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The new Nordic films and TV series to see in 2018

With every new year comes a new selection of exciting films and television series to look forward to. And just like 2017, 2018 is going to be an excellent year for Nordic content. Here is a list of the films and TV series to keep an eye out for!

Denmark

The House That Jack Built

Directed by Lars von Trier

Starring Riley KeoughUma ThurmanMatt DillonEd SpeleersBruno GanzSiobhan Fallon HoganSofie GråbølMarijana JankovicDavid Bailie, Ji-tae Yu

Expected release: May 2018, possibly for the Cannes Film Festival?

There’s no denying Lars von Trier is one of the most known auteurs in the world today, and the Danish director has created a controversial name for himself both through his work and his actions. His next film, The House That Jack Built, has me pretty excited. It’ll be nice to see how Trier tells this crime/thriller story, which follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer over the course of twelve years and depicts the murders that truly develop Jack as a serial killer.

Journal 64

Directed by Christoffer Boe

Starring Fares FaresNikolaj Lie KaasSøren Pilmark

Release date: 4th October 2018

If you’re a huge fan of the Department Q series like I am, you will be pretty sad to hear this is the last film of the franchise with Fares Fares and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, who have done an excellent job as Assad and Carl Mørck. Luckily the rest of the novels have been picked up for adaptation, but the future remains unclear on just how they’ll be made and how good they’ll be.

Journal 64 is the fourth film in the Department Q series and follows Carl and Assad as they investigate a series of mysterious disappearances from 1987 that are all eerily connected to the same person. Considering Denmark has had a pretty dismal year at the box office and the Department Q films always break records, I can imagine the industry is looking forward to this film.

Så længe jeg lever (As Long as I Live)

Directed by Ole Bornedal

Starring Rasmus BjergHenrik Noël OlesenHarald Kaiser Hermann

Release date: 6th March 2018

A biographical drama, Så længe jeg lever is the story of one of Denmark’s greatest musicians, John Mogensen, his success and failure throughout life as an artist, husband and father – from childhood, through his time in Four Jacks to his late success as a solo artist until his death in 1977. Bornedal is famous for 1994’s Nightwatch and released the silly Small Town Killers in 2017. I am excited for his leap into the biography genre!

Liberty  Television series

Created by Asger Leth

Starring Connie NielsenCarsten BjørnlundSofie Gråbøl, Charlie Karumi, Magnus Krepper

Release date: 25th February 2018

Starring the queen of Nordic Noir, Sofie Gråbøl, and the star of The Legacy, Carsten Bjørnlund, Liberty is an exciting new Danish television series that is based on the novel of the same name by Jakob Ejersbo.

The story is set in Tanzania during the 1980’s and follows two young men from different backgrounds. Christian is the son of Danish expats, while Marcus works as a houseboy for a Swedish family and hopes they will eventually take him back to Europe with them. While their friendship struggles in the country, the country also suffers from corruption.

Photo: Ronnie Petersen

Love & War

Directed by Kasper Torsting

Starring Ulrich ThomsenThure LindhardtSebastian Jessen

When the Danish man Esben flees from World War I, he is forced to abandon his wife and child in order to safe his own life. Hiding close to his home he can now observe how the German officer Gebhard slowly replaces his role as the man of the house. Before its too late he has to decide weather to keep hiding or stand up for what he believes in, even if it will cost him his life.

The Shamer’s Daughter II

Directed by Ask Hasselbalch

Starring Jakob OftebroAllan HydeNicolas BroSøren MallingDejan Cukic, Stina Ekblad

Expected to be released some time in 2018

A sequel to the hit film of 2016, this fantasy adventure feature’s an all-star cast and is sure to be a festival hit. The Shamer’s Daughter, Dina, with the magical power of compelling people to admit their most secret shame, must save her family with her newly found father. But he is a Blackmaster, with the power to make people see and believe things that aren’t true, so Dina must deal with having inherited this horrible power, while forging a relationship with a father she fears and mistrusts.

Domino

Directed by Brian de Palma

Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Carice van Houten, Guy Pearce

Expected to be released some time in 2018

A Danish-made crime thriller with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Guy Pearce? How exciting! Domino will be shot in English but really does sound interesting. A Copenhagen police officer seeks justice for his partner’s murder by a mysterious man.

