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Film Festival: Thessaloniki Film Festival 2017

Festival information

Who? Thessaloniki Film Festival

What? Major international festival in Greece

When? 2 – 12 November 2017

Where? Thessaloniki, Greece

Festival Website: http://www2.filmfestival.gr/en/festivals-en/tiff

Click on the films to view trailers, information on where to watch them, and interviews.

Denmark

Thorn [+]

Directed by Gabriel Tzafka [+]

Lisa and Jacob just got married. The same night, they drive away for their honeymoon somewhere in the countryside of Denmark. However, Jacob has no idea where they are going as Lisa has made all the preparation secretly. Everything goes according to the plan until Lisa realizes that her plan is harming their love and their faith is turning into fear.

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Winter Brothers [+]

Directed by Hlynur Pálmason [+]

Johan and Emil are two radically different brothers who work in a limestone factory in a small Danish village. The former is down-to-earth, hard-working, handsome and agreeable, while the latter is inelegant and insecure, a daydreamer who goes unnoticed. Their passionate and troublesome relationship doesn’t fit into words and isn’t translated into action; therefore, the director describes it through astonishing frames, in a slow-burning and suspenseful narrative about the endless winters of family ties.

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Finland

Euthanizer [+]

Directed by Teemu Nikki [+]

This violent noir with the distinct touch of Finnish humor tells the story of Veijo Haukka, a 50-year-old mechanic whose second job is to put sick pets to sleep. Veijo (whose last name means “hawk”) has only one principle: he doesn’t kill healthy dogs… Α quirky moral tale about animal rights and human responsibilities, about “man’s best friends” and the beast within.

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Tom of Finland [+]

Directed by Dome Karukoski [+]

The true story of one of the most influential, early icons of the movement for LGBT rights, the portrait of the painter who became famous in post-war Europe by the signature “Tom of Finland,” is at the same time a story about the true mission of art that liberates and questions, becomes a refuge and liberates.

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Iceland

Under the Tree [+]

Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson [+]

Atli, father of a four-year-old daughter, breaks up with his partner and moves in his parents’ house, where he is sucked into a dispute between his parents and their neighbors regarding the shadow of an old and beautiful tree – a dispute that gradually intensifies, as property is damaged, pets mysteriously go missing, and a rumor travels that the neighbor was seen with a chainsaw. The favorite subject-matter of Northern European fiction – the disintegration of social bonds that takes place behind well-preserved house walls – emerges through an intricate polyphonic composition that brings harmony into chaos.

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The Swan [+]

Directed by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir [+]

A wayward 9-year-old girl is sent to the countryside to work and to mature, but finds herself instead deeply entangled in a drama she can hardly grasp. A stark Icelandic take on Alice in Wonderland, a story about human beings lost (and found) in the wilderness, a rite of passage into the murky waters of adulthood and the wild nature in us all.

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Norway

Little Grey Fergie – Country Fun!

Directed by Peder Hamdahl Næss

When a curious boy named Gustav moves next door to a farm, he meets some amazing new neighbors. One of them is a little grey tractor named Fergie, who soon becomes his new best friend! Fergie is no ordinary tractor. Thanks to a magical spark plug, he’s got a heart and can think and feel like a person. Gustav’s and Little Grey Fergie’s love for a troublesome baby goat named Houdini leads to fun and adventure as they aim to bring home a trophy from the big Farmer’s Market Festival!

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Sweden

Sami Blood [+]

Directed by Amanda Kernell [+]

Α declaration of love to those who left and those who stayed in a society at the edge of the world, and an alternative, insider’s story of the colonial past of a “civilized” country, through the eyes of a teenager. Elle Marja, 14, is a reindeer-breading Sámi girl. Exposed to the racism of the 1930s and race biology examinations at her boarding school, she starts dreaming of another life. To achieve this other life she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.

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The Comet

Directed by Victor Lindgren

Two men are hiding behind a fence at a border checkpoint. They have just started their escape from oppression and persecution of homosexuals in their home country. Only one of them will arrive in Sweden. He is the comet.

