Nordic films screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

About the festival

Where? Edinburgh, Scotland

When? 21 June – 2 July 2017

Festival website: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/



Last Men in Aleppo

Directed by Steen Johannessen, Feras Fayyad

Screening in Documentaries Strand

The shocking story of Khalid, Subhi, and Mahmoud: founding members of the Syrian Civil Defence (The White Helmets), battling to save lives amid the devastating effects of the 2016 siege of Aleppo. A harrowing but utterly essential watch, this award-winning documentary goes beyond the boundaries of mere reportage to delve deep into the everyday tragedies of the siege. As the White Helmets carry out their most horrific of tasks, stunning vignettes of a city in tatters are a pointed reminder of the real victims of war.

Festival Link

The Element of Crime

Directed by Lars von Trier

Starring Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Me Me Lai, Jerold Wells

Screening in Retrospective: The Future Is History Strand

The first instalment of his Europa trilogy, also including Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991), Lars von Trier’s atmospheric feature debut The Element of Crime follows an unconventional detective, played by veteran British actor Michael Elphick, as he hunts a serial killer through a dystopian post-World War III Europe. Shot with sodium lighting creating a sepia-like tone, Von Trier’s dark, dream-like vision of the future is a hybrid of film noir, psychological thriller and science fiction, with influences including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).

Festival Link


Directed by Fenar Ahmad

Starring Dar Salim, Roland Møller, Stine Fischer Christensen, Dulfi Al-Jabouri

Screening in European Perspectives Strand

Zaid has escaped the chains of his troubled upbringing to achieve financial stability, career success, and build a home with his wife in Copenhagen. When a local drugs gang kills his brother, Zaid risks his new privileged lifestyle to seek revenge. Surgeon by day, Zaid dons a mask by night, jumps on his motorbike, and hunts down the criminals who have done him wrong, returning to the struggling neighbourhood he escaped from years ago. Director Fenar Ahmad’s sophomore feature is a gritty, visual, high-concept thriller, making him a director to watch.

Festival Link


Tom of Finland

Directed by Dome Karukoski

Starring Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Pekka Strang

Screening in European Perspectives Strand

Tom of Finland, with its butch male figures in sexualised situations, is a defining portrait of 1970s-80s gay imagery. For its creator Touko Laaksonen, the images began as sketches sold in secret to underground fan-zines, before being discovered in America and consequently catapulting him to stardom. This delightful biopic follows Laaksonen from WWII soldier struggling to hide his sexuality, to gay icon in the leather bars of new York via love, loss and prejudice. An outstanding depiction of one man, his art, and their place in modern history.

Festival Link


The Oath

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

Starring Baltasar Kormákur, Hera Hilmar, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir, Auður Aradóttir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson

Screening in European Perspectives Strand

Respected surgeon Finnur’s concern for his unstable daughter Anna is heightened when she brings new boyfriend Óttar home and it becomes clear that he is a toxic influence and a catalyst for her drug habit. As Finnur attempts to take control of the situation for Anna’s sake, things quickly spiral out of hand, while Óttar’s arrogance and sense of power become increasingly problematic. This dark, shadowy and riveting thriller from auteur Baltasar Kormákur (who also stars) boasts strong performances, sweeping Icelandic vistas and a tension that is never compromised by implausibility.

Festival Link


The King’s Choice

Directed by Erik Poppe

Starring Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tuva Novotny, Rolf Kristian Larsen

Screening in European Perspectives Strand

Set over the course of three days in 1940, The King’s Choice defies WWII movie convention, shying away from excessive battles and instead focusing on the backstage events of a critical time in Norway’s history. When the Germans invade, Norwegian King Haakon VII, a ceremonial appointment, escapes Oslo. When Hitler insists that the King, and not the government, meet with the German envoy to negotiate, the future rests on his shoulders – surrender to the Nazis, or resign his country to years of assault and bloodshed.

Festival Link


Sami Blood

Directed by Amanda Kernell

Starring Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi, Julius Fleischanderl

Screening in European Perspectives Strand

Elle Marja is a teenage Sami girl forced to attend a brutal boarding school for Sami children where they are treated more like cattle at a market. Disgusted at how she is treated and made to feel, Elle Marja is desperate to escape the confines of her culture and race. Thriving on being away from her home life of herding reindeers in the wintery mountains, she dreams of escape. When one night she encounters a group of Swedish soldiers partying in the woods, her dreams slowly turn to reality…

Festival Link

The Inertia Variations

Directed by Johanna St Michaels

Screening in Retrospective: The Future Is History Strand

Taking its inspiration from the poem of the same name by John Tottenham, Johanna St Michaels’ The Inertia Variations is a deep, moving, and meaningful insight into the life and work of THE THE’s Matt Johnson. This endearingly candid picture of the enigmatic Johnson finds him valiantly exposing his heart on his sleeve as he extracts himself from the clutches of creative inertia, St Michaels turning his hesitation at the artistic crossroads into a compelling work of conceptual art in its own right.

Festival Link


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.