Scandinavian films at the Krakow Film Festival

The Krakow Film Festival has kicked off in Poland, and features a special focus on Swedish film plus many exciting new Scandinavian films. You can get your tickets or more info here.


Here is the lineup at the festival:

Documentary Competition

Homo Sacer ‘The Sacred or the Accursed Man’ (DK/SWE)

Directed by Lode Kuylenstierna

A film from the 2011 riots in London uploaded to the Internet ignited a firestorm and the young immigrant who robbed an injured student lying on the street was recognised. In fact, it was a hoax used by the documentary thriller directors to uncover the mechanisms of creating and receiving media messages. The double meaning of the concept of homo sacer also makes a starting point for the reflections on the way in which “others” are perceived today.

Reflections (SWE)

Directed by Sara Broos

On her mother’s 60th birthday the director organised their trip together to a Latvian spa hoping that they would come close to each other, which eventually did not happen. Instead, she made a very intimate film about her unconventional artistic family in which she also touched upon the issues of aging, anorexia and female physiology. The film is a painful family psychotherapy carried out by means of the camera and an extensive collection of archival materials kept at home.

Short Film Competition

I Was a Winner (SWE)

Directed by Jonas Odell

A confession of three compulsive gamers presented in three spaces, characteristic for the virtual environment of each of them. The characters hidden in the bodies of their avatars talk about what addiction to video games led them to and to what extent it deconstructed their happy, so far, lives. For some, a game was an escape, for others a challenge, but it turned out a trap for all. In his film with the cynical title I Was a Winner, Odell shows the devastating power of an addition and the price one pays for it.

Nisse’s Adventures on Land and at Sea (SWE)

Directed by Mia Blomgren

Nisse´s Adventures on Land and at Sea is an animated portrait based on the journals of 87-year old Nisse Andersson, a sailor who travelled the world. The subsequent pages of his diary are the stops in the character’s journey through his life: photographs, sailor’s tattoos and short memories of women that Nisse met aplenty in his life. The most important was Britta and Nisse thinks about her often. Blomgren and Swantesson’s film is a nostalgic and warm story about a man who lived his life to the full and, today, in his old age, does not regret anything.

The Radio Amateur (SWE)

Directed by Lars Persson

In the deep countryside of Northern Sweden, Tage, who is blind, lives alone in a house near the forest. Few people have visited him since his wife died. The man is an amateur radio operator and contacts over the radio are, in fact, the only ones he has with the outside world. One summer night a thief, Jonas, arrives at his house. Tage is convinced it is his son, Tommy. Persson’s perverse film shows a true understanding arising, even if just for a while, between the would-be father and son.

Mr Sand (DK)

Directed by Soetkin Verstegen

Mr Sand is an animation that goes back to the times when city theatres were filled with the crowds curious about the invention of the cinematograph. The extraordinary atmosphere of the first shows, their great popularity and unfathomable influence on the minds of spectators were among the multitude of experiences, hard to define explicitly, related to the contact with the new genre of art. In his film, Soetkin Verstegen, who presents the chronicler’s recollection from this pioneering period in the context of a legend about Mr Sand, defines cinema as a tool of mass illusion.

Tsunami (DK)

Directed by Sofie Kampmark

Sofie Kampmark’s animation is a symbolic story about coming to terms with loss. Haru survived the tsunami and today lives in a house ruined by the elements. Although he is trying to live a normal life, the horrors from the recent past keep haunting him. Haru lives, or rather lasts, in the world that makes no sense. His fear and the feeling of imprisonment materialise in the form of the Sea Spirit who lives with him. Subtle in its graphic design and extremely vivid at the same time, Tsunami shows the difficult path leading to revival.

DocFilmMusic Competition

Konko (SWE)

A great musical revolution is going on in Africa at the moment. The combination of traditional sounds and modern technologies creates an important message, sent both to the residents of the continent and outside it. The film is a journey through Dakar, Accra, Lagos and Luanda, all the way to Johannesburg. It presents not only the local music scene but also local moods. More than ever, music has become an expression of the Pan-African identity and a testimony to the political and social transformation.

Festival Award Winners

Don Juan (SWE/FIN)

Oleg is 22, has autism and still lives with his mother. The woman has tried everything “to make a man out of him”, as she says. Oleg regularly visits a psychotherapist, takes part in an art therapy, hypnosis and theatre classes but still fails to meet the expectations of his mother, disappointed with her life and son. The friendship that he makes during play rehearsals turns out to the best therapeutic tool and a true breakthrough in the boy’s life.

Focus on Sweden


Directed by Lovisa Siren

They say that the world of film is dominated by men. Young actresses who come to castings are allegedly willing to do a lot to get the part they have dreamt of. What if the roles are reversed? This short film shows an audition for the film of a young female director. The woman behind the camera knows precisely what she wants from actors. Or, maybe, she is not driven by the need to find a perfect actor only, but also the one to demonstrate female domination?

Dear Director

Directed by Marcus Lindeen

Ingmar Bergman’s film From the Life of Marionettes has made such a great impression on Kazzrie Jaxen, a jazz pianist, that she decided to write a personal letter to the director. For her, the film has become the beginning of a mental journey into the distant past which made her discover that she is not alone in this world and may have a twin brother. The letter to Ingmar Bergman makes the creative axis of this documentary in which the director, by means of the American pianist, tries to convey the message that, in fact, every life may begin anew.