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Up in the Sky

Directed by Petter Lennstrand

Eight-year-old Pottan is going to summer camp, but she accidentally ends up at a recycling plant with some very strange characters. They reluctantly take care of Pottan, who soon discovers their secret. Behind high fences, they are patching together a homemade spacecraft… Humour, adventure and unexpected friendships await, as Pottan becomes the fi rst ever eightyear-old in space.

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Moonwolves

Directed by Nima Yousefi

“A lot of strange, wonderful creatures can be found in a forest, and in this particular forest there is an unusually special sort. These creatures do not remember when they discovered that they like glitter and all things that shine, nor do they remember when they started to be called Moonwolves. What they are certain of is that they love lamps, coins, knights and armory, stars, and their best friends, the fireflies. But most of all, they love the moon … One night, their longing grew so intense that they decide they couldn’t just sit and stare at it anymore. They decide to go to the moon.” Nima Yousefi

Ravens [+]

Directed by Jens Assur [+]

Agne, a constant farmer who lives in 1970s rural Sweden, fights tooth and nail to save his farm from the owner’s profit-driven aspirations and the overall tendency to “modernize.” As the farm was run by the same family for the last century, passing from generation to generation, Agne is certain that his eldest son will take over. When he gets to know his son’s real intentions, he will have difficulties in discerning the fine line between stubbornness and madness. The first feature film by famous photographer Jens Assur is a dramatic, cliffhanging ode to family burden and the power of the inevitable.

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Ruben Östlund Retrospective

The Square [+]

The film that was awarded with the Golden Palm in the last Cannes Festival focuses on the elegant figure of Christian, a contemporary art curator who tries to find balance between his duties as a (divorced) family man and noble citizen. However, when someone steals his cell phone and wallet, an unknown side of his self will awaken. In the director’s own words, this is a film about “responsibility and trust, rich and poor, power and powerlessness…distrust towards the state, media and art.”

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Play [+]

The encounter of a gang of mixed-race teenagers with another group of white boys in the middle of a shopping center takes a surprising twist when the former implement the strategy of the “little brother number.” An astute observation of violent human behavior, which originated from the director’s long research into real cases of organized “bullying” and personal interview with victims and offenders.

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Let the Others Deal with Love

A group of young men is living on the edge of life, trying not to lose their innocence in the painful process of growing up.

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Involuntary [+]

A tragic comedy or comic tragedy about group pressure on the individual. Five separate episodes on everyday disasters build a minimal mosaic about the groans of Swedish (but possibly any other Western) middle class that strives for uniformity.

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Incident by a Bank

A detailed and humorous account of a failed bank robbery: A single take where over 96 people perform a meticulous choreography for the camera. The film recreates an actual event that took place in Stockholm back in June 2006; it’s an observation in real-time and a study of how people act and react to the unexpected.

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Guitar Mongoloid [+]

Vignettes from the life of certain lonely, unconventional people who live in Gothenburg are interweaved in a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary that defies the traditional norms of film narration. The first feature film of an ironic iconoclast was hailed by film critics worldwide as an “art-house version of Jackass and Candid Camera,” but records in a twisted affectionate fashion what happens in the heart of a decent society in the dawn of the new Millennium.

Free Radicals 1 & 2

The first films shot by Ruben Östlund on the steepest European slopes before he entered film school, films that have ski as their subject matter became a rich field of experimentation – besides, this is how the director realized his affinity to long takes.

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Force Majeure [+]

An exemplary Swedish family goes on a ski trip in the French Alps, but instead of enjoying this brief getaway from their routine, they find themselves in a cul-de-sac, when under the threat of an avalanche the father runs to hide, leaving his wife and kids unprotected. A multi-awarded, whimsical film about crisis management –be it related to current viewpoints on masculinity or the herd sentiment and the primordial instincts– that ends with the most impressive fade-to-white in cinema history.

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Family Again

Twenty three years after their divorce, the director’s parents end up single again, without any partners. Östlund tries to bring them together, even in front of the camera, but the two of them fail to agree on what has happened in the past. The desperate effort of a son to find a unifying narrative is the driving force of this courageous documentary about family burdens.

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Autobiografical Scene Number 6882

A 30-year old man spends Midsummer’s Eve (which is celebrated across Sweden, as it signals the start of the summer break) together with friends on the west coast of Sweden. He makes his friends come and watch as he is going to jump in to the sea from a very high bri

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Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.