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Critic's Pick

'The Ox'

August 28, 1994|Kevin Thomas

This flawless 1991 Swedish film of strength and calm marks the solo directorial debut of cinematographer Sven Nykvist and centers on the dire consequences facing a young tenant farmer (Stellan Skarsgard) after he slays an ox belonging to his employer in order to feed his starving family. An Oscar nominee for best foreign film, it is a spiritual odyssey, a study of the psychology of guilt and a period piece depicting hardship amid the most beautiful of settings. It is also a love story, an affirmation of the power of faith in the face of cruel injustice. Based on an actual incident, the film is set in 1867. Starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow. (Bravo Monday at 5 p.m., again at 11 p.m.)

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