Must-watch Mondays: Critical about society

Must-watch Mondays

The top three films you should be watching this week

This week: Critical about society

Cover compressed This weeks ‘must-watch’ Mondays are films that are critical about society. We have chosen this weeks selection based off our magazine, which you can pick up for only £5.

But that’s not the only reason. It is a common theme amongst contemporary Scandinavian films to mention either in passing or as a central plot something about contemporary societal living. One of our personal favourite quotes is definitely from In Order of Disappearance, which states that immigrants either choose “sunshine or welfare” when deciding where to live (referring to Scandinavia’s extra-generous welfare model).

So explore these three films that discuss contemporary living in Scandinavia, and let us know if you can think of any extra.



1. You, The Living

You the Living 2A series of scenes that focus specially on a single idea, emotion or act us. In the absence of interfering qualities this film is able to take one factoring influence and amplify it to absurd and hilarious proportions. Each scene gives us an uninterrupted view at some of the more unglamorous characteristics that in the end determine who we are, both as individuals and as a thread in the patchwork of the collective human unconscious. – IMDb


We could easily pick any Roy Andersson, as Swedish society is a common theme in his films. However, we found You, The Living to be the most ‘social’ film (however we are yet to see his new one). You, the Living focuses on the quirks of the human behaviour, with a heavily stylised Stockholm as a backdrop. Andersson is a master of reducing the complexity of the human condition to cynicism, but he also reminds us that life is a fantastic thing. Also, if you haven’t already, watch his series of commercials that he made for Swedish TV. We love them!

You can find an interview with Roy Andersson in our magazine


2. Kitchen Stories

Kitchen StoriesIn post war Sweden it was discovered that every year, an average housewife walks the equivalent number of miles as the distance between Stockholm and Congo, while preparing her family meals. So the Home Research Institute sent out eighteen observers to a rural district of Norway to map out the kitchen routines of single men. The researchers were on twenty-four-hour call, and sat in special strategically placed chairs in each kitchen. Furthermore, under no circumstances were the researchers to be spoken to, or included in the kitchen activities. – IMDb


This one is a slightly different critique of society. We all know Sweden and Norway as neighbours and kind of like brothers in their love/hate relationship and teasing of one another. This film tackles that issue, sending a Swede to go and watch the curious behaviour of Norwegians. The film follows the gradual relationship of a Swede and Norwegian, and shows that perhaps they aren’t that different after all. The film pokes fun at the ‘Ikea-style’ market research conducted by the Swedes, the Norwegians and their laconic ways, and the strange ways of Scandinavia altogether. As one critic says, it is a ‘near-perfect’ film.

We analyse the Norway-Sweden relationship of Kitchen Stories in our magazine. 

3. The Hunt

The HuntLucas is a Kindergarten teacher who takes great care of his students. Unfortunately for him, young Klara has a run-away imagination and concocts a lie about her teacher. Before Lucas is even able to understand the consequences, he has become the outcast of the town. The hunt is on to prove his innocence before it’s taken from him for good. – IMDb



This is a film everyone knows. It’s slightly different than the others, but it’s plot outlines a serious issue growing in Scandinavia. With their very generous paid parental leave schemes, the Scandinavians are known for taking extra special care of their children. However, as seen in this film, this benefit of the doubt can lead adults into trouble. Also, as seen in Force Majeure, the week male is another issue appearing in Scandinavia. The Hunt tackles this issue head on, and is incredibly successful.




There’s our list for the week. What do you think? Comment below or email contribute@cinemascandinavia.com with your ideas for lists.


Emma Vestrheim

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.