SCANDINAVIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Commencing in Sydney on July 11 and running though to August 2 - with other states screening in tandem - the Scandinavian Film Festival is now in its third year and it’s fittingly timed with winter, the perfect season to be transported to the Nordic states of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.
With a program containing some 20 features, the opening film is Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side of Hope, a joyous but deadpan tale about a Syrian immigrant struggling to find his place in a new country. With his humanistic perspective, the Finnish director delivers a message of optimism, a much-needed view in this troubled world.
From Norway, the centrepiece of the Festival is Eric Poppe’s much lauded The King’s Choice - shortlisted for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. It’s been described in the program as a ‘commanding, full-bloodied epic’ which covers an important part of WWII history from an entirely new perspective.
Iceland is represented by the multi award-winning Heartstone, shot by the same cinematographer as 2015’s charming Rams. It’s a beautiful portrait of village life in current day Iceland through the eyes of a pair of inseparable best friends.
With a special event screening of Dome Karukoski’s Tom Of Finland, ‘an essential portrait of defiance and rebellion’ and Ivica Zubak’s A Hustler’s Diary, ‘a vividly sketched comedy that touches on the issues of national identity and integration’ from Sweden screening on the closing night, there’s much to look forward to.
This latest crop of Scandi features cover themes dealing with crime, mystery, love, sex, death, chess, war, coming-of-age and comedy, all that good stuff... well, not the war bit. There’s a lot to choose from but judging by previous years any pick will likely be a good one. This Festival has a fine reputation for screening some of the best new cinema around, so sit back, have a shot of vodka and experience the hygge.*
* A Danish word meaning ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.’ (The Oxford Dictionary).