The Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival returns to Australia

The Fencer

via press release

Now a much anticipated fixture on the festival calendar, the third Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival presented by Palace will see some of the most exciting and fresh movies from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland grace Palace Cinema screens around Australia from 5 July.

National Festivals Director Elysia Zeccola Hill who has been running the festivals at Palace Cinemas for the last 18 years said: “Scandinavia has produced some of the most iconic films ever made. This festival screens the hottest talent from the most current crop of films. Over the next 10 days in Cannes I will lock in the final films for this edition and they will premiere on the big screen in Australia less than two months later.”    

To whet your appetite, here is a preview of the 2016 program:

Finland’s official Oscar contender, and winner of Best Film at Finland’s 2016 Jussi Awards, THE FENCER, offers a fictionalised take on a real-life fencing teacher who took a stand against Stalinist oppression in Soviet-era Estonia. Fleeing from the Russian secret police, a young Estonian fencer is forced to return to his homeland, where he becomes a physical education teacher at a local school. However, the past catches up with him as he comes face to face with a difficult choice. 

Meanwhile, more in the spirit of recent Nordic fare, tense suspense thriller ABSOLUTION starring the brilliant Laura Birn (2014 Festival guest) tackles the moral questions of guilt and revenge after a hit-and-run accident spirals out of control. Mari Rantasila (2015 Festival film Armi Alive!), took the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in this film at Finland’s recent Jussi Awards

Also from Finland, OTHER GIRLS (Toiset Tytöt) is a survival story about those moments when life gives you a brutal kick, but you decide to kick back. HARD! Based on true events, it follows 18-year-old girls Jessica, Jenny, Taru and Aino who are on the verge of adulthood as they lose their innocence and, at times, their faith.

From Sweden, the documentary NICE PEOPLE is a real-life “Cool Runnings” in which the predominantly white community of the rural Swedish town of Borlänge are confronted by the influx of Somalis who have fled war. Integrating has proven difficult, so entrepreneur Patrik Andersson decides that all the Swedes and Somalis need is something to talk about together, and so he encourages them to learn Bandy (a cross between ice hockey and soccer).. This highly entertaining and touching documentary follows the team as they live and train for the Bandy World Championships, coached by legendary former bandy player Per Fosshaug and Cia Embretsen.

Winner of the Audience Award at the Guldbagge Awards (Swedish Academy Awards) Staffan Lindberg’s LOVE IS THE DRUG is a comedy about super rich Veronica (played by international star Izabella Scorupco) and Mike, a carpenter, and all that stands between their love, including stepchildren, ex partners and new parents-in-law.

Danish Director Christina Rosendahl makes her mark with her second feature film THE IDEALIST (Idealisten) starring Peter Plaugborg, Søren Malling, Thomas Bo Larsen, Arly Jover and Jens Albinus. Based on real events of the 80s and 90s, THE IDEALIST deals with the conspiracies about Thule airbase during the cold war and a young journalist whistle-blower who tries to reveal the secrets behind a nuclear disaster. 

The first feature film of Swedish-born Dane Daniel Dencik, GOLD COAST (Guldkysten) is a story of beauty and brutality, partly based on personal letters and diaries from the Danish botanist Wulff Joseph Wulff. In 1836, the young and visionary botanist (played by 2014 Berlin Film Festival Shooting Star award winner Jakob Oftebro) is sent to Africa by the King of Denmark to establish coffee plantations. What follows is an adventure into unknown territory that will change his young life forever. 

Norway heralds Scandinavia’s first disaster movie THE WAVE (Bølgen). Starring Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro and Fritjof Såheim, the action packed film is based on the real-life event of the 1934 tsunami which hit Norway’s Tafiord as two million cubic metres of rock from a landslide triggered a wave of more than 85 metres high, and left 40 people dead in communities along the shore. 

The Scandinavian Film Festival screens exclusively at Palace Cinemas nationally.

Sydney: Tues 5 – Wed 27 July Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona

Melbourne: Wed 6 – Wed 27 July Palace Cinema Como, Brighton Bay, Westgarth

Canberra: Tues 12 – Wed 27 July Palace Electric

Brisbane: Wed 13 – Wed 27 July Palace Centro & Barracks

Adelaide: Tues 19 – Wed 27 July Palace Nova Eastend

Hobart: Wed 20 – Wed 27 July State Cinema

Perth: Thu 21 – Wed 3 August Cinema Paradiso

For more information and to register for updates visit www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com

Tickets go on sale 7 June.

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.