It really is festival season, isn’t it? The third Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival presented by Palace has begun to announce it’s 2016 program, with titles from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Kicking off in Sydney on 5 July, it will tour the country with Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth all getting a taste of the ice-cool films Scandinavia has to offer.
National Festivals Director Elysia Zeccola Hill who has been running the festivals at Palace Cinemas for the last 18 years said: “Scandinavia has produced some of the most iconic films ever made. This festival screens the hottest talent from the most current crop of films. Over the next 10 days in Cannes I will lock in the final films for this edition and they will premiere on the big screen in Australia less than two months later.”
THE FENCER: Finland’s official Oscar contender, and winner of Best Film at Finland’s 2016 Jussi Awards. It’s a fictionalised take on a real-life fencing teacher who took a stand against Stalinist oppression in Soviet-era Estonia. Fleeing from the Russian secret police, a young Estonian fencer is forced to return to his homeland, where he becomes a physical education teacher at a local school. However, the past catches up with him as he comes face to face with a difficult choice.
ABSOLUTION: Suspense thriller starring Laura Birn that tackles the moral questions of guilt and revenge after a hit-and-run accident spirals out of control. Mari Rantasila (Armi Alive!), took the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in this film at Finland’s recent Jussi Awards.
OTHER GIRLS (Toiset Tytöt): Another from Finald, this is a survival story about those moments when life gives you a brutal kick, but you decide to kick back. Hard! Based on true events, it follows 18-year-old girls Jessica, Jenny, Taru and Aino who are on the verge of adulthood as they lose their innocence and, at times, their faith.
NICE PEOPLE: Swedish document, described as a real-life Cool Runnings in which the predominantly white community of the rural Swedish town of Borlänge are confronted by the influx of Somalis who have fled war. Integrating has proven difficult, so entrepreneur Patrik Andersson decides that all the Swedes and Somalis need is something to talk about together, and so he encourages them to learn Bandy (a cross between ice hockey and soccer).. This highly entertaining and touching documentary follows the team as they live and train for the Bandy World Championships, coached by legendary former bandy player Per Fosshaug and Cia Embretsen.
LOVE IS THE DRUG: Winner of the Audience Award at the Guldbagge Awards (Swedish Academy Awards), Staffan Lindberg’s film is a comedy about super rich Veronica (played by international star Izabella Scorupco) and Mike, a carpenter, and all that stands between their love, including stepchildren, ex partners and new parents-in-law.
THE IDEALIST (Idealisten): Danish Director Christina Rosendahl makes her mark with her second feature film, starring Peter Plaugborg, Søren Malling, Thomas Bo Larsen, Arly Jover and Jens Albinus. Based on real events of the 80s and 90s, THE IDEALIST deals with the conspiracies about Thule airbase during the cold war and a young journalist whistle-blower who tries to reveal the secrets behind a nuclear disaster.
GOLD COAST (Guldkysten): The first feature film of Swedish-born Dane Daniel Dencik, GOLD COAST is a story of beauty and brutality, partly based on personal letters and diaries from the Danish botanist Wulff Joseph Wulff. In 1836, the young and visionary botanist (played by 2014 Berlin Film Festival Shooting Star award winner Jakob Oftebro) is sent to Africa by the King of Denmark to establish coffee plantations. What follows is an adventure into unknown territory that will change his young life forever.
THE WAVE (Bølgen): Norway heralds Scandinavia’s first disaster movie, starring Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro and Fritjof Såheim, the action packed film is based on the real-life event of the 1934 tsunami which hit Norway’s Tafiord as two million cubic metres of rock from a landslide triggered a wave of more than 85 metres high, and left 40 people dead in communities along the shore.
The Scandinavian Film Festival screens exclusively at Palace Cinemas nationally.