assembly-line life of people. you know, directly,

Jorn Donner Yeah, they are doing somethings in that respect, that I know, but I'm not sure that the assembly line or the changing of the work itself does change society. I mean, it changes some as some aspects of monopoly in society, but it doesn't solve the problem, because the problem is maybe elsewhere. It's, it's not, for instance when Volowater, the company that has done a lot about these assembly lines and so on, found out that when people were leaving the company, they -- about 70, from 60 to 70 percent of the reasons for leaving the company were outside the company. Had nothing to do with the assembly line, had to do with things like living in ghettos or immigrants or living in a surrounding where shops were very distant and when there was that and that lacking, I mean they didn't feel at ease. It wasn't the work. So it's only -- you cannot only change the work and say that people should work in a different make or more collective or more free when you have the change society in that sense then, not build that type of society.

Studs Terkel What society would you like? The last question, because you're gonna catch a plane for Helsinki, and I've got to go see Bo Widerberg, the director whom both of us admire, each in his own way. What society would you like to live in? What kind? Delineate the society you'd like to live in as we say goodbye.

Jorn Donner Oh, that's difficult. I don't know. I'm living in two societies just now, the Finnish and the Swedish, and I'm in a way I'm content that I'm able to live in two societies, because they are different. I like the difference, and I can tell you, I can generally speaking because I speak as a person, like I said that I wouldn't like to live in one place all my life. But that's my opinion. There are lots of other people who want to face the same street all their life and face the same things. I'm not the type.

Studs Terkel I was just thinking, as I leave you now and you've been very gracious with your time and your hospitality, Jorn Donner, codirector of the Svenska filminstituten. Institutet. I'm thinking never have I come, or had an experience as I have in Sweden in which more people who are literate are talking about not about one another, about different opinions, and seeming politeness, seeming grace, but such aggression I have never quite found. That's part of it, too, isn't it? The paradox we're talking about.

Jorn Donner Yeah. I think so.

Studs Terkel Thank you. What's the word? What's a Finnish word? Now, the Swedish word, "tok" for thank you. Goodbye is what in Swedish?

Jorn Donner [Swedish].

Studs Terkel What about Finnish?

Jorn Donner There is no [Swedish, then Finnish], that means "Au revoir."

Studs Terkel [Finnish].

