Kalle and Max search for the long lost Corsican Bishop, a magical waterwheel.
The Corsican Bishop opens up to some flashbacks. The title object — which has nothing to do with church authorities, but rather is a magical, vase-sized waterwheel capable of producing rain wherever it is allowed to function — has been stolen from its original location in Sudan. Years later it is stolen again, this time from a Vatican museum, where it has been hidden away, encased inside an obelisk-shaped metal container. Then the film returns us to present day where we see twelve-year-old Kalle Magnusson (Oliver Loftéen) walking along the beautiful Swedish coast on the way to his father’s cottage. It is summer, the weather is warm and clear, but Kalle has a lot of weight on his shoulders. His father recently passed away, leaving him saddened and pretty much on his own. Luckily, his cousin Max (David Fornander) will be coming in a few days to spend some time with Kalle, which they plan to spend lounging around the cottage, fishing, and swimming. Kalle’s private reveries are dramatically interrupted when he receives a package from his late father’s attorney. Inside the package is a videotape player and a videotape recorded by his father just before his death. On the tape his father urges Kalle to complete the task he began of searching for the lost Corsican Bishop. Kalle’s father was one of the original discoverers of the Bishop and its powers, but now it has been missing for many years, feared lost or hidden somewhere. He provides Kalle with some clues about where to look, describing an important book where more information about the possible location of the Bishop is contained. Following his father’s instructions, Kalle is able to recover the book from the apartment of Dr. Zeth (Jan Malmsjö), who turns out to be another person involved in the mystery. Unfortunately, much of the information in the book is encoded.
Kalle inside his late father’s summer cottage looking out for intruders.
Max arrives, which greatly cheers up Kalle, and they start enjoying their vacation. But their fun time together is soon put on hold, as they are being aggressively pursued by two men. One of the men, Rauni Harkinen (Krister Henriksson), appears to be just a nosy neighbor asking the boys about what they have discovered. Rauni also tries to act as their “protector”, when the other man, Hasse Brandin (Åke Lindman) pursues them by boat and on land. Both men have no qualms about entering the cottage without permission. Kalle and Max become concerned about these intrusions and actively begin looking for the Bishop, with the assistance of Isabella (Jenny Lindroth), a neighbor girl their age. The two study the book for clues, and are able to decipher some of the mystery. They discover a code word, “Zanzibar”, and with the assistance of old newspaper clippings, discover that Zanzibar refers to an airplane thought to be transporting the Bishop, that crashed off the nearby coast a few years ago.
A curious neighbor looks at the encoded book Kalle recovered.
Kalle and Max go out in their boat, search for the crashed aircraft, and discover its location. Max then puts on scuba diving gear to search for the Bishop. Hasse Brandin is in hot pursuit, however, and Kalle must abandon his watch over Max so that Hasse won’t discover the location of the submerged aircraft. Later, in a panic and scared for the safety of his cousin, Kalle hurries back and begins calling out to Max. Kalle hears singing for a response that sounds like his cousin. To his relief, after climbing over a rocky promontory, Kalle discovers Max safely on the beach with the Bishop in hand. The two hurry back to the cottage, open the metal container, but are disappointed when they discover that the Corsican Bishop looks very unimpressive, similar to a small glass vase. Their doubts are soon literally washed away, as the Bishop begins to inundate the cottage with water. Things are not settled yet. Now the boys must try to return the Bishop to the Sudanese, its rightful owners, while trying to outwit the other men in pursuit of it. That goal along with some good plot twists and turns make up the remainder of the story.
Kalle and Max inside the old boat house.
The Corsican Bishop was originally a mini-series produced for the Danish, Swedish, and later the German television markets. The original six episodes were then condensed into a a film of two parts, each nearly two hours in length. A VHS version was eventually produced. Copies are rare and quite expensive. The movie is available for download, but only in a few markets. It’s too bad that a proper DVD version was never made with English dubbing or at least subtitles for a wider release. The film is beautifully shot by Dan Laustsen. Director Søren Kragh-Jacobsen has produced quite a few films in this genre, and keeps the action and story lines moving at a rapid pace. The film is well cast, with Oliver Loftéen, David Fornander, and Jenny Lindroth as the cool kids trying to do the right thing and Jan Malmsjö, Krister Henriksson, and Åke Lindman as the sinister and greedy adults in pursuit of the Corsican Bishop. So if you have the opportunity, give this film a look. It’s good family-style action/adventure suitable for older kids.
Kalle watches while Hasse Brandin fixes his overheated radiator. Kalle climbs over a rocky cliff in search of Max.
Someone is spying on Kalle.
Oliver Loftéen in his role as Kalle Magnusson wears black high top chucks throughout both parts of the film, always partially laced up and usually without socks. They are well-featured in the cinematography, provide a cool look for Oliver, and are the perfect summer footwear for a twelve-year-old kid on the adventure of his life.
Hasse Brandin reaches out and grabs the unsuspecting Kalle’s leg.
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