Must watch Mondays: Western Norway

Must-watch Mondays

Our pick of three Nordic films you should go and see

This week: Western Norway


With summer now in full swing, we thought it was only necessary to pay particular attention to certain parts of the Nordics that may not be as well known. Today, we’ve chosen Western Norway – the home of the fjords, Bergen, and incredibly large mountains fit for skiing or a weekend away. Several hours from the Norwegian hub Oslo, Western Norway is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations when visiting the country. But what films were made there?

Western Norway Film Commission Showreel


Villmark 2
Image from the West Norway Film Commission

Villmark 2

An old sanatorium is deteriorating in an isolated forest in the mountains. The elderly janitor is still living there to ensure that no one access the dangerous building. Five contract workers have taken on the task of tracking the huge building for hazardous waste before it’s demolished. Over 300 rooms and kilometres of pipelines have to be screened in three days. They realize that the job is more than a search for asbestos and mercury when they encounter the building’s frightening past. Water is gushing from the old pipes, and brings the work to a halt. An attempt to close the water intake leads them to the dark cellar, where they discover the horrible secrets from the sanatoriums past. You can demolish a building, but never remove the past. – IMDb

Norwegian horror is one of the more popular genres coming out of the cold region. Maybe it is their Norse Mythology, Viking era, love of heavy metal, or maybe just those long winter nights that make them turn to scary tales. Villmark was a big hit when it was released back in 2003, and its a little surprising to see the sequel come so much later. However, we are looking forward to the release of Villmark 2 in October and are excited to see how the west Norwegian coast is transformed into a dark environment!

Here is Harold

For over 40 years, Harold has been running a successful business, “Lunde Furniture” together with his wife, Marny. But this comes to an end when IKEA decides to open a new superstore right next door to Harold’s small furniture shop. Harold and Marny lose both their shop and their home to the bank, and to make matter worse, Marny is starting to lose her memory. In mounting anger and desperation, Harold wants revenge. He arms himself with a pistol, gets into his old Saab, and sets off for Älmhult, Sweden, in order to kidnap his Nemesis – the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad. But unfortunately, Kamprad is quite happy to be kidnapped. – IMDb

We love this movie. Theres just something about it that makes it so quintessentially Nordic – maybe its the IKEA images all over the place or maybe its just the concept of the rural, local guy taking on the big companies. As a prominently small rural country, it was only very recently that Norway started becoming urban. Having a film about taking on the big guys highlights Norway perfectly, and this fun and cute little film is a Nordic must see. You can even visit the IKEA used in Bergen!

Varg Veum

Varg Veum is a Norwegian crime novel series set in Bergen. We are rather surprised that Varg Veum isnt widely accepted in the Nordic Noir community, especially considering its popularity in Norway and the quality of the writing. Much like the Wallander series, it has been adapted into a series of films – all of which focus centrally around a particular crime. Played by Trond Espen Seim (known for his role in The Legacy), the films are excellent and I’d put them as a staple of Nordic Noir. They aren’t widely available with subs which may be part of the problem, but I’d still recommend getting your hands on one of the movies for a more raw taste of noir.


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.