For the 31st time, Göteborg Film Festival will hand out the award for best Nordic film, Dragon Award Best Nordic Film. All in all, ten films are included in the competition, which offers a prize sum of one million SEK that is handed out in cooperation with Volvo Car Group, Region Västra Götaland and City of Gothenburg.
The ten nominees are:
Partying nail technician with attachment issues becomes a match-maker for an Iranian refugee in Miia Tervo’s irresistible debut.
With exuberant energy and disarming, dark humor, Miia Tervo tells a story of loneliness, everyday racism, and alcoholism in an intelligent romantic comedy that plays with prejudices and genre conventions. Aurora is a funny and complicated party girl who wants to exchange her crappy life for something better in Norway. Darian is a melancholy refugee from Iran who needs to get married fast so he and his daughter can stay in Finland. Aurora agrees to helping him, and quickly finds potential wives – some of which are even younger than 80. Mimosa Willamo puts verve and presence in the title role of stylish and charming film about the transformative power of love.
Tuva Novotny’s impressive directorial debut is a deeply gripping family drama in which Pia Tjelta gives a strong performance of a mother in crisis.
For decades, Tuva Novotny has been one of the Nordic countries’ most cherished actors. Now she’s taken up the director’s chair evincing both perceptive intimacy and impressive artistic courage. In one single take she tells the story of Maria (Tjelta) who’s trying to understand what happened to her teenage daughter. In the catastrophic spotlight, Maria and her husband Anders (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) are hurdled into 90 minutes of emotional chaos that forever changes them. The already prize-awarded Blind Spot immediately establishes Tuva Novotny as one of Sweden’s foremost film directors.
People flee Earth as it faces ruin from war and environmental destruction in this existential sci-fi drama based on the Nobel Prize-winning author Harry Martinson’s titular work.
The emigrating people aboard the colossal spaceship Aniara find themselves among restaurants and shopping malls. Earth is doomed, but modern life seems to go on as usual. Yet soon after takeoff Aniara collides with meteorites and is thrown off course, which drastically changes everything. The onboard computer Mima, which helps its users re-experience life on Earth, becomes important for the people onboard. Pella Kågerman and Huga Lilja’s debut film raises a critic of civilization while placing humanity in a universal context where its modest and fragile existence becomes alarmingly tangible and concrete.
Snorting, sadistic humor, and pitch-black narrative pleasure in Johannes Nyholm’s playful follow-up to the Guldbagge-awarded The Giant and Las Palmas.
A few years ago, Elin and Tobias lost their child in a tragic accident. Now they are off on a camping trip in hope of finding their way back to each other. But when Elin wakes up early one morning and needs to pee, three strange figures show up and thus begins a nightmare scenario that seems to have no end. Like a hellish Groundhog Day, a ghastly scene runs on repeat, with small variations. And each attempt to get out of it leads back to the same claustrophobic scenario. Nyholm’s skillful directing keeps you in its uncanny grasp and puts the roles of partnership under the microscope.
Ines Høysæter Asserson is brilliant as the teenage Vilde, who lives colorful Japanese pop culture and dreams about traveling to Harajuku.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve and Vilde’s mom jumps from the balcony. Crushed and without a family, Vilde finds her way to her best friends at Oslo Central Station. Social services force her to contact her absent father and they reluctantly decide to meet at the station. Maybe he can help her with the plane ticket to Japan? Ines Høysæter Asserson (Thea in Skam) presents an unforgettable role interpretation, and with astute precision, Eirik Svensson shows that he, like no one else, can describe teenage yearning and alienation. Not least through the beautiful, manga-inspired animations and the dreamlike pictures from Harajuku.
Well-poised, intelligent and apt as Mia Engberg goes from documentary to fiction and explores “the visual silence.”
Just as in Engberg’s Guldbagge-awarded documentary Belleville Baby (GFF 2013), a dialog between Mia and Vincent is in progress. “Yes, but imagine if,” Mia says, and unfolds a long story that is not possible. Together with the recalcitrant Vincent, she develops a painful, modern and at the same time timeless tale. The aging gangster Vincent works long nights and dreams about another life. When he is unexpectedly given responsibility for his teenage daughter, Adina, life begins to change. The film takes place in Paris and at a secret place somewhere near you.
Hatred and distrust has taken over Denmark in Ulaa Salim’s powerful political thriller about extreme voices in a dystopian near future.
What would it take for a Nordic country to tip over and alternate rhetoric for violence? In Sons of Denmark, a terror attack in the metro creates the breeding ground for the advancement of the extreme right. One year after the bombing an election is held in Denmark and the nationalist leader Martin Nordahl’s party is victorious, at the same time as the violent network Sons of Denmark terrorizes Arabic minority on the streets. The young Zakaria wants to resist, and meets the mentor Ali who pulls him into an violent cell where he is recruited to murder Martin Nordahl. But everything is not as it seems in Ulaa Salim’s thought-provoking and politically urgent debut film.
With lyrical film images and mystical tall tales from the Scanian twilight, John Skoog approaches the people in the village where he grew up, Kvidinge.
John Skoog is a unique filmmaker, who in almost all of his poetic films starts off with people and phenomena in northern Scania. Several of his short films have been shown at GFF, and Reduit was awarded the festival’s short film prize Startsladden in 2015. His feature film debut Season is built up around a number of tales from Kvidinge. Some of the are mundane, while others border on the magical. Agricultural leaves a huge imprint on the location – its fields, machines and workers. With the help of cinematographer Ita Zbroniec-Zajt, Skoog succeeds at creating worldly but hypnotizing film images that make the familiar something foreign and the trivial poetry.
Anne Sewitsky’s biopic about the Norwegian figure-skating superstar Sonja Henie is a thrilling drama about personal rise and fall.
There are no limits for Sonja Henie. She has already won ten world championships and three Olympic gold medals. Now she wants to become a film star, and when she is offered a supporting role in Hollywood, she makes sure to instead get contracts for the leading role in four feature films. Of course, success follows. Her enormous appetite for money, men and parties makes her an obvious central figure in night life. She readily brushes off setbacks and smiles with her invincible, triumphant smile, and most times it works. Anne Sewitsky (Homesick, GFF 2015; Happy Happy, GFF 2011) provides a sure-footed portrayal of Henie’s rise and fall – and from such heights it’s hard and painful.
A brilliant Trine Dyrholm uses her entire register when May El-Toukhy explores the limits of desire and the destructive power of lies.
Anne (Dyrholm) runs a successful legal firm that specializes in children and youths. She and her husband Peter (Magnus Krepper) live a life where their successful careers coordinate with their twins’ horse riding lessons and lovely moments in the family’s enormous designer home in a lush suburb of Copenhagen. The face of this superficially perfect life cracks when Gustav, Peter’s teenage son from a previous relationship, shows up. Peter has a hard time getting close to his estranged son, but Anne finds a way of making contact. In the warm summer, Anne and Gustav’s relationship develops into something forbidden that risks ruining everything.
The winner will be announced on the Dragon Award gala on the 2nd of February.