Jorn Donner

Studs Terkel

Jorn Donner Svenska filminstitutet, I look through the window on this rather balmy day in Stockholm, I see housing complexes in green grass, I'm seated next to the co-director, Jorn Donner, who is a Finn, who is a very fascinating man himself. And to me, you interest me, Jorn, in your view of Sweden, this very -- more and more I find this very singular country, society in this moment. But first about this place where we are, it's a huge place. Svenska filminstitutet, you and Harry Schein are the co-directors of it. He's sort of a chairman of the board, so he's only half-time, and what you are looking out on in fact is an old exercise area, where the Swedish army was exercising, the Stockholm army at least. So I don't know how they get the permission to build a house here, but they got it, and -- You call that the Swedish Pentagon. The house next door to us is the Swedish Pentagon, the Defense Department, and when this house was built, they didn't allow us, or I wasn't here then, to have windows facing the Pentagon. So instead, Mr. Schein put up an eye outside the house just to look at the Pentagon. So there it is, and but about this hugeness or not so, it's not so huge, but, but it has everything, studio, stream studios and offices and university departments for film, theater, schooling and ballet and whatever. What is the relationship of this institute with Swedish filmmaking? Say, the works of Bo Widerberg or the works of Ingmar Bergman? What's the connection? The connection is that once they had a, once they had an entertainment tax in this country, and then they abolished the entertainment tax and instead some percentage, that's 10 percent of the gross of all cinemas in the country is given to a foundation, and that's the foundation behind, it's the Swedish film institute. So this money is used for production purposes, [most of it?], so when Widerberg makes a film -- Let's say like "Elvira Madigan" for the moment. No, that's an old film. But anyway, anyway he gets support from the Institute or when Bergman does "Cry and Whisper [sic - "Cries and Whispers"," "Whisper and Cry", his last film which was shown in the state, that was, we were coproducers of the film first of all. So, say, "Cries and Whispers" of Bergman, so that is also subsidized by the government of Sweden? Yeah, yeah, not the government directly, because this foundation is not a state thing. It's a private foundation, but of course it's controlled by the government in a way. I don't know which way. But we see, in other words we'll come to you in a moment and your ironic commentary on Sweden as a Finn. We're living in -- you are living at this moment four days a week in Stockholm, then you go back to Helsinki, where you have a television program where you work, you travel about. But we live -- Sweden. That this moment is -- might be described as a mixed economy. Ninety-five percent private enterprise, and five percent public. A mixed enterprise, but very much state control of how money is being given to the people. You know, Sweden has the highest, highest percentage of a sort of public income. The state transfers via high taxes and then so on they control more than half of the gross national product. Which means that, that they don't need, I think they don't need socialized and a socialist economy because they have socialized incomes. You see what I mean. Socializing the income means redistributing the income in a different way. So they haven't touched on capital. They haven't touched on the property, they have touched on the income, and of course income is in a way much more important than the capital. You say this is far from a socialist government. Yeah, I don't know what a socialist government is in fact, but I wouldn't consider the Swedish government very socialist, it's just the government of a people who favor a mixed economy and the social benefits and Social Security, and as that it's good, but it's, it doesn't differ so much from any government who tries to alleviate the [posit?] of the poor or the sick or the handicapped and so. But there is medical care that is -- Yeah, everything like that. I mean, in that respect it differs very much, but let's say compared to my country, to Finland, Finland is much poorer than Sweden but it has instituted about the same reforms, without having a socialist government, so I don't know what the socialists in Sweden stand for, except for this. Except for what? Except for this redistribution of income, but otherwise I don't know. I mean, they are liberal people, and they are no fascists. They are very liberal in culture. They are not repressive, but sometimes they even are oppressive. Now we come to the Orwellian nature of Sweden. We come to a country that is not a superpower, that is between two superpowers, U.S. and U.S.S.R. and walks a tightrope as Olof Palme obviously does. We come to you, the observer. You've written a book on Sweden that I hope will be published in the States one day. Your thoughts, you're a Finn, and you're ironic, you're detached, at the same time you're quite involved, too. You, Jorn Donner, how you came to Sweden, your thoughts about a Swedish society and Swedish people. Well, see I have a sort of 25-year love/hate relationship with Sweden because I came here first time 1940, '49 when I was 16-year-old, and I was really astonished because I came from a country that had been through a war four years earlier and I was as I said 16 years, and I found out -- Sweden was neutral. Sweden was neutral and Sweden hasn't had any war since 1809, and you looked at the houses and they were well-painted and everything was in order and everybody was kept in order and so on, and everybody sort of reacted according to a certain schedule, and that they still do by the way. So but then it's a, you see a country that is highly developed and has a high standard of living. I think it develops a certain conformist traits. I mean, it's like a certain segment of the state, United States with suburban population of course probably white or whatever they are who are, so the same here, they eat the same porridge, they drink the same schnapps and so on and they use the same toilet paper and they're [lop?] a conformist and that is very alarming, even if they say that they are very free. I'm a little worried. I was more worried when I made those trips for the books. For this book. Let's talk about your worries, we'll talk about the books in a moment. What are your worries about Sweden? My worry is that that more and more people are depending on the public, on the on the public sector of the economy of the government. I mean, there are more and more people who are employed by government agencies and so on, and climbing, climbing the ladder of success or of a promotion when you are at the same time employed by the state means in this country a danger that you have to have conformist opinions [to? too?] and be very silent. Somebody put it this way, this was some friend of mine who is a professor in international politics that he doesn't know of anybody being so silent as the ones who are climbing the ladder of the bureaucratic here. Tell me, Jorn, how does it differ from say a private enterprise society which climbing takes place too in a climate of silence? Yeah, but they don't, they don't claim the same silence, because private enterprise doesn't, couldn't care less about your private opinions as long as you do your work. But in the sec-- in when you are working in schooling, in education and so on, the people who are behind that, they want to have your loyalty. Who told you that that private enterprise economies don't care about the thoughts of people say working in Oh, no, yeah, but in general I mean, I know about Swedish enterprise, maybe in the United States I don't know, but in Sweden at least, I mean