The inaugural Scandinavian Film Festival is set to heat up the Australian winter this July with the coolest films from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland hitting screens nationally. With Scandinavian crime drama the hottest property of the last few years, it only made sense to delve even deeper into Nordic film and Byron Shire audiences will have the chance to experience the breadth of style, humour, action and mystery that Scandinavian film has to offer with ten diverse films screening at Palace Byron Bay Cinema from July 25 to 30.
The Festival opens with the Swedish blockbuster The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Hundraaringen som klev ut genom fonstret och forsvann), the unlikely story of Allan Karlsson, a 100-year-old man with an eventful past who keeps stumbling into extraordinary circumstances. A colourful comedy of unexpected surprises, the film is based on the international bestselling novel by Jonas Jonasson. Local muso Steve Russell will be entertaining the opening night audience with some cool keyboards at the after party following the film.
Triumphs and tragedy abound in Waltz for Monica, a biopic set in 1960s Sweden, based on the life of popular Swedish jazz-singer Monica Zetterlund, played by the enchanting Edda Magnason who brings the role to life with her own smoky, elegant vocals.
From Finland, director Taru Mäkelä’s August Fools (Mieleton Elokuu) is a smart, uplifting comedy set in the context of the Cold War. Marvellously multilayered, the story is loosely based on real political events, paired with a delightful romance. Set in 1962, a middle-aged milliner and part-time clairvoyant is forced to revisit the past when the man she loved 20 years ago and thought dead walks into her little hat shop in Helsinki.
The rugged, isolated beauty of Iceland is showcased in the powerful family drama Metalhead (Málmhaus) – a story of loss and grief led by a breathtaking and award-winning performance by Thorbjörg Helga Thorgilsdóttir. As a 12 year-old, Hera witnessed the tragic accident that killed her older brother Baldur. But not long after the loss, it is as though the heavy-metal-loving Baldur has never left her side as Hera takes on her brother’s identity, claiming his wardrobe, record collection and electric guitar.
A complicated tangle of race, love and family is explored in the Norwegian film I Am Yours (Jeg er din) , with a multifaceted performance from Amrita Acharia (Game of Thrones), who is both captivating and sympathetic in this taut, intelligent relationship drama by director Iram Haq.
Denmark’s Mikkel Norgaard demonstrates Danish suspense at its best in The Keeper of Lost Causes (Kvinden i buret). Scripted by Nikolaj Arcel (the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and A Royal Affair) and based on the international bestselling crime-thriller of the same title, the film follows a police officer who gets reassigned to a dead-end department for old, terminated cases. Although given explicit orders to only read and sort through the cases, he is soon thrown headfirst into a mystery of a well-known female politician. Also from Denmark, Someone You Love (En du elsker) is a soulful family drama starring Mikael Persbrandt as a brooding musician emanating the style of Leonard Cohen, recently returned to his Danish hometown after decades living and making music in Los Angeles.
The film centres around Sanna, who has clear rules when it comes to men. Sex is fine, occasionally, and preferably under the influence of alcohol. But she does not want to wake up to her bedmate, and falling in love is out of the question. Sanna believes that most relationships are doomed to fail – and as a sociologist she decides to set out to prove her theory (as well as justify her decision to remain single).
In the Swedish drama Ego, Martin Wallström plays handsome but conceited Sebastian Silverberg, whose life is all about appearance, parties and material possessions. His lifestyle has always prevented Sebastian from realizing his true gift as a singer and guitarist, until a disastrous event happens that turns Sebastian’s life upside down.
Winner of international film festival awards from Germany to Korea, Home (Hemma) is an off-beat, tender and humorous perspective of those on the social fringes. Lou – super bright but socially awkward – is shocked when she is told that her grandfather has just passed away and that her grandmother is still alive. This sets her off on a journey to not only find her family, but also to learn to love and find a home in those that love her.
Tickets and programs now available at Palace Byron Bay Cinema, or www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com.