For the 32nd time, Göteborg Film Festival will hand out the award for best Nordic film, Dragon Award Best Nordic Film. All in all, eight 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 eight nominees are:
Director: Jorunn Myklebust Syversen
Josefine Frida from Skam shines as the young Christian dancer Mirjam, who after a collapse begins questioning both her career and her faith.
Mirjam is a world champion at disco dancing and youth leader of the hip free-church Friheten (Freedom), where her step-father is pastor. She dazzles with her trophies in her family’s beautiful home, but one day she collapses at a competition. Mirjam’s body stops doing what she wants and she enters a life crisis. Her parents encourage her to work even harder on her faith to find balance, but it only increases her doubt. Her desperate search for answers leads her to a congregation with a significantly stricter view of Christianity than what she is used to. Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s second feature film is a powerful growing-up story about faith, doubt and different kinds of ecstasy.
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Defiant farmer’s wife invites the monopolistic milk mafia to a showdown in Gimur Hákonarson’s swaying David-and-Goliath tale set among cow dung and milking robots.
When Inga’s husband suddenly dies in a truck accident, she is left alone with a milk farm and enormous debt to the monopolistic agricultural cooperative. But instead of wallowig in sorrow, Inga opts for rage and takes up the fight against injustices and mafia methods in the Icelandic countryside. The festival favorite Grímur Hákonarson’s (Rams, GFF 2016; Little Moscow, GFF 2019) return to the comedy genre is a visually dizzying party for everyone who loves Icelandic landscapes, and is also spiked with a wonderful soundtrack with Icelandic pop hits from the nineties.
Director: Dag Johan Haugerud
Film narration in perfect in form in masterful ensemble drama that opens up the inmost precipices of existence through a unique combination of comedy and moral philosophy.
During a fight at the school yard, 13-year-old Lykke kills their classmate Jamie. Both their parents are politicians: Lykke is the daughter of a prominent social democratic politician, while Jamie’s father is a famous representative of the right-wing populist Progress Party. Dag Johan Haugerud (I Belong, GFF 2013) undeniably places this sociological drama at the center of societal debate. But the question of guilt, which is the starting point, is spun into an intricate weave of side stories, people and situations that are brought to life by a completely wonderful acting team. Everything hinges on perhaps one essential question: Is it possible for a society and its people to be happy together?
Director: Malou Reymann
A close father-daughter relationship is at risk when Emma’s father, Thomas, comes out of the closet as Agnete and the family splinters. Heart-warming family drama portrayed with convincing authenticity.
11-year-old Emma loves to play football – an interest she has always shared with her dad. When it is suddenly revealed that her parents are getting divorced and her father is going to undergo a transformation, it becomes the beginning of a bewildering, emotional trip for the whole family, where everyone handles it in different ways. Hardest hit is the younger sister, Emma, who thought herself close to her father, but still did not see it coming. In Malou Reymann’s delicate feature film début, which is based on her own experiences, everyone in the family is forced to redefine and put their identities on trial.
Director: Jenni Toivoniemi
Comical chamber play about old friends in crisis with turning 40 who reunite for a long summer night packed with unsettled love and unforgiven wrongs.
Licentious years of youth have been overtaken by middle-class convention when a group of hipster-clad friends from long ago arrange a surprise party for Mitzi in an imposingly beautiful house on the beach. But during the celebration more and more feelings from the past well up, and when Veronika (Laura Birn) brings a Swedish Hollywood export (Christian Hillborg) to the party, he has a hard time grasping how all the old friends’ crisis-ridden relationships fit together. After directing a number of short films that garnered attention (The Committee, GFF 2017) and being a driving force in the collective behind [Force of Habit], Jenni Toivoniemi makes a feature film debut as director with a spot-on comedy about society for the twenties.
Director: Henrik Schyffert
Henrik Schyffert presents his feature film debut in a sharp, touching and humorous autobiographical depiction of and with Uje Brandelius.
Diffuse, but noticeable ailments make Uje consult a doctor. Without first understanding the meaning, he finds out that he has the uncurable disease Parkinson’s. He hides the bewildering news secret from his family, while the resulting anxiety compels him to question his life and his existence. Uje is an intelligent, warm and driven story, situated in the complex yet seemingly simple rut of everyday life. The film is built on Doktor Kosmos’s singer Uje Brandelius’s successful performance of the same name and is filled with his cherished songs.
Director: Amanda Kernell
Charter is a love letter to all separated parents, signed by Amanda Kernell (Sami Blood, GFF 2017) as well as a captivating drama where a whole society condemns a person’s parenthood.
Alice (Ane Dahl Torp) gets a call from her son late one evening. He is upset, but hardly has time to say anything before the conversation is cut short. When Alice goes up to northern Sweden, she is taken aback by how well her bitter ex-husband (Sverrir Gudnason) has managed to turn the whole village and her children against her. Afraid of losing custody, Alice makes the desperate decision to bring the children with her away from the father on a charter trip to the Canary Islands. The children are skeptical, to say the least, about her increasingly desperate attempts to re-establish contact with them and claim her role as a mother. Kernell is a master at portraying people who make radical choices and the anguish found in hurting others when the intention is to be true to oneself.
Director: Maria Bäck
Surrealist, stylistically on point, and deeply moving about a girl seeking life as a teen, but who has to grow up very fast.
20 years ago, Maria Bäck went on vacation to Stockholm with her mother. It ended with her mother having a mental breakdown – and the 14-year-old Maria wandering around in the capital city alone. With the help of actors Josefin Neldén and Josefine Stofkoper, she has now processed the experience in this feature film debut (her documentary I Remember When I Die received an honorary mention by the jury at GFF in 2016). Through off-color blonde jokes, poetic doubles, and a street choir singing Bob hund songs, the director creates an equally powerful as sensible film about human yearning and the diffuse borders of existence.
The winner will be announced on the Dragon Award gala on the 2nd of February.