top of page


Bilskådaren (The Car Spotter)

average rating is 4 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Nov 13, 2022

Film Reviews
Bilskådaren (The Car Spotter)
Directed by:
Martin Sandin
Written by:
Martin Sandin
Mats Qvistrom, Ann-Sofie Kylin, Bjorn Andresen

Sitting at the side of the road spotting cars to complete a checklist might seem like a crazy hobby. But then again, we live in a nation that is about to drop millions of pounds on stickers with footballers faces on them. Bilskådaren (The Car Spotter) is a charming Swedish short about an unusual hobby, and the importance of sharing passions in a relationship.


Peo (Mats Qvistrom) has recently become a car spotter – a motor enthusiast who sits at the side of the road marking off the makes of vehicles that drive past him on a desolate highway. His wife Gitta (Ann-Sofie Kylin) accepts her husband’s new passion, but feels lonely given the hours he commits to his hobby. As Peo dreams of photographing a classic car, roguish Lennart (Bjorn Andresen) asks Gitta if she wants to grab a drink…

A warm, quirky Swedish comedy, Bilskådaren succeeds as both a funny and straightforward story about eccentricity, whilst managing to make touching observations on the importance of ensuring that love does not wither with familiarity – and that time together can itself be a grand gesture. Peo’s overcoming of his ignorance as to his wife’s loneliness, and his karmic reward emblemises the film’s theme – that some activities are better with company, and that relationships cannot be taken for granted if one stops rejuvenating love with time spent together.


The film has a soft documentary format, with an imagined filmmaker following Peo as he pursues car spotting, and also taking the opinion of his wife. It is an effective way to frame Peo and Gitta’s story – and makes clear that spending all day watching cars go by is, as Gitta quietly believes, somewhat farcical. But the director never allows this to be at the detriment of the story. Lennart’s pass at Gitta is portrayed fictionally, as is the film’s climax as the couple work together to achieve Peo’s goal.


Mats Qvistrom shines as the pitiful protagonist. Peo is a sadsack character, whose ignorance to the imminent collapse of his marriage is tragically humorous. Qvistrom’s ability to gain empathy from the audience, whilst also demonstrating an appropriate negligence of his wife to the degree that her wavering commitment is reasonable is a fine piece of work. Similarly, Ann-Sofie Kylin’s portrayal as the long-suffering Gitta is also relatable, and no viewers will be questioning her feelings of isolation. Both actors share a chemistry when on screen together, and the nature of their relationship is completely authentic.


The film is beautifully shot and produced – with warm and crisp imagery of the desolate Swedish countryside playing brilliantly into the sense of solitude that is necessary for the film’s plot to function. There is a real Scandinavian feel to the direction, and fans of the region’s cinema will feel at home.


Bilskådaren is amusing, uplifting and unexpectedly poignant Swedish short. And it certainly beats watching the traffic go by.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, World Cinema
bottom of page