Our journey around Sweden continues in Trollhättan, 75 kilometers northeast of Sweden’s second city Gothenburg. With a population today of nearly 50,000, Trollhättan’s roots go back to the Middle Ages. It was founded on the Göta älv, the river that flows on through Gothenburg, at the site of the Trollhättan Falls.
And it was the hydroelectric power generated by waterfall that started Trollhättan as an industrial center in the late 19th century. Then just after World War II when the Saab airplane and defence company decided to start building cars, they put the Saab Automobile factory in Trollhättan.
Saab, and Volvo in nearby Gothenburg, were Swedish success stories until the changing nature of the industry led to them being sold to America auto giants in the late 90’s, Saab to General Motors and Volvo to Ford. And when the economic downturn hit the United States in 2008, both American companies sold off their Swedish subsidiaries.
Volvo was bought up by China’s Geely, and that deal has gone relatively smoothly. Saab’s journey has been bumpier. GM sold it to the Dutch luxury car marker Spyker, whose CEO Victor Muller spent a couple of years trying to find investment from China, which GM blocked. Saab filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and in 2012 a new Swedish company called Nev bought up the estate, announcing it planned to make electrical vehicles in Sweden and sell them in China.
But even if Saab overshadows much of Trollhättan economically, the town has also become known as Trollywood, a center of the Swedish film industry.
Today the studio Film i Väst produces about half of Sweden’s feature-length films, with such highlights as Lukas Moodysson’s “Show Me Love” and Danish director Lars von Trier’s “Dogville”, which starred Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall.
Another highprofile Trollywood film was Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark”, starring the Icelandic singer Björk.
And even if in that video trailer for the movie, Björk was expressing her distaste for the music that plays at the end of a movie, that’s exactly what Trollhättan native Peter Lemarc sang about in his 1991 hit “Sången de spelar när filmen är slut”, "The Song They Play When the Film is Over".