Nordic films at the Istanbul Film Festival

Where? Istanbul, Turkey

When? 5 – 15 April 2017


Wolf and Sheep

Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat

Wolf and Sheep, which premiered at Director’s Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival and received the top prize, is a folkloric docu-drama; a first feature concerned with ethnography. Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat focuses on life in her homeland, which is always equated with the terminology of violence by the West, by filtering out every prejudiced notion. Therefore, this film is populated by children, shepherds, goats, tradition and fresh mountain air instead of ISIS, guns or bombs. Wolf and Sheep is concerned with life rather than death as it centers on life in a remote village.

Istanbul FF Link

Nordic Film Database


Directed by Lars von Trier

With a minimal, stage-like set incorporating only chalk outlines of streets and houses on the floor, Dogville is set in the small, fictional town of Dogville. The film tells the story of Grace Mulligan, a fugitive on the run who must gain the trust of the townspeople to be able to stay. What starts off as Grace’s voluntary participation in the community gives way to an increasingly abusive dynamic. Her presence catalyses dark impulses within the town’s citizens and raises complex issues of morality, accountability, power and human relationships.

Istanbul FF Link

Nordic Film Database



Directed by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson

What if matters of the heart mess best friends? Thor and Kristjan are two teenagers living and bored of the droning life in a small fishing town in the east of Iceland. They are very close, best friends, that is until they meet two girls: Beta and Hanna. This is the first time Thor falls in love, with Beta. Though the same goes for Kristjan, who is in love with his best friend. As Thor distances himself, Kristjan feels more desperate.

Istanbul FF Link

Nordic Film Database



Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg

The early 80s…After serving for a year in the military, 19 year-old Dag returns to his family that eagerly waits for him in his village. His father Ingemann is the chief of the voluntary fire squad. What nobody knows in the village is Dag is the anti-thesis of his father: he is an arsonist. The residents have no clue about the grave danger that awaits them. Erik Skjoldbjærg, who came to international prominence with Insomnia (1997) continues to tell dark Northern tales.

Istanbul FF Link

Nordic Film Database

Liberation Day

Directed by Ugis Olte, Morten Traavik

One day a rock band visited North Korea for the first time, and perhaps the world was not the same any more… In August 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day which marks the end of Japanese colonial rule in Korea, Slovenian cult band Laibach performed in Pyongyang. The set list included doom covers of songs from The Beatles and The Sound of Music. Liberation Day follows this controversial band and the process of setting up the historic concert, labeled by Slavoj Zizek as “the most fascinating cultural, ideological, political event of the 21st century so far.” As George Orwell said, all art is propaganda, and as Laibach reasserts, all propaganda is art.

Istanbul FF Link


Sami Blood

Directed by Amanda Kernell

Amanda Kernell’s debut feature tells the story of the cultural breaking-away of a girl from the Scandinavian Sami nation, one of the most self-enclosed and isolated societies in the world. Elle-Marja is a 14 year-old Sami girl. The racism of the 1930s hits her at her boarding school. She starts to dream of a different life and in order to reach her dream she must sever ties with both her family and her culture. Sami Blood fascinates with its detached narrative and the stunning performance of Hanna Alström as Elle-Marja.

Istanbul FF Link

Nordic Film Database

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.