Saturday, 23 March 2013
POP, January 1978: Glorious premiere of ABBA film 'The Movie': this is the music film of the year!
Sweden's capital Stockholm presents itself to its visitors in sparkling radiance. A sugary white layer of snow that covers houses and streets, and a wonderful Christmas illumination make for a perfect scenery. Candlelight and cosy sofas make sure that there's a celebratory setting inside the cinema. Everyone who is important in the Swedish entertainment industry came to this venue, among them ABBA film director Lasse Hallström and ABBA's manager Stig Anderson. But the centre of attention are obviously Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and above all Agnetha Fältskog who has just become a mother again. Together world famous as ABBA and with more than 50 million record sales in the past few years the most successful group in the world. Visibly excited for the big moment, the four Swedes are talking to the invited guests while sipping their champagne. In the cinema hall the tension is rising to boiling point. All of a sudden there's a stroke of the gong and the lights of the fluttery chandeliers are dimmed. There's a deadly silence, people can hear their own heart beating. A white, vivid flash of lightning, that reveals one of the sides of the stage. In the centre of the light beam there's Stig Anderson in front of a microphone. The ABBA mastermind greets the invited guests in a festive manner and explains the background of the movie. And then 'ABBA - The Movie' takes off!
Breathtaking scenes of the Australian landscape and kangaroos hopping around are the starting point of the movie on the big screen. What follows are 90 minutes of complete ABBA. Hunted by an interview-hungry reporter, Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny and Björn are playing and singing their way around the world, meanwhile performing all their big hits blow upon blow.
The lights have barely been turned on when a thunderous applause arises that makes the walls of the vintage theatre tremble. Moved and visibly relieved, the four headliners are taking in the standing ovations. Beaming Agnetha happily reveals to POP afterwards: "I am so happy that I was here tonight. At first, I didn't even want to come, because I was so nervous that I would rather have stayed at home. Now I would actually love to travel to Cannes to the International music fair Midem where 'The Movie' will be presented to the international music world. But the wellbeing of our little son takes precedence. That's why I'm staying at home and that's why there won't be any ABBA concert activities for the time being. By the way, our film will be released in your country in February. I'm curious if our fans in Germany and Switzerland will be just as impressed by 'The Movie' as the guests this evening."
Well, that should be beyond question.