TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


The Saga of Margareta

Ivan Knežević



Margareta, a stern, beautiful woman in her mid-forties, manages a sprawling metalworks estate with an iron hand. She is stuck in a marriage with the Major, a timid and passive man she does not love, and she is struggling to establish a relationship with her daughter Elisabeth.

After a chance encounter, a stranger walks into Margareta’s life. Berling, a drifter and war veteran in his forties, comes to her aid during an ambush on the road. Margareta invites him to stay in a separate wing of the estate where she, to the dismay of the estate workers, houses traumatized and destitute war veterans.

Over time, the quiet, reserved Berling reveals a well-read and charming man. He endears himself to the entire household, especially the clearly smitten Elisabeth.

Berling, however, has his eye on Margareta. When turned down, he reveals a different side to his person. Manipulating the Major, Elizabeth and the other war veterans, he turns the entire household against her, culminating one winter evening when she is thrown out of her home.

Left alone, Margareta resorts to extreme measures to reclaim her estate and her dignity, but most importantly, save her daughter from the increasingly unhinged Berling.


Despite their differences, all of the shorts and features I have written have had women as protagonists. And simply thinking about what I love about The Saga of Gösta Berling kept bringing me back to the story of a strong woman cast out of society for loving and never forgetting the wrong man. By introducing a kind of a role reversal, I wrote a story of the kind I love very personally, of redemption, revenge and horrible psychological and physical violence.

The Saga of Gösta Berling became a western set in a non-specific time and place. A wide, snowy landscape, with frozen lakes and dense forests roaming with packs of wolves. Distant fires glistening in the bloodied snow.

One of my favorite films being Aliens, I kept imagining Margareta as an Ellen Ripley-like character, strong and determined, but not without moments of doubt, anger, fear and desperation. And still, with an underlying kindness which is, after all, a fatal flaw in a harsh world like this. During the course of the story, she undertakes a difficult journey to take back her home, but more importantly, save the only person she cares about: her daughter.

On the other side is Berling, an expert manipulator, sweet-talker and narcissist, who – during the course of the film – degrades more and more into a force of nature, a jaded and rejected man with a grudge of his own, only for being rejected by Margareta.

The Saga of Margareta is an epic tale of love, revenge and redemption. Violent and emotional, and as harsh as a nothern European winter.


A violent neoromantic western set in the wintry landscapes of 19th century Europe.
Ivan Knežević


production notes

written by
Ivan Knežević