in the Volvo car factories nobody cares if you are communist or a right-wing as long as you do your work. But the technical process is difficult -- different. Coming to you, the observer of the Swedish scene, I myself was taken with the politeness, the amenities, the grace, I find around and about and during our lunch, during which you are very gracious host, you were saying things are not what they seem. Yeah, I see then when you go to a shop or something, you meet people they are very deferential and very polite. That's a general trait. And they are also at the same time very reserved. I feel that the Swedish people don't have enough means of getting their aggressions done with. I mean, they are, they are behind your back they are saying a lot of things, but they don't dare to offend other people directly. They should hate each other a little more, more. They are like boxers who are not, who are in the ring but they are not touching each other. So it's, it's, it's not -- I think it's, it's sick. And there is, there is a lot of, lot of repressed aggressions in this country. How does that express itself, the repressed aggressions? How does it manifest itself? Examples. No, in practical life it just expresses itself in a sort of sourness. People are sour. They are, I don't know, I mean, lots of foreign people like I and others have been speaking about the discontent of this culture, and really after writing those 300 pages I don't know exactly where that discontent lies, probably it lies in the fact that they have reached a sort of material well-being as a level that is quite high. But they don't know what to do after that. I mean, it's an eternal question. They are miles, they are ages from most people in the world today. Extend this a little further, Jorn, Mr. Donner, further. You as a Finn, observing the Swedes at this moment in this mixed economy, social democratically controlled at the moment though there's a dead heat in Parliament. [You know?] seen, maybe it's something that comes automatically with a country of equal well-being, almost equal well-being so we will have Sweden as the first country reaching the Orwellian heights, because the United States with a higher income maybe per capita or however you want to count it, is so unequal in many ways. But Sweden is equalized, and so -- Aside from the three percent or so. But it will reach a sort of nightmare quality, because people, how do people live here, you know, the work hours are shorter and shorter so they will work only something like 35 and below or two and so on, and then they go back to those bloody apartments they have a look at this, this monopolized television channels and this monopolized radio and that and then they go back to work. It's a very drab life. But how would that compare -- I know I'm from the United States and we have many channels, but they're commercials on these channels aside from educational television, you see. There are no commercial channels on the two, the two Swedish -- Yeah, but you see the people, there is, there is an ideology in Sweden that is stronger than socialism or liberalism or whatever. It's the belief that everybody in society wants to be educated, wants to all the time get education and more learning and so on and so on, whereas I think, but maybe I'm very reactionary, that I think that there are always a certain, certain people who don't want to have all that crap, education because maybe I want it, but sometimes I want to read a crime story. If I don't get the crime story, I do something else. There is always a longing for escapism, for entertainment, for difference, for a change. And what I feel here is that they have a sort of -- there is a drabness and also that that Sweden is very Swedish, very astonishing statement, by the way. How is it Swedish? What is Swedish? When Sweden is very, very Swedish it means also that I'm always laughing at their engagement in things internationally in the world and so on, in Vietnam or South Africa. I think it's wonderful that they try to engage themselves, but they don't have the slightest understanding of what happens in the world. They think that they can, they can they can be moral judges of the world. You know, that it's not only that they are saying that it's good to say to the big powers that, "Shut up and so on," but they don't say it, put it that way, they say that "We have a moral judgment on you. We think that you are, you are morally inferior and so on," because they have a very high estimation, estimate of their own moral quality. Are you're talking about a certain, you feel a certain complacency and smugness is here, and the Swedish people in contrast to other peoples that you're implying. Look, for instance, you have been in the United Nations you have this disarmament commissions and so on, and the Swedes have a very prominent, permanent place there, but Sweden has, it's one of the strongest armed countries in the world. At the same time as they're speaking about the world disarmament. I put it to you this way. Olof Palme, the prime minister of Sweden, said, "Yes, Sweden is, has the fourth biggest expenditure," and you, yourself Jorn Donner the other night on television, the following when I was on, you were saying that isn't it remarkable no one questioned Swedish defense expenditures, but Palme says "Since we are not part of either superpower structure, U.S. or U.S.S.R. or Chinese, we must maintain our independence unfortunately in this horrendous world with high defense But since 19-- 1809, Swedish independence has never been questioned in that way. They were in, they were in trouble during the Second World War with the Germans, you know, that when the Germans asked them to transfer soldiers to the north. What did they do? They conceded. Yes. And they -- Mr. Hermansson, the Communist MP, by the way in Sweden, has said exactly the same thing, and he said he observed those things, too. Yeah. And you see, they concede -- their independence were save, saved and when there were very, very, very activist elements in Sweden in 1939, when Finland was attacked by the Russians. You mean activist, anti-fascist -- No, activist for Swedish active participation, the Finnish winter war, 1939. They were very realistic in Sweden. They said, "Let's help Finland with underpants or stockings or guns or whatever, but let's not lose our neutrality. So what has saved Sweden has been good policy. Good politicians. Not one of those guns, I don't think so. It's just a sort of illusion, because if you would ask the politicians, they would -- I mean they wouldn't give that answer, but it's because the defense, it employs people and they have a unemployment problem and they have other problems and they want to develop their own electronic equipment for certain reasons, security reasons, and so forth. But not that the weapons that the guns would have said Sweden. The funny thing is as you're talking, your, your, I realize your approach is very ironic and somewhat detached, though I know you're very passionate in many things. You speak as though you were a reactionary, and I know you are a political radical. Do you see? I am, and I am not, because in Sweden you must be both a little. In certain respects even you have to be conservative in a sense. I mean, because the main line in Swedish politics is as I maybe told you like a ditch. I mean, everybody's falling into the ditch. I don't know if there is water in it, but that's the middle. So all politics are middle politics, and if you belong to the, which I don't, but there are people on the radical left, there are even people on the not so radical right, which of the Conservative Party that can criticize this society from, from very interesting starting points. So I am, I am a critic. I mean, I see my job as a writer to be a critic. And then you can't be into the ditch crawling with all those others. So this ditch we're talking about is the center. This ditch is the middle. Yeah, the Labor Party. And this ditch of political radicals of right and left you're implying. Yeah. Because there's nobody who's questioning the welfare policies nowadays. Thirty years ago when the whole policy of social reform was instituted, then there was heavy attacks against it. If you go to Parliament today and somebody say that now we have to have a dent-- reform with the dentists that the state will pay 75 percent of all dentist bills, everybody approves it, and it has been approved. Do you yourself, Jorn, disagree with the idea of social [welfare?]