Nordic films in the main competition:
The documentary answer to ‘Boyhood’. A poetic and worldly-wise film shot over eight years, as the Norwegian director’s two boys grow up.
Markus and Lukas are brothers and the sons of the Norwegian filmmaker Aslaug Holm (‘Cool & Crazy’), who over the course of more than eight years has filmed their childhood and youth from when they were five and eight years old. The result is an unusually poetic home movie. And no, you don’t just make your own documentary version of ‘Boyhood’ from one week to the next! Markus and Lukas experience many things for the first time in the film, which with both tenderness and an adult eye takes part in their dreams and expectations, and follows the older brother all the way to high school. You will recognise much from your own life, and be reminded of even more.
What happens when a world-famous artist suddenly loses his natural abilities? The director Anne Wivel has followed her friend, the painter Per Kirkeby, up close after he fell down a flight of stairs and hit his head. He had previously recovered from a brain haemorrhage and two blood clots, but the fall on the stairs two years ago resulted in a brain injury that prevents him from working. He has not just lost his mobility, but also the ability to recognise colours and even his own art works. Besides filming him, Anne Wivel is also there as a conversation partner and follows Per Kirkeby, who is fighting for a comeback, while at the same time acknowledging his lack of progress. For him it seems to be a long way back, because art is not just a question of being able to paint something beautifully and successfully, the essence lies in transgressing good taste. It is this element that the painter misses. In addition to the artist, we also meet his wife, friends and collaborators, but the absolute protagonist is Per Kirkeby in his unusually open encounter with the film director Anne Wivel and her camera. Everything – from everyday rehabilitation to emotional insights – are presented in a sober way.
For many people around the world, the Nordic social model is a symbol of the ideal organisation of society. A highlight in the history of civilisation, and a shining example for all others. Or what? What kind of society have we actually created for ourselves? The Swedish iconoclast Erik Gandini takes a loving / critical look at our little corner of the world from the other end of the telescope and finds the recipe for the good Nordic life in a manifesto, which was published by the political elite in 1970s Sweden. Here, you could read that happiness is a life lived in freedom – from others. And so it has been ever since. But the question is whether our individualism and independence have isolated us from each other? Is the price of happiness a life of loneliness? Like a sociologist from another planet, Gandini travels across the planet (and Scandinavia) and draws surprising parallels and connections between our way of life and all the other ways it could have ended up looking like. Gandini has specialised in making a very special kind of political pop art essays, and in finding new and surprising patterns in vast amounts of data. A combination and timing that is tailored to letting us look at the Nordic model from the outside at this moment in history.