Directed by Charlotta Miller

Katrin is sitting in her apartment apathetically after she was dumped by her boyfriend. Time goes by while the girl is trying to survive the bad day. Suddenly, she can hear an older woman screaming outside. Curious, she starts watching the scene out of her window. Inspired by this event, Katrin decides to face her ex‑partner.

The Girl Who Saved My Life

Directed by Hogir Horori

The director Hogir Hirori leaves his pregnant wife in Sweden and sets out on a journey to his homeland, Kurdistan, to tell the story of Kurdish refugees. When he meets a sick girl on his way, he does not yet realise how great her impact on his life will become. By coincidence, little Souad becomes the protagonist of the documentary and her disappearance begins a new, intriguing plot in the entire story.

Incident by a Bank

Directed by Ruben Ostlund

An ordinary day in a city centre. Two men notice a strange situation in the street. They observe a bank robbery and record the entire event using a mobile phone camera. Then everything goes back to normal, the quality of recording becomes more important than the incident itself. Shot using one camera, without any cuts, based on the foreground and background images, the film involves the viewers into the story and makes them silent witnesses of the situation that shows how people react to the unexpected.

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

Directed by Stig Bjorkman

This portrait of one of the greatest Hollywood stars was made by means of her own words. The director Stig Björkman used unknown private notes, letters and interviews with children and the people who had an opportunity to get to know Bergman. Taking advantage of her private visual archives, he created an intimate portrait of this extremely talented actress and fascinating woman who experienced the same extent of reverence as condemnation from the members of her audience.

Las Palmas

Directed by Johannes Nyholm

A middle‑aged lady goes on holiday to a sunny country where she tries to make new friends and have a good time. The main part is played by a one‑year old girl who is the director’s daughter. She is accompanied by puppets.

Martha and Niki

Directed by Tora Mårtens

Martha and Niki, two Swedish girls of African descent who have achieved significant success in hip-hop dancing, must face the flip side of the same coin when it turns out that not always may they stand on the top level of the podium. The films tells the story of friendship put to a hard test and, at the same time, presents a study of the identity of the characters, who, despite many similarities, have a completely different view of their ethnic background.

Moms on Fire

Directed by Joanna Rytel

In a Swedish housing estate, two fiends live on two floors. Both have little children already and are heavily pregnant. Day after day, they sit on a couch and try to survive the day wondering what they will be doing after the delivery. Their children take care of themselves commenting on what is happening in the adults’ room. Fathers are completely absent. At some point, the friendship between the mothers becomes increasingly more intimate.

MonaLisa Story

Directed by Jessica Nettelbladt

Eight years from the life of the eponymous protagonist who says that she was high when she was born. In an insightful and brutally candid way the camera captures her everyday struggle with addiction to heroine, numerous attempts to straighten out her life and a tempestuous relationship with her family. This is an extremely poignant story that dispels all myths about the positive sides of drug use and shows their destructive impact, which is much nearer reality.

Nice People

Directed by Karin af Klintberg, Anders Helgeson

Eight years from the life of the eponymous protagonist who says that she was high when she was born. In an insightful and brutally candid way the camera captures her everyday struggle with addiction to heroine, numerous attempts to straighten out her life and a tempestuous relationship with her family. This is an extremely poignant story that dispels all myths about the positive sides of drug use and shows their destructive impact, which is much nearer reality.

Pervert Park

Directed by Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors

The filmmakers go to the United States in order to give voice to those whom many would refuse to listen to. The specially created community called Florida Justice Transitions is home to sexual offenders who cannot find their own place in the real world after serving time in prison. In a district hailed as “Pervert Park”, they try to adjust themselves to the life among society again. The film presents their conditions of life and, above all, reveals their very private confessions.

A Simpler Life

Directed by Gunhild Enger

In perfect weather, in a perfect house in a perfect garden, there lives a middle-aged couple. Ing-Marie is obsessed with exercising while Carl loves working around the house. To make their life easier, they come up with and take advantage of all kinds of technological inventions. A Simpler Life is an ironic story about what to do to live a better life.

The Swedish Theory of Love

Directed by Erik Gandini

The film is an attempt to face the stereotypical and extremely idealistic perception of Sweden (and the Nordic counties in general) as a land of happiness. In his film essay, the director Erik Gandini tries to verify this view. Looking for a flaw, he explores the true nature of the Swedish society in minute detail. It turns out that absolute freedom and complete independence are accompanied by loneliness and alienation.

Ten Meter Tower

Directed by Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck

A jump from a 10-metre high springboard to the swimming pool means that you have to deal with your shaking knees, overcome your fear and yourself. The young, the old, the fat and the skinny alike are shown at the top of the 10-metre tower. It is not clear at all who will manage to jump at once, who will do after a few attempts and who will climb down the ladder. The struggle with your own fear never ends.

tord and Tord

Directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr

One day Tord accidentally walks in to the apartment next to his own. Another person named Tord lives there, he has just moved in. Tord and Tord start to spend time with each other.

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.