The fourth Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival takes off from 11 July with a slate of 20 films from the Nordic region. The program opens with Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope. The film won Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlinale. This important and entertaining film reflects the modern day experience of one immigrant in Finland, providing an optimistic vision of a troubled world.
The festival will also feature two special presentations with The King’s Choice and Tom of Finland.
The King’s Choice is a Norwegian historical drama that depicts the machinations and personal fallout of conflict. Tom of Finland is a prize-winning biography of Finnish homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland. It serves as an homage to one of Finland’s most unorthodox international heroes.
The festival will close with Ivica Zubak’s A Hustler’s Diary. The film features a breakout performance by star and co-writer Can Demirtas. He plays the unlikely hero Metin, a petty criminal of Turkish descent. When Metin’s misplaced journal is discovered by a publishing house, it offers to turn him into a star. Touching on issues of national identity and integration, Metin’s volatile world is evoked with affection and street-smart zap.
Alongside A Hustler’s Diary, Sweden provides book-to-film adaptation Room 213, a mystery meets coming-of-age story for the whole family. The film captures young female friendship set against the backdrop of a summer camp ghost story. Meanwhile Amanda Kernell’s multiple award-winning Sami Blood blends the struggles of growing up with the rarely-depicted cultural context of Sweden’s oppression of Sami people; something with parallels in Australian history.
Denmark delivers a strong selection this year. First up is One-Two-Three Go!, the bittersweet romance adapted from Jesper Wung-Sung’s best-selling novel En-to-tre-nu!. Jussi Adler-Olsen adaptation A Conspiracy of Faith is the third Department Q film. A fresh portrayal of the ‘two worlds’ of Denmark – the overworld and the underworld – is shown in Darkland. 1864 brings to the big screen one of the most popular Danish television series ever made, in a newly released theatrical cut; and Rasmus Heisterberg (writer of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ), makes his directorial debut with In the Blood, a film about a group of young men at a defining moment in their lives.
The festival’s lighter side includes The Man, Charlotte Sieling’s satire exploring inter-generational rivalry in the trendy Copenhagen arts scene; the vibrant romantic comedy, Swinger, which explores the mid-life crises of those seeking long-vanished love; and Small Town Killers, a black comedy of the darkest kind about the unforeseen consequences of planning the perfect crime.
From Iceland, Heartstone follows the lives of a group of youths exploring sexuality and maturity over a summer in a small village. Seasoned cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen paints a breathtaking portrait of Iceland in transition, through the eyes of the young protagonists.
Alongside The King’s Choice, Norway boasts Handle with Care, a moving drama about international adoption. A journalist’s case turns dangerous in the thriller, Kings Bay. Magnus is the eye-opening journey of the 23 year-old World Chess Champion. And multi-award winning director Sara Johnsen helms an all-female cast of rising and established Norwegian stars for an entertaining exploration of love, sex and what it means to be family in Rosemari.
For full details, screening times and tickets, visit the official Festival website and you can follow on Facebook and twitter @scandifilmfest
Dates and venues:
QLD July 20 – August 6 Palace Barracks
NSW July 11 – August 2 Palace Verona & Palace Norton Street
VIC July 13 – August 2 Palace Cinema Como, Palace Brighton Bay & Palace Westgarth
ACT July 18 – August 2 Palace Electric
WA July 20 – August 2 Cinema Paradiso
SA July 19 – July 30 Palace Nova Eastend
TAS July 20 – July 26 State Cinema
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Moro Spanish Film Festival 2019 – movie preview
- German Film Festival 2019 – preview
- The King’s Choice – movie review
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television