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Highlights from the first-ever Scandinavian Film Festival in Australia

Daniel Driscoll

Mon Jun 30 2014


THE inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival is coming to Melbourne in July, showing the latest in films from countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Daniel Driscoll has the highlights on what you can expect to catch!

Scandinavia has brought the world arguably some of the most memorable cinema of all time. From the masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman, to the radical back-to-basics guerrilla-style film making of the Dogme revolution, to the contemporary and transnational diversity of Nordic cinema, there’s no denying the quality of talent that’s been coming from the region for more than half a century.

The upcoming Scandinavian Film Festival, running from July 10 – 27, aims to give a dedicated focus to an area of screen culture that has been under-represented in Australia until now. The first of its kind here in Australia, the festival will have a selection of 21 films ranging from critically acclaimed debuts through to crowd pleasing blockbusters will keep audiences enthralled over the two-and-a half week festival.

With dramas, crime thrillers and comedies on show, there’s plenty on display for those already interested in the region’s cinema or for those keen on getting clued up on it.

One of the highlights of the festival will be a Q&A with rising Finnish star Laura Birn before a screening of her film, Heart of a Lion. She also has a second feature in the festival with August Fools.

Opening night will feature Swedish film The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window (Hundraaringen som klev ut genom fonstret och forsvann), a colourful comedy based on the international best seller by Jonas Jonasson. Waltz for Monica, also from Sweden is a biopic about the life of popular Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund and stars Edda Magnason as Monica, who sings her own smokey vocals for the film.

Rounding out the the Swedish offerings will be Easy Money 3: Life Deluxe (Snabba Cash 3: Livet Deluxe), the final installment in the trilogy starring Joel Kinnaman, best known to Australian audiences as the star of the new RoboCop remake. He plays JW, an economics student who falls into the seductive world of drug running. The festival will be screening the first two parts of the trilogy to celebrate the release of the new installment with 2010’s Easy Money (Snabba Cash) and 2012’s Easy Money 2: Hard to Kill (Snabba Cash 2).

Image supplied.

Image supplied.

Highlights from Denmark include Flow (Aekte vare), Fenar Ahmad’s debut film which opened Copenhagen’s biggest film festival, CPHPIX 2014 and the Danish suspense thriller The Keeper of Lost Causes (Kvinden i buret).

Meanwhile, acclaimed Icelandic director Ágúst Guðmundsson (The Seagull’s Laughter) brings to Melbourne Spooks and Spirits (Ófeigur gengur aftur), a comedy of misunderstandings.

As mentioned above Finland’s Laura Birn stars in both director Taru Mäkelä’sAugust Fools (Mieletön elokuu), a smart, uplifting comedy set in the context of the Cold War and Heart of Lion (Leijonasydän) where she mixes hatred with humour to create a stirring but surprisingly funny portrait of changing hearts and minds.

Image supplied.

Image supplied.

Finally, from Norway comes I Am Yours (Jeg er din) starring Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones) which explores a complicated tangle of love, race and family in this powerful film. Thriller Pioneer (Pioner) stars Australia’s Jonathan LaPaglia (Lantana, Without A Trace) in a film directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg (InsomniaProzac Nation) and touts itself a claustrophobic conspiracy based on true events.

While this is only just a snapshot of the excellent selection of films on offer, the full program can be found via the Scandinavian Film Festival’s official site.

The Scandinavian Film Festival will be screening exclusively at Palace Cinema locations across Melbourne and will be running from July 10 – 27. For more information about the film festival, including film descriptions, schedule or other resources, please visit the festival’s official website.