Greyzone Television series

Directed by Jesper W. Nielsen

Starring Birgitte Hjort SørensenTova MagnussonJoachim FjelstrupArdalan Esmaili

Expected to be released some time in 2018

Any television series with Birgitte Hjort Sørensen is exciting in my opinion; it’ll be nice to see her on TV again. Also, Ardalan Esmaili is an actor to watch as his current film, The Charmer, is creating buzz around festivals. Jesper W. Nielsen is also an established director, with his 2016 film The Day Will Come an internationally successful project. Not much is known of this new Danish series, so we’ll keep you updated with any developments!

Warrior Television series

Directed by Christoffer Boe

Starring Dar SalimDanica CurcicLars RantheJakob OftebroSøren Malling

Expected to be released some time in 2018

2018 is shaping up to be an excellent year for Scandinavian television drama. Warrior, featuring an all-star cast, is a crime drama about community, loyalty and treachery amongst war veterans, bikers and the police force, with a love story surrounding the war veteran CC and the police officer Louise.

Wild Witch

Directed by Kaspar Munk

“Wild Witch” is a fantasy film for the whole family based on the popular book series by Lene Kaaberbøl.

Finland

The Guardian Angel

Directed by Arto Halonen

Starring Josh Lucas, Pilou Asbæk, Rade Serbedzija, Christopher Fulford, Cyron Melville, Johannes Lassen

Expected release: Some time in 2018

Equally Danish and Finnish, The Guardian Angel has picked off a full marketing campaign via social media, all showing us promising images of this crime thriller involving hypnotism. The film is based on the true story of the most incredible series of hypnosis crimes in history. That premise alone has me pretty excited! The Guardian Angel stars Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, who has made quite a name for himself after Borgen and now Game of Thrones. Honestly, anything with him in the leading role has me hooked.

The Violin Player

Directed by Paavo Westerberg

Starring Matleena Kuusniemi, Olavi Uusivirta, Samuli Edelmann, Kim Bodnia

Release date: January 2018

A star violin player, Karin, has to end her stellar career when an accident tragically damages her fingers. She starts teaching students who are twenty years younger than her, only to find herself falling in love with Antti, one of her students. They are not an easy match, both being passionate about the music and overly ambitious about their careers. The Violin Player is a romantic drama about giving up on your dreams and letting your ambitions lead you.

Impaled Rektum

Directed by Jukka Vidgren, Juuso Laatio

Starring Johannes Holopainen, Minka Kuustonen

Release date: 9th February 2018

Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this film judging from the title. But hey, it sounds fun! Here’s the synopsis: A born looser once failed in a children’s song contest tries to overcome his sickening stage fright and lead the worst heavy metal band in Finland to the wildest heavy festival of Norway.

Photo by Cata Portin

Dark Christ

Directed by Klaus Härö

Starring Heikki Nousiainen, Pirjo Lonka, Amos Brotherus, Stefan Sauk

The next movie from The Fencer director, Dark Christ is about an elderly art dealer who wants to make his last big deal. He has discovered a heavily under-priced painting named Dark Christ. He borrows all the savings from his grandson in order to leave the art scene as a winner. This is when everything starts to go terribly wrong. 

 

Stupid Young Heart

Directed by Selma Vilhunen

To be released some time in 2018.

Selma Vilhunen is one of Finland’s most exciting directors, with her two most recent films, Little Wing and Hobbyhorse Revolution proving to be international successes. Her next film, Stupid Young Heart, follows Lenni and Kiira who, as teenagers, discover they are going to have a baby. They decide to keep it and then have to figure out how to grow up before the baby is born. Iceland

And Breathe Normally

Directed by Isold Uggadottir

Starring Þorsteinn BachmannGunnar JónssonKristín Þóra HaraldsdóttirSveinn Geirsson

At the edge of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, two women’s lives will intersect – for a brief moment – while trapped in unforeseen circumstances. An intimate bond will form between an Icelandic mother and a refugee from Guinea-Bissau as both strategize in private to get their lives back on track.

Let Me Fall

Directed by Baldvin Zophoníasson

Starring Þorsteinn BachmannAtli Oskar FjalarssonBjörn Stefánsson, Sólveig Arnarsdóttir, Einar Gunn

Expected to be released in Iceland on the 7th of September, with possible festival releases earlier.

