Nordic films heading down under to the Scandinavian Film Festival


For Aussies, it can be difficult to get our hands on some quality Nordic drama. For fans of Nordic Noir, for example, they were only just treated to The Legacy I, which is about to finish on SBS – only a year and a half after it premiered in Denmark and with the second season about to air in the UK.

With various international film festivals throughout the year, such as the French Film Festival and the Spanish Film Festival, it is nice to see Nordic cinema added to the line-up. Following the success of the debut Scandinavian Film Festival in 2014, the 2015 program has been announced by Palace Cinemas. What is a highlight from the line-up already is how new these films are – The Absent One doesn’t even have a British release yet and The Grump has just wrapped up in Finland. So Aussies, this is a great chance to get along to some quality cinema! Here’s a quick look at the first films announced at the Scandinavian Film Festival:

Here is Harold (Her er Harold, Norway) is a Norwegian road movie about a man who sets out to kidnap the founder of IKEA. After his successful furniture business comes to an end when IKEA opens  right next door, he feels the best and only option is to head to Sweden and kidnap his arch nemesis. The film was shot partly in Bergen, as well as northern Norway and of course Sweden!


Life in a Fishbowl (Vonarstraeti, Iceland) has become one of Iceland’s move successful movies ever. The film picked up Best Actor, Actress, Director and seven more awards at the Eddas alone, in addition to travelling around the globe. Life in a Fishbowl tells three tales of three people who have a last effect on one another. The naturalistic portrait of everyday life in Reykjavik on the eve of the country’s 2008 economic meltdown touched a nerve on home-turf, but this global success shows it is one not to be missed. Read our review

The Grump (Mielensapahoittaja, Finland) has just smashed the box office in Finland, and is now heading down south before continuing its festival journey. The film is based on a series of Finnish radio plays, and tells the story of a set-in-his-ways, 80 year old farmer from rural Finland, who raises hell when he is forced to move in with his city-dwelling son. We are loving rural vs city dynamics at the moment (see our new magazine) – so this is a great film to check out.

Underdog (Svenskjavel, Sweden) is another Nordic film that is gaining a lot of attention overseas. The film is about a 23 year old called Dino who dreams of a different life. Like an abundance of Swedes her age, she has fled the mass unemployment of her home country for a more worthwhile existence in Oslo. But now her life is caught in a destructive loop of temporary jobs, financial trouble and hard partying, until she lands a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy ex-sportsman. This is an excellent film about the transnational relations between Sweden and Norway. Read our review


Out of Nature (Mot Naturen, Norway) is a film we have been raving about for the last month! As you can see, it has even become the cover of our new magazine. In this Norwegian film. The various dynamics of contemporary middle-class life and the Norwegian penchant for idealising nature are placed at the centre of the narrative. Read our interview with the director here


Turning to everyone’s favourite genre, Nordic Noir, we are lucky to be able to see The Absent One (Fasandraeberne, Denmark), the Danish sequel to The Keeper of Lost Causes. In this film, a troubling affair involving the murder of twin siblings is re-opened by the Copenhagen cold case division after the kids father commits suicide. Read our review

Lastly, back in Sweden, Young Sophie Bell (Unga Sophie Bell, Sweden) is the debut feature by Amanda Adolfsson, and the second film to come out of Stockholm Film Festival’s scholarship for female directors. In the drama, two University friends move to Berlin after graduating, but their dreams are shattered one when suddenly and mysteriously disappears.

The full program will be launching in June, and you can track the event through social media or their website.

We will be covering the entirety of this festival and providing reviews of all the films.

For more information visit www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com

The Second Scandinavian Film Festival presented by Palace

  • NSW 8-26 July
  • VIC 9-26 July
  • ACT 14-26 July
  • QLD 16-26 July
  • BYRON 17-23 July
  • SA 22-29 July
  • WA 23-29 July
  • TAS 23-29 July
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.