Nordic films at the Glasgow Film Festival 15th – 26th February 2017

Festival name: Glasgow Film Festival

Where? Glasgow, Scotland

When? 15th – 26th February 2017

Website: http://glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival/whats-on/all

Films screening:



Across the Waters (Fuglene over sundet)

Directed by Nicolo Donato

Brotherhood director Nicolo Donato returns with a thrilling drama inspired by the actions of his grandfather during the Second World War. In 1943, rumours circulate that the Germans are about to deport the entire population of 7,500 Danish Jews. Jewish jazz musician Arne Itkin (David Dencik from Men & Chicken) decides that he must flee the country with his wife Irina (Danica Curcic) and five-year-old son, to seek sanctuary in Sweden. In their darkest hour who can they trust and who will seek to profit from their plight?

Our interview with David Dencik

Our review of Across the Waters

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The Good Postman

Directed by Tonislav Hristov

On the eastern edge of Bulgaria, bordering Turkey, amid wizened orchards and an ancient patchwork of farmlands, sits a poor and sleepy hamlet that time seems to have forgotten. Despite the sparse population of silver-haired citizens wistful for the brighter days of communism, democracy is in full force as the village prepares in earnest for its mayoral election. Meanwhile, an endless train of Syrian refugees bound for Europe silently traipses through the rural terrain, visible through the binoculars of one gentle and taciturn candidate, the postman.

Told through indelible, lush images, this quietly cinematic film exposes seismic divisions regarding immigration and what it means to be European in an age of global displacement and shifting political systems. With dry humour and remarkable sensitivity toward its beguiling ensemble of characters, Tonislav Hristov’s documentary plays like a scripted narrative, with the postman as the film’s grounding hero—a man who sees encroaching darkness not in the desperate exiles filing across his land, but in his own increasingly closed-off and distrustful town.

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The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Hymyilevä Mies)

Directed by Juho Kuosmanen

Finland’s feel-good Oscar contender has been hailed as the anti-Rocky for its charming salute to modest, unassuming boxer Olli Mäki (Jarkko Lahti). Juho Kousmanen’s award-winning debut feature lovingly evokes the feel of the 1960s by shooting on stunning 16mm, black and white film. In 1962, Mäki carried the hopes of the nation as he trained for a Helsinki showdown with American Davey Moore, the bantamweight champion of the world. Mäki is feeling the pressure, a situation only exacerbated by his growing romance with Raija (Oona Airola). What price is glory, when love decides to pay a call?

Our interview with Juho Kuosmanen

Our review of The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki

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Love and Fury (Syysprinssi)

Directed by Alli Haapasalo

Based on Anja Kauranen-Snellman’s best-selling book Syysprinssi (Autumn Prince), Love and Fury depicts love at its most vibrant, wild and heartbreaking. Surrounded by rebellion and change in 1980s Helsinki, two writers fall into a passionate love affair, which acts as a creative catalyst for Inka (Laura Birn) but potentially leads to Juhana’s (Lauri Tilkanen) weakened grip on reality. A furious and beautiful romantic drama with incredible performances from the two leads, Love and Fury is a film for anyone who has ever felt the rapture of love and loss.

Our interview with Alli Haapasalo

Our review of Love and Fury

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The Other Side of Hope (Toivon Tuolla Puolen)

Directed by Aki Kaurismäki

Six years after the sublime, award-winning Le Havre, Aki Kaurismäki returns with the second film in a planned trilogy focusing on port cities. Kaurismäki regular Sakari Kuosmanen stars as Wikstrom, a poker-playing restaurateur and former travelling salesman who crosses paths with a Syrian refugee (Sherwan Haji) who has just arrived in Finland. Shot on 35mm in Helsinki by Timo Salminen, The Other Side of Hope promises topicality and plaintive emotions as Kaurismäki tackles the most pressing of global issues: the plight of the refugee.

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Liberation Day

Directed by Ugis Olte, Morten Traavik

When the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea invited a western rock band to play in their country for the very first time, they chose Slovenian metal band Laibach. The potential culture clash couldn’t be more extreme as a totalitarian regime plays host to a band notorious for their deadpan cover versions of songs from The Sound of Music and their supposedly ironic obsession with fascistic and military iconography. The result is a funny and thoughtful documentary that winds up revealing more about life in Kim Jong-un’s North Korea than you could possibly have imagined.

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The Giant (Jätten)

Directed by Johannes Nyholm

A plaintive, tenderly felt debut feature, The Giant tells the haunting story of Rikard (Christian Andren), a severely deformed Swedish man with autism. Surrounded by friends and carers, Rikard confronts daily challenges but is also sustained by a rich inner life in which he imagines himself as a giant bounding across landscapes that would do Peter Jackson proud. In the real world, Rikard has a passion for pétanque and sets his sights on winning the Scandinavian Championships and reuniting with his estranged mother. An inventive, one-of-a-kind fable.

Our interview with Johannes Nyholm

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I Called Him Morgan

Directed by Kasper Collin

Lee Morgan was a formidable jazz trumpeter and band-leader who played on John Coltrane’s Blue Train and made more than two dozen records for Blue Note. As plaintive and mournful as one of Lee’s recordings, I Called Him Morgan attempts to unravel the tumultuous relationship between Morgan and his common law wife, Helen. Weaving together memories and music, archive footage and the sweet remembrances of jazz greats like Albert Heath, Billy Harper and Wayne Shorter, this is an entrancing reclamation of half-forgotten music history.

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Stockholm, My Love

Directed by Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins and cinematographer Christopher Doyle follow I Am Belfast (GFF16) with a heartfelt love letter to the Swedish capital. Blurring the boundary between documentary and drama, Stockholm, My Love marks the acting debut of Neneh Cherry. Gripped by post-traumatic depression architect Alva (Cherry) wanders the streets of Stockholm, reflecting on her relationship with her father, the city’s history as a refuge for migrants and the tragedy that haunts her. Cherry also performs new songs as part of a soundtrack that features artists ranging from Benny Andersson to Franz Berwald.

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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.