Buvette Masthead

The Scandinavian Film Festival…

Roslyn Hull

After the stunning success of the debut Scandinavian Film Festival last year, the 2015 program will showcase the most exciting dramas, comedies and thrillers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. ~ Palace Electric

This is only the second year the Palace chain of cinemas has presented this festival. After the runaway success of last year’s (will anyone ever forget The Keeper of Lost Causes? Phew!) I know I am ready for more of the same. However that’s just it, like any good festival, there is nothing ‘the same’ about it.

The films on offer are astounding – download the program from the link in the introduction – but just imagine a festival that gives you taut crime drama from the country that gave the world Mads Mikkelsen (thank you very much for that btw). A festival that can bring together laugh out loud comedy, with a side order of mother/daughter cringe, from that same country and the oddest sounding dramedy from Iceland, Rams. Rams won Un Certain Regard at Cannes and received a 10-minute standing ovation. Can’t wait to see it but be prepared for something different, the shorts look like Local Hero meets Macbeth.

Norway has several films on offer, the most intriguing for me being Out of Nature. It is a one man production – Ole Giæver wrote, directed and stars in it – that focuses on universal questions about our lives and change … and shows the star running bare arsed through some of the most stunning scenery. Intriguing.

Swedish offering include a biography called Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words. It promised unseen family film footage, commentary from all three of her children and diary entries from the star herself. A must-see for any student of Hollywood, I would think. Finnish films on offer include They Have Escaped. Having read about this, I suggest it will not be comfortable viewing but it will be astounding.

At the opening of the festival this week I saw Here Is Harold, a Norwegian film about a man whose life’s work, his furniture business, is destroyed when Ikea comes to town. So he decides to kidnap the founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, collecting a disaffected teen girl as a sidekick on his way to Sweden. Naturally, things do not go to plan but hilarity does not ensue either. It is a comedy but think of a Scandinavian version of a Wes Anderson film (thank you Jess for hitting the nail on the head with that description).

I loved every second of it, one moment laughing and the next almost moved to tears. The journey Harold makes is not just into another country, it is into his soul.

The gorgeous Bianca Kronlöf, who made quite an entrance doing what she called a ‘stair workout in high heels’, declared the festival open. She is, as she said, a Finnish citizen, born in Sweden who made her first feature film in Norway, so a truly Scandinavian ambassador. I must admit to developing a tiny crush on her – not just because of her beauty and ‘good sport’ style poise but because besides acting, she is a screenwriter and performs stand-up comedy that takes the mickey out of anything racist or sexist – you go girl!

She is also a very good actress – the radiant personality on show at the opening belies the character she plays in a co-production between Norway and Sweden. Underdog may be the hit of this year’s festival and if so it will be her performance that makes it that. She is quiet but very effective as an immigrant climbing out of a destructive hand-to-mouth life, not so much with the aid of a family, but by the help she gives them.

It is, like many Scandy dramas, a slow burn full of meaningful looks and crushed dreams. However there a small moments of comedy and the touching relationship that develops between Bianca’s character and the older child in the family is ultimately freeing for both of them. I really enjoyed it.

For the full festival program visit Palace Electric.

Roslyn saw Underdog and Here is Harold as a guest of Palace Electric cinema.


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author