A glance at what this year’s Scandinavian cinema has to offer
In its sixth annual event, a range of feature films, shorts and documentaries from the Nordic countries will be screened at the Nordic Lights Film Festival (NLFF), courtesy of the Nordic Heritage Museum.
Following its recent nomination at the 72nd Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film and shortlisted for competition in the same category at the upcoming 87th Academy Awards ceremony, Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure is featured in the line-up of ‘cutting-edge’ feats in filmmaking from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
From Norway, The Optimists (2013) delivers an insight into the uplifting documentary about a volleyball team from Hamar, whose distinguished teammates range from 66-98 years old. Despite regularly training for 40 years, the group decide to play their final game after a 30-year hiatus since their last match. Director Gunhild Westhagen Magnor and star Anne-Grethe Westhagen are set to attend the launch of the festival.
Denmark tackles the political controversy when the preserved landscape of the Arctic is threatened by the extraction of oil in The Shooter (2013). This drama brings together stars of Nordic Noir film and television, Trine Dyrholm and Carsten Bjørnlund (The Legacy), Kim Bodnia (The Bridge) and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Keeper of Lost Causes).
The 2014 Icelandic Film Award winner Metalhead (2013) depicts how a traumatic life experience can be healed through an appreciation of music from Black Metal bands such as Riot, Teaze, Savatage and Megadeth as a mode of escapism.
Finland highlights inter-Nordic cultural divides when a Swedish psychologist and a Finnish man hatch a plot to exchange identities in Raspberry Boat Refugee (2014). An idealised image of Sweden is also the subject of Waltz for Monica (2013); the biography of jazz singer and actress Monica Zetterlund which transports us back to the glamour of 1960’s Stockholm.
A collection of Nordic Shorts stage the contemporary vision of industry talent, as well as recognising the indigenous Sámi Scandinavian people with a plethora of short films dedicated to the Nordic heritage.
The Nordic Lights Film Festival will take place from 15th – 18th January 2015.