Why do the Swedes put barcodes on their ships? So they can Scandinavian. (Sorry about that). More seriously, this looks like a good haul of films.
The Other Side of Hope (Opening Night)
Wikström is a man wanting to change his life, and decides to invest in an unprofitable restaurant. Meanwhile, a Syrian refugee named Khaled arrives in Helsinki, desperate to seek asylum. After his application is rejected, Khaled decides to remain illegally and seeks refuge behind Wikström’s business, sleeping in the storage space. When eventually discovered, an unlikely friendship is formed, one that will change both of their lives irrevocably.
☆☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
☆☆☆☆☆ The Reel Bits
Celebrity artist Simon Brahe is “The Man” of the Copenhagen arts scene, he’s got a trendy studio apartment, a team of unquestioning interns and has nailed his look of silk pyjamas, which he wears everywhere. Until his world is shaken by the appearance of his estranged and very handsome son, Casper. Casper is a celebrated and internationally renowned street artist operating under the name “The Ghost”. Simon becomes convinced his son is out to usurp him, especially when Casper begins garnering the attention and acclaim that Simon holds so dear, including from Simon’s girlfriend Darling.
After suffering from the trauma of WWII, Touko Laaksonen finds no peace at home in Finland, a country where homosexuality is illegal. With the help of his sister, Touko finds work in an advertising agency, but becomes worn down by his inability to express his desires. Touko spends his nights drawing his fantasies instead; men with strong jawlines, clad in uniform and – frequently – leather. The sketches eventually draw worldwide attention, though not without an escalating risk of persecution.
☆☆☆☆☆ Cine Vue
☆☆☆☆☆ Slant Magazine
Based on extraordinary true events. With the time for mediation between Norway’s passive government and the Nazi’s envoy fast running out, and an attempted coup by collaborator Vidkun Quisling underway, King Haakon is faced with a momentous choice: should he recognise Quisling as Prime Minister to prevent bloodshed, or abdicate in the hope of inspiring civilian and military resistance, even with the loss of life that may entail?
Zaid is an upper-class successful Danish surgeon of Muslim heritage. He has a Danish wife and lives in one of Copenhagen’s most fashionable areas – far from the dangerous and congested neighbourhood where he grew up. But when his criminal brother is found murdered, Zaid is pulled back into the brutal world he escaped so many years ago. Finding no help in local detective Claus, who dismisses the case as ‘another Muslim gang-related attack’, Zaid realises he must be the one to avenge his brother and clean up Copenhagen’s underbelly. As he delves back into the depths of the darkland, the film takes us on a synth-filled, neon coloured journey through Copenhagen’s nightlife.
A tender coming-of-age story, Little Wing centres on the resourceful Varpu as she struggles between fitting in with her friends and her family. Varpu is a young girl navigating the transition into adolescence while living with her emotionally immature mother. Vapru is burdened with being the stronger member of the family, and is in many ways wiser than her mother. Her increasing desire for answers about the world pushes her to look for answers beyond her small apartment. Her first instinct is to look for her estranged father, whom she has no memory of. Despite this, she hopes it might illuminate something about herself if she can only track him down. She teaches herself to drive, and then sets off on a road trip to find her dad.
☆☆☆☆☆ Cinema Scandinavia
Described as the ‘Mozart of Chess’, Magnus shows an interest for intellectual challenges at a young age. He is a deeply introverted child, and his father, Henrik, understanding his son’s mathematical mind, introduces him to chess as an outlet. Magnus quickly moves up the ranks, and at the age of thirteen becomes the third-youngest grandmaster of chess, ever. He quickly starts preparing for the title of World Chess Champion. As we watch him prepare, where his competition use computer programs and analysts to master the game, Magnus has the unique talent of visualising the game in his head, and where others have a lavish entourage, Magnus brings his parents and sister. Magnus is the eye-opening journey of this young man’s natural talent.
☆☆☆☆☆ Eye For Film
What happens when a widowed father discovers he may not love his adopted son? Set between Norway and Colombia, Handle with Care is a heart-breaking journey of a father’s desperation following the loss of his wife and raises difficult but important questions about the duty of a parent. Offshore oil worker Kjetil has a hard time relating to their adopted son Daniel after the death of his wife. He convinces himself that he needs to return the boy to his birthmother, who must surely miss him. He travels with Daniel back to Colombia, under the guise of simply wanting to learn about the boy’s family. As Kjetil and a local driver (Marlon Moreno) search for Daniel’s birthmother, Daniel settles comfortably into life in Colombia, and suddenly Kjetil is presented with an option that could change their lives.
Thor and Christian are inseparable best friends. They fish, destroy old cars, and count the hairs growing on their chests. Christian is the elder of the pair and more protective. They are always together but when they start to go out with local girls Beth and Hanna, things change. Thor discovers love but Christian feels increasingly close to his friend. As another winter approaches, nature bears witness to the end of a carefree summer. The film takes us inside this place full of contrast, from the warm sun streaking the landscape to the rain and wind battering down, where young kids come to discover how nature and people can be both beautiful and incredibly cruel.
☆☆☆☆☆ Cinema Scandinavia
A Hustler’s Diary (Closing Night)
A petty criminal of Turkish descent Metin, who still lives with his widowed mother Fatma and adoring teenage brother Emre, guides us through his exhilarating and trouble-making life in the Stockholm suburbs, he debates both the positive and negative aspects of his ‘stuck in a rut’ life through his secret journal. When he misplaces the journal and it is discovered by a top publishing house, the agent Puma, a tall and blonde Swede, offers to publish it and turn him into a star. However, Metin frets over the potential consequences for those mentioned in the book, and must choose between his current criminal life or the chance to be something more.