? No, not at all. Not at all, but it has its implications, and the implication is of course that I wouldn't say that this is the implication that is necessary, because social welfare in that sense that when you are sick or disabled that the society will take care of you, but because, because it's by nature a society of high taxation on income, there are also people who, who sort of lose their will to take initiatives, and society cannot lose those people. I don't want the society of an unbound free enterprise and so on. Not at all. Quite the reverse, but I mean there are implications when, to be faced when the public sector as I said the government indirectly employs more and more people. The danger of getting all these conformist living in a free, happy state, but then it's 1984. Well, in 1984, you're implying that 1984 has arrived in Sweden 11 years ahead of schedule. No, not yet. It will probably arrive on schedule, because you know trains also work on schedule it seem, so it can't arrive in advance, it's well planned, 1984 will arrive in 1984. Well, wait a minute though. We're talking -- this is -- the conversation -- as the audience can gather, this is a rather Orwellian conversation with Jorn Donner, who you must understand is a Finn, and we'll come to that in a moment. You were saying, don't you feel that in a free enterprise society there too there's a conformity that is as rigid as there might be in a quasi-socialist society? Yeah, that's possible. Of course, I know Eastern Europe, much of Eastern Europe, and I wouldn't be very much willing to live in Eastern Germany or in Poland or in Hungary or in Russia, because I know there is a age that differs us from those societies, and then this also should be said to those people in Sweden who think that Sweden should change into something like East and Eastern Europe, because that's hopeless. I mean, the repression, we know what happened to Czechoslovakia and so on. You have to remember also the other side of the portrait that Sweden leaves culture very much on its own. I mean free, and doesn't sense sort of -- there is a house in Stockholm called the Sweden House which has some terrible critical paintings or whatever about Sweden, about the prime minister. And I think only that when somebody wanted to have some paintings hanging there saying that the Prime Minister or the king were complete fools, that these paintings were taken off, but they are still, the Swedish Institute that works for relations with the foreign countries has distributed some, some terribly critical films about Sweden, about its system of government. So in this sense, but on the other, the other side is also that when culture is left on its own, you can also say that maybe they think that culture has no importance, you can leave these artists do whatever they do, because it doesn't mean a thing, because you have control, you have here control of the main thing by which you inform people, and that's television. And that's those two channels on television. There is a statistic saying that the information gathered by people about everyday life, about everything, it's 60 percent from television. You know what television is, television is just a thin, thin, thin image. I mean compared to radio that gives much more compared, compared to newspapers. You look at these people telling about something on television, they give you images and a few, a few scattered informations, and they have control of that and they're keeping it, and that's important. We're talking now about Sweden. I, a citizen of the United States, am talking to you, Jorn Donner, co-director of the Svenska filminstitutet, Swedish Film Institute. You are a Finn. So if I ask you, a Finn, who lives three days a week in Helsinki, who travels around the world, your thoughts about a Finn living in Sweden, what would you say? I once wrote that it's easier to be a Negro than a Finn. In Sweden. In Sweden. In Sweden. First of all, there are less Negroes than Finns. There are only a couple of thousands, I would say, and secondly there are, there are more than 400,000 Finns working here, that's about 5 percent of the city's population. And also besides that there are lots of Finns who have became Swedish citizens. So there must be some up to 10 percent. And I use this expression that when you have a soup, and there is no salt in the soup, it tastes awful. Then you put a little salt in the soup, and then it's just okay, but then you put too much salt in the soup, it tastes awful again. And much more awful. And now there are probably, if the Finns are the salt, there's too much salt in the soup, and there are very nationalistic reactions against the Finns. What do you mean, the Finns are the salt in the soup? You mean the Finns are a more passionate people? No, but they are not getting assimilated. The Negroes aren't, either, but you know they have a, Swedes have much more sympathy because they think that all Negroes who have come here are some sort of demonstrators against the Vietnam War, whereas some have come for other reasons. I mean, the Swedes have sentimental attitudes, that I think that somebody is good because he's Black. Maybe sometime they thought that somebody was good because he was white or something, but I don't think that this attitude is healthier. It's like not being able to say anything nasty about the Jew because Hitler killed 10 million of them. And that's not really good. And so it's the same with Negroes and other -- and then also that's when somebody comes here who speaks English by birth or by education, then it's easier because if somebody comes here and speaks Finnish, nobody understands Finnish, but almost everybody understands [English?]. Well, why would there be this antipathy toward Finnish people? There are a number of foreign workers, a half million in Sweden, some are Finns, some are Yugoslavs, some are Greeks, we'll come back to the other groups too, but the Finn. Why this antipathy toward the Finn? Well, there are more of the Finns than of any other nationality. There are about 50 percent of the foreign workforce. But then they also come from a society that is really near Sweden, not only geographically but also by history and laws and so on. We have heard about the same laws as the Swedes, because we were part of Sweden, and they have a sort of paternalistic godfather attitude to Finland still. Because they think that really it was lost, it was the Finnish provinces of Sweden and all that shit. I mean, that is idiotic. Well, come back to Fin-- the Finnish attitude toward -- I know we can't generalize, I realize that. The Finnish culture is wholly different than the Swedish culture. The language is obviously wholly different base and -- Yeah, but you see, even if language is completely different to the Finnish being a [Uralic?] language from Asia, from some far out, and Swedish being a Western European language, I think the other things matter very much more. The common things: laws, schools, the way society was built up. The same climate, almost, it's a little colder in Finland, but and so on and so forth. So through Sweden, Finnish people always sort of travelled