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Hallå Hallå / Sweden / 2014 / dir. Maria Blom / comedy / starring Maria Sid, Johan Holmberg & Ann Petrén

Screened as part of the Cleveland International Film Festival

A warm-hearted Swedish comedy that will keep you toasty through the winter, Hallå hallå keeps winning audience awards at film festivals. Disa is 40ish, a bit dumpy and way too accommodating. Her husband has left her for a twiggy new model; she’s bossed around by her overbearing mother and by the chief matron at the hospital where she works. Not even her children seem to like her much these days. While her ex is looking sporty and put-together, Disa remains down and out, and stuck in her rut. An old crone in the hospital tests her patience beyond its limits, and she tries martial arts to get out some aggression. But one day when she’s handing the kids over to her ex in the library, a roguish charmer named Kent catches her eye. Kent has seven kids by a bunch of different women, and a most relaxed outlook on life. Though there are misunderstandings at first, he has a message for Disa: stick up for yourself, and the rest will follow. Finnish actress Maria Sid is priceless in the lead role.

Maria Blom is a Stockholm-born director, playwright and screenwriter who prefers to film in the Swedish province of Dalarna, where she lives. “It’s like taking work home,” she said upon starting to shoot Hallå hallå in her home city of Falun. “I hope it will become a groovy movie full of delightful characters, lots of laughter and an occasional tear.”