The Nordic films competing for the Dragon Award

The Goteborg Film Festival has announced its 2017 programme, which means we now know the Nordic films competing for the coveted Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film.

The festival takes place from the 27th of January, and you can view the whole programme here.

Here are the films nominated for the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film:

Tom of Finland



Touko Laaksonen sharpens his pencils and gains world fame as trailblazing illustrator Tom of Finland in this grandiose film about art, resistance and sexuality.

Today, gay icon Tom of Finland is a celebrated artist represented in the finest galleries. His homoerotic dreamworld, where genitals are always gigantic and muscles always tense, has even ended up on Finnish stamps. But at the start of Touko Laaksonen’s career, homosexuality was illegal in Finland and in the film he is quoted as saying it would be easier to get published in the Vatican. Dome Karukoski shows the illustrator’s life journey, from being a soldier during WWII, through violence and persecution in Helsinki, to his liberation in open-minded California. Triumphant art history and sexual revolution join together in this unforgettable and captivating film.

Beyond Dreams


Rojda Sekersöz’s feature-film debut delivers a much-awaited power punch. Never before have four women taken up so much space in a Swedish feature film!

The gang’s friendship and dreams are put to the test when Mirja comes out after having served a prison sentence. Mirja decides to break from her past and try a new life. She faces either being loyal to her sick mother and younger sister or the friends who truly were her family. Beyond Dreams is about who you are expected to be and who you want to be, both in the chosen group and society beyond. A refreshing and funny coming-of-age film about young women.

The Ex-Wife


With just as much humor as seriousness, The Ex-wife portrays three relations with three women. An accurate satire of the process of life—from falling in love to divorce.

The girlfriend Klara has recently fallen in love and wants nothing more than to hang out with her boyfriend. The mother-of-two Anna clocks how long it takes for her husband to cook baby formula. The ex-wife Vera can’t let go of her ex-husband. The feature-film debuting Katja Wik presents a squib right on the money about women’s tendency to, both consciously and unconsciously, limit themselves in their close relationships of two. Each frame conveys the film’s theme of power manipulation and Katja Wik’s neologism “victim-mentality rhetoric” (offerrollsretorik) is used by all parties as an effective weapon. Without stagnating in bitterness, The Ex-wife serves as a funhouse mirror reflecting this disturbing trait, which most of us can recognize, but which few dare to acknowledge.



An equally beautiful as brutal coming-of-age story set in a remote Icelandic fishing village. A heartfelt and disarming drama about growing up, coming out and breaking down.

The naturally stunning Icelandic environments are familiar from films like Bland män och får and Sparrows (both shown at GFF 2016), but here the emotional scenery looms more ominously, as a reflection of the internal chaos characterizing this dramatic teenage summer for the inseparable friends Thor and Kristján. Suddenly girls are more interesting than football, but one of them quickly finds out that his feelings for the other one have changed and deepened. Something that naturally complicates things for them both, and from the adult world there is little support to be found. Heartstone is a beautiful and warm film about friendship, but also a grim reminder about what awaits when childhood is over.

Sami Blood


Racism and colonial injustice in Amanda Kernell’s visually striking debut about a Sami teenage girl named Elle Marja, who dreams of an utterly different life.

The 1930s in Sápmi. 14-year-old Elle Marja attends a boarding school for Sami children, where she is the subject of harrassment as well as studies in racial biology. Feeling betrayed, rebellious and adventurous, she decides to forsake her Sami identity and make a new life for herself in the south. She steals her teacher’s clothes and gets on a train to Uppsala. Lene Cecilia Sparrok’s pitch-perfect performance as Elle Marja is sure to leave no one untouched in this deeply moving film, combining astonishing northern nature scenery with keen observations on the many faces of colonialism.

Little Wing


An independent 12-year-old gets tired of their immature mother and takes off on their own to search for their biological father in Selma Vilhunen’s congenial debut.
Varpu likes to ride horses and hang out with friends. But her mother has a hard time dealing with everyday things and is prone to feel sorry for herself. When things get awry it’s often Varpu who has to console her mother instead of the other way around. One day she gets fed up and leaves. After a rattling journey she finds her father who acts strangely but promises to come along when she is going to compete in horse jumping. He truly wants to make her happy, but it’s a hard thing for an odd loner to do. Little Wing is a captivating and compassionate film about growing up and being the one who’s most adult in the family, despite only being a child yourself.

The Man


Stunning about the male ego in a father-son drama set in the international artist scene in Copenhagen.

Søren Malling shines in the role as the internationally renowned artist Simon, who with natural authority runs his studio. His is the fixed star everyone listens to, but still becomes noticeably upset when an assistant happens to wear the same shirt as him. His son Casper (Jakob Oftebro) hasn’t been in contact with him and when he finally shows up, tensions immediately arise, since it turns out Casper is also in the world of art. With a humorous tone Charlotte Sieling portrays the exploits of both these cultural men in existential duel of artists.

Handle With Care

Norway, pictured

A self-occupied adoptive father regrets his decision and travels to Colombia to return his son in a strongly moving drama about fatherhood and international adoption.

Five years ago Arild Andresen won the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film for The Orheim Company. Now he’s back with a film dealing with a taboo subject that can’t leave anyone unshaken. For what can a father do when he feels nothing for his child? Handle with Care ties into recent years’ public debate about international adoption, but above all it is a strong portrait of the tormented offshore worker Kjetil who sets out on an emotional journey with a boy who sometimes understands a little more than she should.


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.

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