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FTW: 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival

Justin Lim

Wed Jun 22 2016


SEE what Nordic delights await you at this year’s 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival as Justin Lim breaks down this year’s program and has the details on how you can win one of five double passes to attend the film festival!


The Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival is back for its third run in Melbourne this July, offering an emotional platter from the best in Nordic cinema.

With rich cultural perspectives from Sweden to Finland to many other Scandinavian nations, the festival will kick off from July 6, bringing 22 films to the 2016 program and will be hosted by select Palace Cinemas across Melbourne. St Kilda’s iconic Astor Theatre, owned by Palace, will also be hosting films for the festival. 

Expect to find a lineup of award-winning films from several genres including thrillers, romances and even documentaries – plenty to satiate the tastes of every kind of movie-goer.

The festival also boasts an impressive lineup of guests such as Jakob Oftebro, one of Scandinavia’s most talented actors and the star of Gold Coast and As It Is In Heaven 2: Heavy on Earth and celebrated local Australian director Janet Merewether who filmed the inspiring documentary Reindeer in My Saami Heart.

From July 6 to the 27th, audiences can experience the lineup in various locations around Melbourne including the Palace Cinema Como, Brighton Bay, Westgarth and The Astor.

For those wondering what to watch, here’s a small sample of Scandinavian delights that will be available to watch.

Land of Mine

The centrepiece of this year’s Scandinavian Film Festival is the highly acclaimed and multi-award winning Land of Mine. Directed by Martin Zandvliet, this gripping thriller tells a tale of retribution and forgiveness.

Taking place in the aftermath of Nazi Germany’s surrender in the second World War, a group of young Germans, most of whom are barely out of their teens, are given the dangerous job of disarming mines by their Allied captors. Led by the righteous and embittered Danish sergeant Rasmussen, the boys are marched onto the dunes which are littered by Nazi mines. Though initially scornful for the German occupation of his homeland, Rasmussen soon grows conflicted with his feelings towards his young charges.

Land of Mine is a powerful tale filled with moral complexities that will prove to be an unforgettable experience for all to see.

The Fencer

Directed by Klaus Härö, The Fencer is an elegantly crafted tale that had been shortlisted for the 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, was a Best Foreign Language Film nominee at the Golden Globe Awards, the winner of Finland’s major film prize, and selected as the Opening Night Gala for the 2016 Palm Springs Festival. To say that it has some pedigree is putting it lightly.

Inspired by the life of the legendary fencing master Endel Nelis, the movie tells of his struggle to run his fencing school while keeping a low profile to avoid Stalin’s secret police for his forced service in the German army during the second World War. Despite his initial attempts at keeping a low profile as a physical education instructor at a local school, he soon attracts the attention and ire of the party-loyalist school principal when he uses his love of fencing to develop a rapport with his students.

The Fencer is a superbly acted drama that bears similar themes and emotional impact of the great film, Monsieur Lazhar.

Welcome to Norway

Welcome to Norway, the festival’s opening night film, takes a satirical look at the highly controversial European migration crisis with levity, sharp wit and black humour, forcing Norwegians to ask some uncomfortable questions.

Failed entrepreneur and jovial racist Petter Primus transforms his run-down alpine hotel situated near the Norwegian-Swedish border into a state-funded refugee asylum to remain financially afloat. It soon seems apparent that Peter may have bitten off more than he can chew when he has to deal with the prying eyes of a Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, cultural gaps, fifty freezing refugees, a depressed wife and a restless teenage daughter.

Sharp and witty, Welcome to Norway is sure to leave you laughing while raising thoughtful questions in your mind.

Gold Coast

Starring rising star Jakob Oftebro, Gold Coast tells the story of Wulff Joseph Wulff, a young idealist who is sent to Danish Guinea (now Southeast Ghana) to establish a coffee plantation. Though Wulff is enamoured with the local populace and seeks to develop close ties with them, he soon must come to terms with the corrupt and exploitative practices of the corrupt Danes that rule the colony.

This deep and provocative movie delivers a beautiful and creative inner tale of Wulff’s moral compass and thoughts. Inspired by a series of letters from the 1800’s, director Daniel Denick delivers a masterful tale with the aid of an empowering, sobering and visceral performance by Oftebro.

Gold Coast is a beautiful and epic cinematographic experience that delves into the wild beauty of the human soul with an enthralling musical score by Angelo Badalamenti that lends Gold Coast a distinctive flavour.


To see these films and more, we are giving readers a chance to win one of five double passes to attend a film of their choice at the 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival. To be one of the lucky winners, simply enter our Rafflecopter competition below! Competition closes on July 1.

The 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival will take place between July 6 and 27 in Melbourne. For further information about the 2016 Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival, including ticketing, festival locations and more, visit the official website.

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