When 15-year-old Magnea meets Stella, everything changes. Stella’s no-holds-barred lifestyle drags them both into a world of drugs, which brings serious consequences for each of them, and their relationship. Twelve years later their paths cross again, and a reckoning between them becomes unavoidable.

Mihkel

Directed by Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon

Starring Tómas Lemarquis, Atli Rafn Sigurðsson, Pääru Oja, Kaspar Velberg, Greete-Elena Priisalu

Mihkel and Vera dream of moving to beautiful Iceland, a land of relative opportunity and equality. Events take an unexpected turn, however, and Mihkel ends up being betrayed by his oldest friend, Igor. An epic and biblical tragedy based on real events.

Norway

The Quake

Directed by John Andreas Andersen

Starring Kristoffer JonerAne Dahl TorpJonas Hoff Oftebro

Expected release date: 31st August 2018 (possibly with an earlier screening at the Norwegian International Film Festival)

Okay, when The Wave was released I thought it was the silliest idea ever. Norway? A tidal wave? Please. Having grown up in Australia and hearing about events like the Boxing Day tsunami in Indonia, ignorant ol’ me couldn’t imagine a country like Norway having such a destructive event like that. But I was completely wrong; the film was based on a true possibility, and it was actually a pretty good movie. Sure, my Norwegian husband kept judging how Norway could go the ‘disaster movie’ route, but I was completely invested in the film.

Now, when they announced a sequel, I am now just as skeptical as I was with the first one. I mean, it’s also based on a true story. But The Wave‘s director Roar Uthaug isn’t returning (too busy with the new Tomb Raider) and it features the same family, who I feel at this point must feel pretty unlucky. Still, I like to be proven wrong and I’m curious how they work a disaster movie sequel.

Queen of Ice

Directed by Anne Sewitsky

Starring Ine Marie Wilmann, Valene Kane, Eldar Skar, Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Mordal

Currently in post-production, so it’ll be released some time this year.

Queen of Ice stars Ine Marie Wilmann in the lead as Sonja who goes to Hollywood in 1936 to become a movie star. Her first film breaks the box office by selling the most tickets in the world in 1937. She becomes one of the richest women in her time, always surrounded by fans, lovers and family, never alone. As she gets older the spotlight is fading, but she refuses to quit. And it all collapses when she falls, drunk on the slushy ice, in Rio de Janeiro.

Mortal

Directed by André Øvredal

Starring Nat Wolff, Priyanka Bose, Iben Akerlie, Arthur Hakalahti

Release date: 15th November 2018

Mythology is severely underrepresented in mainstream Nordic film in my opinion; after all, it was Odin, Thor, Loki and all those wonderful stories that defined the early years of Scandinavia and Iceland. Luckily next year we’ll see a film heavily inspired from mythology, and there is no more perfect director to take it on than André Øvredal, who directed the hit Troll HunterMortal is a fantasy adventure origin story about a young man discovering he has God-like powers based on ancient Norwegian mythology.

Congo

Directed by Marius Holst

Starring Aksel Hennie and Tobias Santelmann

Based on a true story, Congo is about the Norwegian/UK citizen Joshua French and the Norwegian Tjostolv Moland who were sentenced to death in Congo in 2008 after being accused of the death of their Congolese driver. The two claimed they were ambushed by gunmen. Their story rapidly escalated into a political and diplomatic case known as the ‘Congo case’ as the two men were carrying military ID at the time of their arrest and were also condemned for spying for the Norwegian government, an accusation rejected by the latter authorities.

The case took a new twist in 2013 when Moland was found dead in his cell. French claimed his friend had committed suicide, but in 2014 he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2017 French (35) was finally released from prison and returned to Norway after the Congolese and Norwegian governments agreed on a ‘humanitarian deal’.

Amundsen

Directed by Espen Sandberg

Release date: 1st August 2018

The life story of Arctic explorer, Roald Amundsen.

