As the cinematic celebrations continue into its second week, we take a look at the Nordic productions stealing the show.
The prestigious festival, which is notably the biggest public event honouring film in the UK, enters into its 58th year, running from the 7th – 18th October and featuring “240 films. From 72 countries. 16 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.” At this year’s festival, the colossal programme of industry screenings and events include an impressive 21 Nordic productions; ranging from indigenously made masterpieces to international co-productions. These include:
Beneath the Spaceship, Catwalk, Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere, Flocking, The Garbage Helicopter, Gold Coast, The Here After, Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words, Kung Fury, Lamb, Land of Mine, Men and Chicken, Mr. Gaga, My Skinny Sister, One Floor Below, The Red Herring, Shape Shifting, Something Better to Come, Ture the Dice, Virgin Mountain, The Wave and What We Become.
The Scandinavian films offer a range of creative filmmaking, from feature films, documentaries and animation. The 21 productions are a blend of collaborations between the Scandinavian countries, as well as international projects, with 13 films financed from Sweden, six from Denmark, three from Norway and one from both Iceland and Finland. Talented Nordic stars from critically acclaimed Scandi crime and drama appear in the line-up.
Gold Coast (‘Guldkysten’) stars Jakob Oftebro (Kon Tiki, 2012, 1864, 2014 and In Order of Disappearance, 2014); a Norwegian actor who continues to beguile us in another epic period drama, in Daniel Dencik’s directorial debut. Oftebro plays Wulff; a Danish botanist with a passion for knowledge and exploration. Wulff is sent by the King to the Danish-Norwegian colonies in Africa; coined as the Danish Guinea or commonly known to be the Danish Gold Coast. However, Wulff’s journey brings him face-to-face with the barbarism of slavery. Gold Coast is reminiscent of the striking cinematography witnessed in Kon Tiki and is graced by Angelo Badalamenti’s swelling atmospheric score. The film is also complimented by a nomination earlier this year at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Men and Chicken (‘Mænd og høns’) is directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen, who has collaborated with Susanne Bier on a number of screenplays for her films, including After the Wedding (2006), Love is All You Need (2012) and A Second Chance (2014). Jensen directs his fourth feature film starring his regular pool of actors: Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, as well as David Dencik, Nicolas Bro and Søren Malling. Expect to be entertained with dark, idiosyncratic Danish humour in a tale about a very eclectic family; centring round two outcast brothers who discover a very shocking lineage they can barely come to fathom.
The Wave (‘Bølgen’) stars Thomas Bo Larsen (Pusher, 1996, Festen, 1998 and The Hunt, 2012) and Ane Dahl Torp (The Sandhamn Murders, 2013-2015 and the upcoming series Occupied, 2015- ). The natural disaster movie is a harrowing and cataclysmic vision to behold. Just as the Scandinavian landscape has been personified as a hostile environment despite its beauty in Nordic Noir, The Wave offers a different, gargantuan interpretation by turning a fjord into a tsunami. The film, directed by Roar Uthaug, has been put forward as Norway’s submission for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2016.
What We Become (‘Sorgenfri’) stars Mille Dinesen (Rita, 2012- ), Mikael Birkkjær (Borgen, 2010-2013, The Killing II, 2009 and Aftermath, 2004) and Troels Lyby (Accused, 2005, The Left Wing Gang, 2009-2010 and The Keeper of Lost Causes, 2013) in a chilling thriller from director Bo Mikkelsen. When a mysterious virus infects a small Danish town, the paranoia and fear of the unknown outbreak prompts a journey into the discovery of a shocking truth. What We Become examines the viral outbreak narrative that has been manifested from popular zombie franchises in the horror genre to an inescapable realism in Right at Your Door (2006).
The 58th British Film Institute’s London Film Festival (LFF), continues to run until Sunday 18th October across selected London venues.