to Sweden, to Europe, and I mean it was the [center?], and it still remains. We also have a complex, we're Finns. What's your complex? Well, that's this love/hate complex that I mentioned, because we, we Sweden is more developed than we are, we are desperately trying to find faults with Sweden. Whereas of course there are much more faults with Finland, but that's not, that's not the aim of this. I'm going to ask you in a moment about Jorn Donner himself, you, how you came to think the way you do, and be the way you do, background. Let's come back to your thoughts about Sweden and the rest of the world and you the outsider/insider, you're both, aren't you? Yeah, yeah, you see I've been, I've been probably 357 times to Sweden and I have left Sweden 356 times, what the 357 time will come this afternoon. In about an hour from now. When I'm back to Finland again. So, so I always say that when I leave Sweden, I feel very happy, and when I leave Finland, I'm sort of eternally leaving something because I'm very disloyal. I'm not loyal to anything because I find that my aim as a writer, because I write nonfiction mostly, is to be disloyal, to try to find not only faults, but see through people and so on and try to analyze them. As a, as a creative spirit, as a writer, as a man involved with films and the arts, you feel no matter where you are, you will question, you will be the dissenter. I hope so, I am able to do it. I feel it's my duty to do it. I don't know if it's my duty. I was born to it in a way. I mean as a person I was born to it, to criticize, and I'm so, I'm so fed up with cliches about left and right and so on and so forth, because seeing reality is more important than fitting yourself into any sort of [Finnish?], of leftish or rightish color, except that you have to have a moral behind a sort of, sort of concern about people. And I think that's the most important. I'm going to turn this tape, because you said something just now that interests me very much, the matter of labels, left and right ideologies and perhaps in Sweden where we are at this moment, may be a kind of crucible in which these labels go by the boards and we talk about the human condition perhaps at this movement, and George Orwell and there's a Kafka touch here too as we're talking now. [pause in recording] We're talking about Sweden, the middle way, and here it is that suddenly things become not black and white but gray perhaps, the ditch you talked about in which labels that we live by, right, left, suddenly become irrelevant, don't they? It's very strange, yes, because at the same time as they become irrelevant, there are more and more people, young people, who become, become prisoners of a [dogma?]. There are -- Prisoners of a what? Of a sort of preconceived idea, about society, about politics and so on. Especially among the young generation. I don't know, maybe it's because they are provincial. They don't know what happens in the world as I said, so they feel, they feel very much stuck to a preconceived idea. So if you ask somebody about something, you ask them what they think about I wouldn't say social welfare and so on, you know when they have given their answer, you know their reaction to everything, because it is a sort of chain reaction. I mean, you have to react -- you start there and you go on from there and then you finish by, by reacting to everything, you know in a certain way. There are no surprises. What is that -- what is that way? You spoke of the young Swedes reacting, I sense in you, too, possibly. Is it a world-weariness, for want of a better word? Would that be it? I don't know what it is. I think it's also that we live in Sweden or the Swedes live in Sweden in a very sort of secular country. I don't care about religion myself very much, but people, you maybe know that in Sweden people have migrated in the last 20 years more than most people in the world. Because the inner immigration to towns, to cities, from the countryside has been greater than anywhere else. So not -- Is that true, by the Yeah, You mean the nomadic quality of Swedes is -- No, no, it's not a nomadic quality, quality because it's forced. You mean the end of a rural society into Yeah, yeah, it's, and it's a sort of big jump from the end of rural society to post-industrial society. There's been by force. They are lost their chances to work there and so on, and there has come that I must admit a very strong reaction against it, but they have also lost their roots very much. They also lost religion very much, and that's maybe for instance one of the explanations why there was such a lot of mourning for the, for the, and sorrow about the old king that died. It wasn't that they venerated the king as such, but he was terribly old and he represented one of the institutions that that had a sort of stability. Is it also perhaps explain what is known as the Green Wave, the reaction against social democracy and Olof Palme by the sheep farmer up north, a longing simplistic for a pastoral, more simple time? Yeah, I think so. I think it all belongs together. Also a sort of, a sort of revival of nationalistic patterns. You know, art from the turn of the century of a nationalist, certain nationalist character has suddenly become a vogue, and they speak about eating Swedish food and so on. They all are, they are all part of the same reaction back towards something lost, and in a way of all these reforms I think they lost something. I can pinpoint it exactly. Go ahead. But I said, I already said that it has something with roots. You're not implying you can go back to what was. No You can't go home again, said Thomas -- No, but there's also the illusion that people leaving, that you're going to go back to farming, whereas they can't go back to farming because it wouldn't go back to an economy which is without money, you would just sell your milk on the marketplace and get some cigarettes in exchange. But it doesn't happen that way, because they are all prisoners whatever you want of high living standards and dependent on what their export economy is doing and what their sophisticate -- sophisticated machinery is doing. So if you go back to the countryside you are sort of a, you are, you want to have all the advantages of technologically very developed -- You still want indoor plumbing. Yeah, yeah, you want indoor plumbing, you want deep freezers and everything. And I think you can't, I think you cannot take both. Because of course in many ways this is also has to be remembered a very, very efficient society in a sense, because they have an engineer, they don't have very much imagination, but they are very good engineers, and as you know between -- the difference between an engineer and an inventor is that an engineer, a social engineer also, wants to improve what is, but doesn't want to turn things upside down. That's for the inventors to do. That's why there are cars. Look, about us, this, they look themselves. They are well, well, well-made. Yeah, but I want to come back to -- They are like trucks. The fastest trucks in the world. You, you, you Jorn Donner, you're looking for astonishment. You say there's little astonishment in this society. Astonishment at the expense -- what do you mean when you say you're looking for astonishment or to turn things upside down? Adventure. There is always a quality of adventure in life, but it's also difficult if I would be a politician and a member of Parliament, I would -- I couldn't introduce a bill saying that in the Parliament saying that this is the adventure bill. Once upon a time there was great, there was great adventure on the part of a few. Tremendous adventure. Let's take Sweden. We know there's tremendous -- whether it's the novels of Wilhelm Moberg or Johanssen, Bo Johanssen, the horrendous life of Swedish farmers and peasants. You're not