Sweden

Conspiracy of Silence  Television series

Directed by Charlotte Brändström

Starring Josefin Asplund, Jens HulténSimon J. Berger, Cedomir Djordjevic, Krister Henriksson

Expected release date is some time in 2018

A lot of people are now claiming that Nordic Noir is dead, yet Scandinavia (and Sweden in particular) can’t help but continuously release amazing crime series. Conspiracy of Silence is one of 2018’s anticipated crime series, possibly because Wallander star Krister Henriksson has been cast in the series. Here’s the description of the series from IMDb:

Robert Kastell returns to Sweden after having been presumed dead for thirty years. A personal tragedy has made him leave his exile, and sent him on a last journey of revenge – – the target being the successful arms trade broker Anders Speths. Robert is soon discovered by Rolf Höglund, a conspiracy theorist and former journalist. Rolfs tries to persuade Robert to focus on exposing the double standards and illegal deals behind the Swedish arms industry, rather that his personal vendetta. Robert knows that much of what Rolf talks about is true. He was himself a part of this dirty business before he faked his death and fled the country. When Rolf mysteriously disappears, his daughter Åsa gets very worried and filled with guilt. The last thing she said to her father was that he was crazy conspiracy theorist and an alcoholic. Her husband Mario uses Rolf’s history with addiction to ease her worries. He’s probably only on a binge. He’ll soon turn up again. Meanwhile, Anders Speths – – who is helping his daughter Johanna back after a tough battle with mental illness/OCD – – is offered to negotiate a big weapon deal between the Indonesian state and the Belgian/Swedish weapon manufacturer Sandersvik, run by CEO Maggie van Haal. Sandersvik has been in a negative spiral for years and this new deal may be just what the company needs to break it.

Rig 45  Television series

Directed by Per Hanefjord

Starring Gary Lewis, Jakob OftebroDavid Dencik, Catherine Walker, Björn Bengtsson, Søren Malling, Lisa Henni

Expected to be released some time in June 2018

Speaking of Swedish crime series, whoever came up with the idea to put a crime thriller on an oil rig is a genius, and very Scandinavian. Rig 45 has an all-star cast and has the tagline ‘one crew – one killer’. Yes. Andrea (Catherine Walker), a damage regulator from Benthos Oil, is sent out to Rig 45 two days before Christmas to investigate a fatal accident. When starting to investigate, Andrea finds that the crew of the rig is unwilling to talk to her and she has a hard time finding out the truth. Just when the rig is hit by a hurricane and all forms of communication to the mainland is cut off, the crew realize that the accident is in fact a murder, and they now know that they are in real danger. With a murderer amongst them, questions are being asked – who is the killer? Rig 45 will have a mix of English, Danish and Swedish, so definitely keep an eye out for this series.

Tårtgeneralen

Directed by Filip Hammar, Fredrik Wikingsson

Starring Mikael PersbrandtHelena BergströmTomas von Brömssen

Release date: 17 January 2018

Fantastic cast and fantastic directors is almost enough to make for a good movie, but it is the plot that really sells Tårtgeneralen. Set in 1984, Hans Pettersson (Hasse P.) decides to create the largest sandwich cake ever made in order to put his home town, Köping, on the map. Sign us up!

The Dying Detective Television series

Directed by Kristian Petri

Starring Rolf LassgårdHelena Af SandebergAlexej Manvelov, Angelika Prick, Henrik Norlén, Amanda Ooms

Release date: January 2018

Another crime series coming from Sweden in 2018, we can’t help but be expected about this one due to its leading man: Rolf Lassgård.

Young Astrid

Directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen

Starring Henrik RafaelsenBjörn Gustafsson, Trine Dyrholm, Maria Bonnevie, Magnus Krepper, Alba August

Release date: March 2018

Astrid Lindgren is one of the most prominent figures in Swedish literary history, and her Pippi Longstocking character has become a worldwide household name. I am so excited to see this biography about the author, even more excited because the film will be Swedish-made and in the Swedish language rather than being sold to some big international studio for an English version. And with that fantastic cast, including the European Shooting Star for 2018, Alba August, it’s going to be a fantastic film.

The Real Estate

Directed by Måns Månsson, Axel Petersén

To be released on the 16th of March 2018 in Sweden.

The next film from Månsson, who previously directed The YardThe Real Estate is about Nojet who inherits an apartment building. But the building turns on her and she realises that the cash cow was in fact a curse. She takes control of the building by becoming more ruthless than the business around it.

 

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.