A theatre project called "7:3" involving neo-Nazis in Sweden's Tidaholm Prison ends in a ghastly real-life tragedy and gives rise to one of the most intense debates in modern Swedish media history!

Lars Norén is one of Scandinavia's most frequently performed contemporary playwrights and an excellent portrayer of modern-day society. His plays are also widely performed in Europe and he is highly rated by international theatre audiences. Until recently, Norén was mainly known for his biting portrayal of the middle classes. With REHEARSALS, however, Norén takes on the underdog's perspective and enters the prison of Tidaholm to depict the inmates' perspective. His play "Person Circle 3:1", written with a similar outlook, has attracted much international attention.

In 1998, Lars Norén conducted an experiment at Tidaholm Prison, a Swedish maximum-security institution. Norén and three prisoners decided to stage a play that would mirror themselves and their own experiences. Using material gathered, Norén wrote a drama about the lives of these prisoners, in which they play themselves. During the interview process, Norén realised that two of the inmate actors were active Nazis ...
Initially, the play was meant to be performed inside the prison only, but as the scope of the project grew, it was decided that a public premiere would be held in February 1999 and a tour with the Swedish National Theatre (Riksteatern) was arranged. The play was called " 7:3 ", named after a paragraph in the criminal code that determines the level of isolation the prisoner is kept in during his incarceration. The famous Swedish actor Reine Brynolfsson also took part in "7:3".

GötaFilm's documentary team - a photographer and a sound engineer - followed the project from the start. They filmed Lars Norén and the three inmates working with the text and the preparation process all the way up to the public premiere.

Then, in May 1999, the day after their last stage performance one of the actors/inmates escaped. After a few days it was clear that he and two other men had been involved in a number of armed robberies and, ultimately in the murder of two policemen in the small Swedish town of Malexander!
After this, the editing of the film was immediately stopped out of consideration for the families of the victims and while awaiting the result of the trial. In the summer of 2000 the inmate involved in the Malexander murders was sentenced to life imprisonment. One of the other actors in the play was also sentenced to prison for receiving stolen goods. After these trials, GötaFilm decided to add some new material, update the story and re-edit the film.

The final version of the film is now finished, and ready to be shown in cinema as well as on TV. It is an extraordinary and amazing documentary. As exciting as a feature. A drama. A story with a multitude of levels and which raises a number of important questions and issues. The film examines relationships between crime, punishment and incarceration as well as the background of the three inmates: their hatred and Nazi views and how they relate to the theatre project itself. Above all, it reflects the author's method in his search for the truth. We are convinced that REHEARSALS will become one of the most talked about documentaries in Sweden for many years!

REHEARSALS is a mirror of our time, a reflection that makes us spectators of large and unpleasant questions.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michal Leszczylowski, Gunnar Källström

Produced by: Christer Nilson

Cinematography: Gunnar Källström

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2005