implying you go back to that. No, no, not at all. Not at all. But they still lost adventure. I don't know how they lost it. It is so difficult to know what should be instituted. You [can't?] institute adventure, by the way. You can be just, you can be adventurous as a human being, and maybe it's all that drabness is part of the whole picture, because they are drab and efficient and longing for security, they have found security, maybe they don't want anything else, because security for instance what was the big slogan during the last elections, that every, every bloody party was, was speaking about security. The slogans of the parties were exactly alike. They were also when you say the slogans of all the parties. Someone said to me, Jan-Erik Larsen, a young reporter of the South Swedish paper. Jan-Erik was saying it didn't matter where they -- Palme won or lost. There's be little change would occur. There wouldn't be much change. There would maybe be in the, in so in culture, certain cultural policies and so on. But you see the, the state budget for instance and this increase of the public sector of the economy, that happens all the time, and maybe 2 percent of the budget. That's of course quite a lot of money would be changed to -- I don't know how under certain things, but otherwise nothing. Nothing, nothing. We're talking now about Sweden domestically, internally. A while back you were speaking of -- we know the world knows that Olof Palme condemned, of all the Western leaders, he was the most eloquent in his condemnation of Nixon's Vietnamese adventure. You're not disagreeing with that. No, I'm, I'm disagreeing completely with that, because 1967 when Erlander was still prime minister, when the Parliament was member of the Swedish government, the Swedish government represented by the Prime Minister tried to threaten the organizers of the so-called Bertrand Russell Vietnam Freedom Now to come to Stockholm, because they didn't want to offend the United States. It was the public opinion in Sweden, the newspapers, television, private people, writers, journalists who turned the government to suddenly start condemning the American Vietnam War. It wasn't at all, they have no, not at all -- they can't be praised for anything in this respect. They were just op-- it was just an opportunistic reaction. So now how -- I don't praise them at all for So you're implying that Erlander, the predecessor of Palme and Palme himself were not that heroic. No, there were people before, because the Vietnam adventure, the Vietnam War isn't only Nixon's war, it was also Kennedy's war, and not a word about Kennedy. He was the big hero actually. Expand on that a And Johnson, Johnson wasn't anymore. But then he wasn't a very big hero in the United States either. But the Kennedy was at the time and up to 1968 nothing, nothing, really from the official part. I mean, there were as many private people, I mean also members of the government circles who condemned these things and did a lot. But the official government reaction didn't come before late. This is interesting, what you're saying here. I other words the Erlander/Palme government did not condemn, nor do the day condemn the cold war policies of Kennedy. No. Not at all. Bay of Pigs as far as I remember, the Cuban, Cuban adventure. Lots of other things. You also have to remember that before Palme, I mean Palme wasn't Prime Minister, but Erlander was. In the 1950s, with the, even if Sweden wasn't a member of the of the Atlantic community or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it was still very decidedly neutralist on a Western basis, on the basis of containment of communism and so on. Even if it had a very clever foreign policy and very, very clever and very good foreign ministers. This is not unwell then, that leads to a rather delicate question you can't discuss, while I'm here, during this week, two weeks in Sweden, a scandal broke. Obviously you can't comment, none of us know the exact facts, but five journalists of a radical left paper were arrested because they exposed something that was unknown to most Swedish people. Yeah, they exposed something that is akin to the American CIA or at least part of the CIA operations. First of all, I would say that it's sort of sign of the times that these security people were so sloppy that they let themselves be photographed in the streets and in restaurants by these guys. By these left-wing guys. Yeah, by this left -- among them, by the way, was a Frenchmen too, so there was, I mean some countries would probably have killed -- executed him before long. But anyway, I think that that the government thinks that these security services are so important that nobody should do anything about them. I think it was a healthy sign that these young guys exposed the whole operation. But as -- but what does it lead to? It just leads to a reorganization of the same bloody thing. Let me explain Palme's position in fairness, in the other day, and he was saying Sweden is independent of the two superpowers, U.S., U.S.S.R., one has CIA, one has KGB or whatever the secret police is of the Soviets, and he says, "For us to maintain our independence, we need some intelligence, too." And this was his expert -- a part, partial rationalization. I don't think that that Sweden needs that sort of intelligence nor that much, because I was told by people who are experts on spying, I'm not, that with complicated radar and other detection systems you can, you can check your, your, the air around your country, you can, you can read military journal journals and do a lot of military evaluation of the different forces and so on. I don't think you need all that, all that crap about people disguised in black birds and going around to Arab legations or to Israel delegations or exchanging small, small microfilms in their letterboxes. I should point out that one of the allegations, and this is strictly an allegation of course, is that it is alleged, alleged by "Folket i bild", which is the left-wing paper that exposed the existence of the international -- of the information branch which is the secret police of Sweden, that they were helping the Israeli intelligence raid Egyptian delegation, and the Swedish government's furious because Arab governments find this out might take away the oil, and Sweden of course depends 80 percent for its fuel upon oil. That's one of the allegations, but this is all beside the point. The big thing is, not beside the point, but the big thing is you're talking about what is ostensibly a very open society. At least, I find it so. There's a great deal of politeness and openness and tolerance for other peoples' opinions. I find this so, too. Within this framework, you find a country that is not powerful and [kind of superpowers?], having almost to adjust to the tensions of the world. Isn't this what it amounts to in a sense> And thus take on some of the illness. But at the same time you have to remember that there is an openness about this society that is quite admirable. I think there are also repressive forces in different, different segments of the society. For instance, the school system has lately been changed into a wat that at least for me it feels, I feel that it's being more repressive. Also the university system, because when you, when you instigate national schooling systems that are completely uniform as they have done and lots of other things, they're up, there's very little sort of living space for different opinions. And when we come back to this political question of the, that they have to adjust, I don't know if they have to. They have done it on their own free will. They have adjusted to the world. But to who would like to occupy Sweden, that's the $64 question. I would like to know, maybe Finland, but to ours armed forces are a little too weak for