Cinema Scandinavia’s editor-in-chief, Emma Vestrheim, is attending the Göteborg Film Festival on behalf of the website. The Göteborg Film Festival is the largest film festival for Nordic films, and the ‘in Brief’ series is a summary of the films and documentaries Emma sees.
You can find the full reviews as well as interviews in the March issue of our magazine. You can also follow Emma on Twitter here.
Sweden / Nominated for the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film
Directed by Lisa Langseth
Starring the Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander alongside the wonderful Eva Green, Euphoria is a beautifully made film about the relationship between two sisters. In the film, Emilie (Green) invites her younger sister, Ines (Vikander) on a holiday to a mystery spa located somewhere in Europe. Ines, an artist living in New York, reluctantly agrees to reunite with her sister after several years. However, once they arrive there, Emilie reveals that this ‘mystery spa’ is actually where individuals with terminal illnesses go seeking euthanasia, and Emilie will end her life in six days time. Ines, clearly shocked, reacts strongly to her sisters imminent death, while Emilie tries to spend her last few days reconnecting with her sister.
This film explores the extremely sensitive topic of euthanasia, but it is more importantly about the complex relationship between the two sisters. The script is a little weak at times, but Vikander and Green are extraordinary. The climactic sequences with the two leads is just amazingly acted. Charles Dance also breathes necessarily life into this otherwise dreary story. Visually it is gorgeous, though the setting really helped with this. Overall, the leads are brilliant and it’s an interesting premise, but it doesn’t provide as much depth as is necessary.
Living, Loving (2018)
Sweden / Screening in Nordic Light
Directed by Mette AA Gardell
Living, Loving is primarily a documentary about the backgrounds of several residents at the world’s first care home for LGBT peoples. Titled ‘The Rainbow’, the home aims to offer security and community for people who have experienced alienation from the public due to their sexual preference. We follow residents like Agneta, who has lived openly as gay while abroad, but has never lived free in Sweden, or Ingbritt, who was happily married for half her life before getting divorced and living as a lesbian, and Tomas, who grew up with a homophobic father and dedicated his life to activism.
Each of these personalities are strong with very interesting and important backgrounds, and the film goes in deep with exploring their past and how they struggled with their identity. However, the film really suffers in focusing on one subject. At the start, it opens with a series of statistics about how elderly gay people in retirement homes face severe alienation and often die sooner than heterosexual residents. Thinking that was a truly unique and important point, I hoped the documentary was going to explore that. Rather, it was too broad and really abandoned this initial idea. Throughout the documentary, it presents different statistics on varying topics without going into the statistic. We’ve had a lot of documentaries introducing the world of the LGBT community, lets explore particular topics (like retirement homes) now. Living, Loving fails to do this, but it’s still a worthwhile documentary.
Maj Doris (2018)
Sweden / Screening in Nordic Light
Directed by Jon Blåhed
Maj Doris Rimpi is one of the most well-known Sami artists, having contributed strongly to art, theatre and film (she recently had a role in Sami Blood, for example).
At the age of 75, Maj Doris is working full-time on her property in Parenjarka tending to her reindeer. Twenty years ago she left behind the artists life to focus on work at home, but in recent years she has been acting and taking part in art exhibitions. In order to get away from the reindeer to go to Trondheim for an exhibition, she seeks the help of Mansoor, an Afghani who has just got a residence permit in Sweden.
Maj Doris is perhaps the coolest person out there, and this documentary really shows that. She takes Mansoor and his friends out for pizza, she invites young Sami’s to her house, and she treats her reindeer like they are her children. Maj Doris is an excellent documentary as it provides an energetic, full-of-life insight into what it’s like to be Maj Doris. It is also beautifully shot, perhaps one of the prettiest documentaries I’ve ever seen. An important contribution to recent films and documentaries about the Sami population, Maj Doris is a must-see.