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The Nordic films screening at the Seattle International Film Festival 2018

About the festival

What? Seattle International Film Festival

When? 17 May – 10 June 2018

Where? Seattle, United States

Website: https://www.siff.net/festival

Denmark

THE RETURN

Directed by Malene Choi Jensen

Starring Thomas Hwan, Karoline Sofie Lee, Seong In-ja

In this unique combination of drama and documentary, two Danish-Korean adoptees return to their native country of South Korea for the first time to find out more about their origins. An immersive experience based in part on director Malene Choi Jensen’s own personal experiences.

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Read our interview with Malene Choi Jensen

THE GUILTY

Directed by Gustav Moller

Starring Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi, Johan Olsen, Jacob Hauberg

Winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this innovative, claustrophobic thriller takes place in an emergency call center, where a dispatcher receives a panicked distress call from a woman, leading to a frantic rescue mission with a phone as the only resource.

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THE CHARMER / CHARMØREN

Directed by Milad Alami

Starring Ardalan Esmaili, Lars Brygmann, Morten Hee Andersen, Stine Fischer Christensen, Boie Kratfeldt

Esmail, a handsome and charming Iranian migrant, desperately cruises the nightclubs of Copenhagen, seducing a series of Danish women in an effort to secure his citizenship in this tightly wound psychological thriller that also demonstrates the workings of an unjust immigration system.

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Read our interview with Milad Alami

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TEAM HURRICANE

Directed by Annika Berg

Starring Eja Penelope Roepstorff, Ida Glitre, Maja Leth Bang, Mathilde Linnea Daugaard Jensen, Elise Pedersen

Director Annika Berg combines raw documentary footage with stylized pop culture visuals to create the ultimate punk coming-of-age film in which eight rebels, all found on social media, play themselves and explore their artistry and expression while managing painful realities.

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MICHELIN STARS: TALES FROM THE KITCHEN

Directed by Rasmus Dinesen

Starring Guy Savoy, Alain Ducasse, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Victor Arguinzoniz, Rene Redzepi

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All chefs dream of the distinction of receiving the coveted Michelin star, but who decides this peculiar rating and what is the criteria for obtaining one? More than a baker’s dozen of the world’s top-rated chefs dish on the pros and cons of the punishing star system that has given them extreme joy-and nervous breakdowns.

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Finland

THE ETERNAL ROAD / IKITIE

Directed by Antti Jussi Annila

Starring Tommi Korpela, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Irina Bjorklund, Hannu-Pekka Bjorkman, Ville Virtanen

When a Finnish farmer in the 1930s is violently transported across the border into the USSR, he is forced by Soviet intelligence to infiltrate a farm collective and inform his handlers of any suspicious anti-communist activity in this epic story of one man’s struggle to survive.

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MOOMINS AND THE WINTER WONDERLAND

Directed by Ira Carpelan, Jakub Wronski, Bartosz Wierzbieta

Starring Bill Skarsgard, Alicia Vikander, Stellan Skarsgard

Sweden’s beloved Rankin/Bass-style stop motion Christmas special features the adorable fuzzy hippopotamus-like creatures the Moomins, who wake one morning to discover that winter has come to their peaceful valley. This new English-language version features the voices of Alicia Vikander and Bill and Stellan Skarsgård.

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A MOMENT IN THE REEDS

Directed by Mikko Makela

Starring Janne Puustinen, Boodi Kabbani, Mika Melender

When literature student Leevi arrives at his father’s summer home, he meets Syrian refugee Tareq who is working on the house. Their weekend affair exposes generational and cultural chasms in an outwardly peaceful setting in Finland’s first gay romantic feature.

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Iceland

UNDER THE TREE / UNDIR TRENU

Directed by Hafsteinn Gunar Sigurðsson

Starring Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir, Þorsteinn Bachmann

Middle-aged Inga and Baldvin live next door to Konrad and his younger second wife Eybjorg. Though the couples engage in general societal niceties, there is one thing that Konrad and Eybjorg cannot stand—a tree that casts a shadow on their sundeck, something especially heinous now that’s it’s summertime.

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Read our interview with Hafsteinn Gunar Sigurðsson

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Norway

WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY / HVA VIL FOLK SI

Directed by Iram Haq

Starring Maria Mozhdah, Adil Hussain, Rohit Saraf, Ekavali Khanna, Ali Arfan, Sheeba Chaddha

Caught between her immigrant family’s strict adherence to Pakistani tradition and the hedonistic allure of teenage life in Oslo, 16-year-old Nisha is eventually caught living this double life by her family. Facing ostracism from fellow migrants, her parents take drastic measures to curtail her embrace of perceived Western vices.

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Read our interview with Iram Haq

VALLEY OF SHADOWS / SKYGGENES DAL

Directed by Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen

Starring Adam Ekeli, Katherine Fagerland, John Olav Nilsen, Jone Hope Larsen, Jorgen Langhelle

A young boy embarks on a solitary odyssey through a dark and menacing forest in search of the mysterious creatures that have been eating his family’s sheep in this nightmarish, gray-hued Scandinavian fairytale.

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GOING WEST / RETT VEST

Directed by Henrik Martin Daslsbakken

Starring Benjamin Helstad, Ingar Helge Gimle, Iben M. Akerlie, Anne Krigsvoll, Reidar Sorensen

In this playful and heartfelt road movie, a recently unemployed music teacher and his transgender father attempt to mend their tense relationship on a long trip to Norway’s west coast to enter their recently deceased matriarch’s final work in a major quilting competition.

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Sweden

THAT SUMMER

Directed by Goran Hugo Olsson

After rejecting a high society lifestyle, mother and daughter pair Big and Little Edie become recluses in their deteriorating East Hampton mansion. Newly discovered vintage footage of these rebels against the elite-turned-cultural icons revisits the 1975 cult classic Grey Gardens more intimately than ever before.

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CAKE GENERAL / TÅRTGENERALEN

Directed by Filip Hammar

Starring Mikael Persbrandt, Helena Bergstrom, Agnes Lindstrom Bolmgren, Tomas von Bromssen

Based on a true story, the directorial debut of popular Swedish personalities Filip and Fredrik is an outrageous, unconventional comedy set in the 1980s about an eccentric resident of “the most boring town in Sweden” who decides to put his sleepy hamlet on the map by assembling the world’s longest layer cake.

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AMATEURS / AMATORER

Directed by Gabriela Pichler

Starring Zahraa Aldoujaili, Yara Aliadotter, Fredrik Dahl, Shada Ismaeel, Maria Nohra

In this irresistible comedy, a sleepy Swedish province hopes to lure a discount store chain by hiring a pompous commercial director to document their town’s worthiness, but two bright, brash high school girls from immigrant families use their cellphones and selfie sticks to tell the real story.

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A GOOD WEEK FOR DEMOCRACY

Directed by Cecilia Bjork

Take a trip to Sweden’s idyllic island province of Gotland for a sharp, humorous and unsentimental examination of Almedalen Week, an annual event where thousands of politicians, lobbyists, and citizens gather for the ultimate showcase of political theatre.

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.