that, and that the Swedes know, I can tell them that by registered letter. You know, there's a question, Jorn, that is hanging of the Erlander/Palme administration did not object to U.S.'s adventures in Vietnam, [unintelligible], but then you said public opinion made them. How would you explain, and we come to the fact why in Sweden was public opinion this strong against the barbaric actions? People, like people like the writer [Sara Leidman?] and some other people, individuals who express their opinion in the leading liberal press, you have to remember that the liberal press in these countries has much more influence than may be in the United States. There is a "New York Times" in the States, but it's when you go to the Midwest and you ask for it, they don't know the even the name of the paper in some places. But here the leading press is liberal, and has been, has been like the biggest morning paper in the country, has been, has been advocating this criticism for a very long time. And writers still, and opinion-makers, radio, television still have some influence on the opinion. So you, Jorn Donner, living in Sweden four days a week, codirector of the institute that is obviously has tremendous impact in filmmaking and various arts in Sweden, go back to Finland. Your thoughts now as a Finn. How -- because you said earlier it's a love/hate relationship you feel. As a Finn. You know, I talked to a -- the other day I talked to a Finnish girl who works, she works as a nurse and as a sitter, and she spoke of a certain prejudice. At the same time, she puts down her own people, too. [Mumbles] I don't put down anybody, but of course I could make another five hours about the Finns, even very bad things. Why somebody who comes to work to Sweden from a foreign country mostly feels better here than in his own country, it is of course the obvious reason that there is more margin for not only a money margin, but an action margin too, but mostly a money margin, that they have a, that they, that they live better. Well, most people, don't they, when they leave a certain society where there's [relative?] poverty or less chance, go to other cities for a better life, other countries, that's more or less natural, isn't Yes, I think so. And really Sweden gives that that freedom. Does, and people can develop up to their abilities, and Sweden as we spoke earlier, it's an, it's an open country in many ways. And maybe it's also that openness that creates some problems, and that some of the problems which we have mentioned here. We're talking about paradox now, aren't we? Basically the work and my mind continually talking to Olof Palme, to others is paradox. There's a paradox involved here. Relatively open society more than other societies, relatively less repressive. At the same time, you're speaking of a certain grayness that occurs and a lack of us, must this be the case? I talk to now a creative spirit, Jorn Donner, or is there some other way? I think it must be like that. Because when you develop a high standard of living in the material sense, you have to streamline the project. You have to have foodstuffs, supermarkets, things, things that people need for their daily bread sort of. That must be very much rationalized, streamlined, made in a certain conform way. And also how people live and work and so one has to be conform, and you get margin for individual freedom. I would say that the individual freedom is very big. That's another thing that the social freedoms are maybe not so big, because of course because the country, the society, the government demands you to give away bigger part of your income to what they decide should be done. You have a certain margin and you can use that, but the rest is publicly controlled and within the wall of your home you can do whatever orgies you want, but probably to sort of sort of symbolically speaking. You can't do it on the street. So we come to Jorn Donner. What would you see, if there were such a thing as an ideal society. What would you -- what -- suppose you were the prime minister of Sweden. What are the things you would do? I would probably emigrate, because I wouldn't like to be prime minister of the happiest country in the world. So we're talking about the happiest country in the world, aren't we, in a sense? Yes, we are. And that's why I'm leaving. You're laughing as you're leaving. You know, the phrase is "exit laughing." Yes. Because you know it depends on what people ask for. I'm not asking for happiness. I'm asking for a full day of work. I'm asking for a, for satisfaction in my work. In my, in my, in my life. And that's not the same thing, because I have like other people living in this country, I have the minimum I need of food or shelter and so on, but the rest is open. This is funny what you're saying. You ask for satisfaction in your work, fulfillment in your life and your work. This is precisely what I'm told by various Swedish bureaucrats and people involved, including Palme himself, that's a, in Sweden of all Western countries at the moment [that is?] is looking at seems to me for a redefinition of work. They're challenging the assembly-line life of people. you know, directly, you Yeah, they are doing somethings in that respect, that I know, but I'm not sure that the assembly line or the changing of the work itself does change society. I mean, it changes some as some aspects of monopoly in society, but it doesn't solve the problem, because the problem is maybe elsewhere. It's, it's not, for instance when Volowater, the company that has done a lot about these assembly lines and so on, found out that when people were leaving the company, they -- about 70, from 60 to 70 percent of the reasons for leaving the company were outside the company. Had nothing to do with the assembly line, had to do with things like living in ghettos or immigrants or living in a surrounding where shops were very distant and when there was that and that lacking, I mean they didn't feel at ease. It wasn't the work. So it's only -- you cannot only change the work and say that people should work in a different make or more collective or more free when you have the change society in that sense then, not build that type of society. What society would you like? The last question, because you're gonna catch a plane for Helsinki, and I've got to go see Bo Widerberg, the director whom both of us admire, each in his own way. What society would you like to live in? What kind? Delineate the society you'd like to live in as we say goodbye. Oh, that's difficult. I don't know. I'm living in two societies just now, the Finnish and the Swedish, and I'm in a way I'm content that I'm able to live in two societies, because they are different. I like the difference, and I can tell you, I can generally speaking because I speak as a person, like I said that I wouldn't like to live in one place all my life. But that's my opinion. There are lots of other people who want to face the same street all their life and face the same things. I'm not the type. I was just thinking, as I leave you now and you've been very gracious with your time and your hospitality, Jorn Donner, codirector of the Svenska filminstituten. Institutet. I'm thinking never have I come, or had an experience as I have in Sweden in which more people who are literate are talking about not about one another, about different opinions, and seeming politeness, seeming grace, but such aggression I have never quite found. That's part of it, too, isn't it? The paradox we're talking about. Yeah. I think so. Thank you. What's the word? What's a Finnish word? Now, the Swedish word, "tok" for thank you. Goodbye is what in Swedish? [Swedish]. [Swedish]. What about Finnish? There is no [Swedish, then Finnish], that means "Au revoir." [Finnish]. [Finnish]. [Finnish]. [Finnish]. [Finnish]. [Finnish].

