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4th Annual Nordic Film Days

Blog
4th Annual Nordic Film Days

11.06.2019

Text: Leyla Aksu 

Hosted by Akbank Sanat for the fourth time this summer, the Nordic Film Days series will once again bring cinephiles some of the most distinguished examples of contemporary Scandinavian cinema, from 13–27 June. Made possible with the contributions of the Istanbul Swedish Consulate and the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Ankara, this year’s selection is comprised of six distinct examples of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish film. From exciting feature-length debuts to graceful entries by esteemed directors, all offering a cool respite from the summer heat, below we take a closer look at this year’s program.

Nordic Film Days will offer audiences three examples of Swedish cinema this year, and Swedish/British writer-director Lisa James Larsson’s 2013 debut feature, Ego, will be the opener. Known from television shows like “Victoria” (2016– ) and “Striking Out” (2017–2018), Larsson’s debut stars “Mr. Robot”s (2015– ) Martin Wallström as its lead. While the highly musical production blends elements of romantic comedy and drama, it focuses on its superficial and vain young protagonist, musician Sebastian, the changes and difficulties he faces after a life-altering accident, and a budding relationship with his assistant.

One of Swedish cinemas’ most distinguished voices with works such as Här har du ditt liv (Here Is Your Life, 1966), Il capitano (1991), and the Oscar-nominated The Emigrants (1971), Jan Troell will be featured in the program with his most recent feature, 2012’s Dom över död man (The Last Sentence). Embarking on his cinematic journey in the 1960’s and known for his stunning visuals, here the master director presents the story of one of Sweden’s most revered journalists, Torgny Segerstedt, who, against neutral state policy, single-handedly criticized Hitler and warned the public against fascism, and offers a snapshot of his unwavering moral stance and contrasting chaotic personal life.

The third Swedish film in this year’s line-up comes from the screenwriter-director Axel Petersén. Recently competing in 2018’s Berlinale with Toppen av ingenting (The Real Estate), co-directed by Måns Månsson, Petersén made his feature film debut with Avalon (2011). Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and receiving the FIPRESCI Discovery Award, this dark outing features gripping performances and follows heedless party promoter Janne, trying to get his life on track by organizing an exclusive night club in the resort area of Båstad, and his efforts to escape the circumstances he finds himself in after a terrible accident.

This year’s picks from Norway, however, come from two different eras and two distinguished directors. Known for his debut feature Eggs (1995), which premiered at Cannes, Kitchen Stories (2003), and Factotum (2005), multi-award-wining screenwriter, director, and producer Bren Hamer’s latest, 1001 Gram (2014), will be the first of the two. Often featuring unusual occupations within his films, this time Hamer takes on the minimalist, melancholic, and witty story of measured metrologist Marie, as she attends a seminar on the true weight of one kilogram, only to be faced with the weight of her own sorrows, loves, and tumultuous life.

The second Norwegian outing, though, casts its glance a little further back, with actor and director Nils Gaup’s 1987 production Ofelas (Pathfinder). Making cinematic history as the first ever film in the Sami language and nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Ofelas is based on a 12th century myth and tells Aigin’s story of bravery and revenge, as a boy who is forced to be a pathfinder for the Eastern Chud tribe and lead them to a group of escaped natives after his family is killed and he is taken hostage in one of their raids.

Finally, Nordic Film Days will close with a more recent example of Danish cinema, Darling (2017). Receiving an award for her documentary Ønskebørn (Out of Love, 2009) from the Berlin Film Festival early in her career, this second feature-length film by director Birgitte Stærmose shares the story of a world-famous ballerina who returns to the Danish Royal Ballet with her husband to stage a production of Giselle. No longer able to dance due to the damage her body has incurred, she decides to train the dancer replacing her and with the growing artistic obsession and rivalry, the film unravels as a psychological thriller.

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