Studs Terkel [Finnish], Jorn Donner, and "tok," the Swedish word for thank you. A Finnish word for thank you.

Jorn Donner

Studs Terkel

Jorn Donner Svenska filminstitutet, I look through the window on this rather balmy day in Stockholm, I see housing complexes in green grass, I'm seated next to the co-director, Jorn Donner, who is a Finn, who is a very fascinating man himself. And to me, you interest me, Jorn, in your view of Sweden, this very -- more and more I find this very singular country, society in this moment. But first about this place where we are, it's a huge place. Svenska filminstitutet, you and Harry Schein are the co-directors of it. He's sort of a chairman of the board, so he's only half-time, and what you are looking out on in fact is an old exercise area, where the Swedish army was exercising, the Stockholm army at least. So I don't know how they get the permission to build a house here, but they got it, and -- You call that the Swedish Pentagon. The house next door to us is the Swedish Pentagon, the Defense Department, and when this house was built, they didn't allow us, or I wasn't here then, to have windows facing the Pentagon. So instead, Mr. Schein put up an eye outside the house just to look at the Pentagon. So there it is, and but about this hugeness or not so, it's not so huge, but, but it has everything, studio, stream studios and offices and university departments for film, theater, schooling and ballet and whatever. What is the relationship of this institute with Swedish filmmaking? Say, the works of Bo Widerberg or the works of Ingmar Bergman? What's the connection? The connection is that once they had a, once they had an entertainment tax in this country, and then they abolished the entertainment tax and instead some percentage, that's 10 percent of the gross of all cinemas in the country is given to a foundation, and that's the foundation behind, it's the Swedish film institute. So this money is used for production purposes, [most of it?], so when Widerberg makes a film -- Let's say like "Elvira Madigan" for the moment. No, that's an old film. But anyway, anyway he gets support from the Institute or when Bergman does "Cry and Whisper [sic - "Cries and Whispers"," "Whisper and Cry", his last film which was shown in the state, that was, we were coproducers of the film first of all. So, say, "Cries and Whispers" of Bergman, so that is also subsidized by the government of Sweden? Yeah, yeah, not the government directly, because this foundation is not a state thing. It's a private foundation, but of course it's controlled by the government in a way. I don't know which way. But we see, in other words we'll come to you in a moment and your ironic commentary on Sweden as a Finn. We're living in -- you are living at this moment four days a week in Stockholm, then you go back to Helsinki, where you have a television program where you work, you travel about. But we live -- Sweden. That this moment is -- might be described as a mixed economy. Ninety-five percent private enterprise, and five percent public. A mixed enterprise, but very much state control of how money is being given to the people. You know, Sweden has the highest, highest percentage of a sort of public income. The state transfers via high taxes and then so on they control more than half of the gross national product. Which means that, that they don't need, I think they don't need socialized and a socialist economy because they have socialized incomes. You see what I mean. Socializing the income means redistributing the income in a different way. So they haven't touched on capital. They haven't touched on the property, they have touched on the income, and of course income is in a way much more important than the capital. You say this is far from a socialist government. Yeah, I don't know what a socialist government is in fact, but I wouldn't consider the Swedish government very socialist, it's just the government of a people who favor a mixed economy and the social benefits and Social Security, and as that it's good, but it's, it doesn't differ so much from any government who tries to alleviate the [posit?] of the poor or the sick or the handicapped and so. But there is medical care that is -- Yeah, everything like that. I mean, in that respect it differs very much, but let's say compared to my country, to Finland, Finland is much poorer than Sweden but it has instituted about the same reforms, without having a socialist government, so I don't know what the socialists in Sweden stand for, except for this. Except for what? Except for this redistribution of income, but otherwise I don't know. I mean, they are liberal people, and they are no fascists. They are very liberal in culture. They are not repressive, but sometimes they even are oppressive. Now we come to the Orwellian nature of Sweden. We come to a country that is not a superpower, that is between two superpowers, U.S. and U.S.S.R. and walks a tightrope as Olof Palme obviously does. We come to you, the observer. You've written a book on Sweden that I hope will be published in the States one day. Your thoughts, you're a Finn, and you're ironic, you're detached, at the same time you're quite involved, too. You, Jorn Donner, how you came to Sweden, your thoughts about a Swedish society and Swedish people. Well, see I have a sort of 25-year love/hate relationship with Sweden because I came here first time 1940, '49 when I was 16-year-old, and I was really astonished because I came from a country that had been through a war four years earlier and I was as I said 16 years, and I found out -- Sweden was neutral. Sweden was neutral and Sweden hasn't had any war since 1809, and you looked at the houses and they were well-painted and everything was in order and everybody was kept in order and so on, and everybody sort of reacted according to a certain schedule, and that they still do by the way. So but then it's a, you see a country that is highly developed and has a high standard of living. I think it develops a certain conformist traits. I mean, it's like a certain segment of the state, United States with suburban population of course probably white or whatever they are who are, so the same here, they eat the same porridge, they drink the same schnapps and so on and they use the same toilet paper and they're [lop?] a conformist and that is very alarming, even if they say that they are very free. I'm a little worried. I was more worried when I made those trips for the books. For this book. Let's talk about your worries, we'll talk about the books in a moment. What are your worries about Sweden? My worry is that that more and more people are depending on the public, on the on the public sector of the economy of the government. I mean, there are more and more people who are employed by government agencies and so on, and climbing, climbing the ladder of success or of a promotion when you are at the same time employed by the state means in this country a danger that you have to have conformist opinions [to? too?] and be very silent. Somebody put it this way, this was some friend of mine who is a professor in international politics that he doesn't know of anybody being so silent as the ones who are climbing the ladder of the bureaucratic here. Tell me, Jorn, how does it differ from say a private enterprise society which climbing takes place too in a climate of silence? Yeah, but they don't, they don't claim the same silence, because private enterprise doesn't, couldn't care less about your private opinions as long as you do your work. But in the sec-- in when you are working in schooling, in education and so on, the people who are behind that, they want to have your loyalty. Who told you that that private enterprise economies don't care about the thoughts of people say working in Oh, no, yeah, but in general I mean, I know about Swedish enterprise, maybe in the United States I don't know, but in Sweden at least, I mean in the Volvo car factories nobody cares if you are communist or a right-wing as long as you do your work. But the technical process is difficult -- different. Coming to you, the observer of the Swedish scene, I myself was taken with the politeness, the amenities, the grace, I find around and about and during our lunch, during which you are very gracious host, you were saying things are not what they seem. Yeah, I see then when you go to a shop or something, you meet people they are very deferential and very polite. That's a general trait. And they are also at the same time very reserved. I feel that the Swedish people don't have enough means of getting their aggressions done with. I mean, they are, they are behind your back they are saying a lot of things, but they don't dare to offend other people directly. They should hate each other a little more, more. They are like boxers who are not, who are in the ring but they are not touching each other. So it's, it's, it's not -- I think it's, it's sick. And there is, there is a lot of, lot of repressed aggressions in this country. How does that express itself, the repressed aggressions? How does it manifest itself? Examples. No, in practical life it just expresses itself in a sort of sourness. People are sour. They are, I don't know, I mean, lots of foreign people like I and others have been speaking about the discontent of this culture, and really after writing those 300 pages I don't know exactly where that discontent lies, probably it lies in the fact that they have reached a sort of material well-being as a level that is quite high. But they don't know what to do after that. I mean, it's an eternal question. They are miles, they are ages from most people in the world today. Extend this a little further, Jorn, Mr. Donner, further. You as a Finn, observing the Swedes at this moment in this mixed economy, social democratically controlled at the moment though there's a dead heat in Parliament. [You know?] seen, maybe it's something that comes automatically with a country of equal well-being, almost equal well-being so we will have Sweden as the first country reaching the Orwellian heights, because the United States with a higher income maybe per capita or however you want to count it, is so unequal in many ways. But Sweden is equalized, and so -- Aside from the three percent or so. But it will reach a sort of nightmare quality, because people, how do people live here, you know, the work hours are shorter and shorter so they will work only something like 35 and below or two and so on, and then they go back to those bloody apartments they have a look at this, this monopolized television channels and this monopolized radio and that and then they go back to work. It's a very drab life. But how would that compare -- I know I'm from the United States and we have many channels, but they're commercials on these channels aside from educational television, you see. There are no commercial channels on the two, the two Swedish -- Yeah, but you see the people, there is, there is an ideology in Sweden that is stronger than socialism or liberalism or whatever. It's the belief that everybody in society wants to be educated, wants to all the time get education and more learning and so on and so on, whereas I think, but maybe I'm very reactionary, that I think that there are always a certain, certain people who don't want to have all that crap, education because maybe I want it, but sometimes I want to read a crime story. If I don't get the crime story, I do something else. There is always a longing for escapism, for entertainment, for difference, for a change. And what I feel here is that they have a sort of -- there is a drabness and also that that Sweden is very Swedish, very astonishing statement, by the way. How is it Swedish? What is Swedish? When Sweden is very, very Swedish it means also that I'm always laughing at their engagement in things internationally in the world and so on, in Vietnam or South Africa. I think it's wonderful that they try to engage themselves, but they don't have the slightest understanding of what happens in the world. They think that they can, they can they can be moral judges of the world. You know, that it's not only that they are saying that it's good to say to the big powers that, "Shut up and so on," but they don't say it, put it that way, they say that "We have a moral judgment on you. We think