Wednesdays @ 7 pm, January 2 through 16, 2013
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Catch an exclusive sneak peek of the films chosen by the Nordic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film for 2012, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominees were announced by the Academy late fall 2012.
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark, 2012). A Royal Affair is the true story of an ordinary man who wins the queen’s heart and starts a revolution, centering on the intriguing love triangle between the ever more insane Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), the man of enlightenment and idealism Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), and the young but strong queen Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander). The drama is the gripping tale of brave idealists who risk everything in their pursuit of freedom for the people, but above all it is the story of a passionate and forbidden romance that changed an entire nation.
About the director
Nikolaj Arcel was born in Denmark in 1972. He is a graduate of the National Film School of Denmark, 2001. Arcel made his feature film debut with King's Game/Kongekabale (2004), a box office hit for Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg, Arcel's co-writer on many of the director’s films. The two also scripted Niels Arden Oplev's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/Män som hatar kvinnor (2009), the original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. A Royal Affair (2012) enjoyed its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival 2012 and won two Silver Bears, for Best Actor (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) and Best Script (Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg).
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Iceland, 2012). On a cold night in March 1984, a few miles off the south coast of Iceland, a fishing boat sank along with all of its men. Miraculously, one of its crewmembers (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) survived. After six hours battling the ocean for his life, the exhausted young titan, washes ashore, only to find himself in a deadly lava field.
About the director
Baltasar Kormákur was born in Reykjavík. He studied drama at Iceland’s National Academy of Fine Arts, and has worked extensively as an actor, producer, and director in theater and film. His feature films as director include 101 Reykjavík (2000), The Sea/Hafið (2002), Jar City/Mýrin (2006), White Night Wedding/Brúðguminn (2008), Contraband (2012), and The Deep/Djúpið (2012).
Directed by Antti Jokinen (Finland, 2012) and based on the book by Sofi Oksanen. Purge is a story of two women from two different eras linked by separate tales of deceit, desperation – and fear.
Aliide (Laura Birn) has experienced the horrors of the Stalin era and the deportation of Estonians to Siberia, but she herself has to cope with the guilt of opportunism and even manslaughter.
One night in 1992 she finds a young woman in the courtyard of her house; Zara (Amanda Pilke) has just escaped from the claws of the Russian mafia who held her as a sex slave.
Aliide and Zara engage in a complex arithmetic of suspicion and revelation to distill each other’s motives. Gradually, their stories emerge, with the culmination of a tragic family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss that played out during the worst years of Estonia’s Soviet occupation.
About the director
Born in Finland, Antti Jokinen attended East Carolina University where he graduated at the top of his class, majoring in Film. He then moved to New York and worked for MTV. When he returned to Finland, Jokinen co-founded Solar Films, which has grown into Finland's strongest and largest production houses. Moving back to the U.S., Jokinen quickly became one of the most requested music video directors worldwide, working with renowned artists such as Beyoncé, Eminem, and Celine Dion.
In 2011 he directed the feature film The Resident, based on his own screenplay and starring Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Special thanks to Magnolia Pictures, the Icelandic Film Centre, and the Finnish Film Foundation.
February 6 through April 26, 2013
Wednesdays @ 7 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members); Series pass: $88 ($62 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House brings some of the most influential Nordic films to New York audiences this spring with films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
February 6 & 8
Note: Initially scheduled for November 2012, this screening was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.
Directed by Dheeraj Akolkar (Norway, India, U.K., 2012). This feature documentary is an affectionate yet truthful account of the 42 years and 12 films-long relationship between legendary actress Liv Ullmann and master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.
Told entirely from Liv Ullmann's point of view, this rollercoaster journey of extreme highs and lows is constructed as a collage of images and sounds from the timeless Ullmann-Bergman films, behind the scenes footage, still photographs, passages from Ullmann's book Changing/Forandringen (1977) and Ingmar's love letters to her.
Ultimately this film is a homage – a candid, humane look – not only at two of the greatest artists of our time, but also at two wonderful human beings, two inseparable friends and soul mates.
About the director
After graduating with a Gold Medal in architecture from Pune University, India, Dheeraj Akolkar worked extensively in the Indian film industry on various films such as Lagaan (Academy Award Nominee, 2001), Devdas (Cannes Showcase, 2002; BAFTA nominated, 2003), Charas – A Joint Effort, Sala Bandar (official selection Rotterdam, 2004; nominated Best Short Film Edinburgh, 2004), and Black (Time magazine's 5th Best Film of the Year, 2006).
As a writer, director, cinematographer, and producer, his own work includes the short films Jyotirgamaya/Lead Me to the Light (IDPA Awards for Excellence, 2005: Best Script and Best Editing), Whatever! (ICE 2006 2nd Best Film of the Festival), Sold My Soul (Official Selection Clermont Ferrand, 2007), and Asylum (Official Selection Rotterdam, 2010). He graduated from University of London in 2007 with an M.A. with distinction in Feature Film and currently works between the U.K., India, and Scandinavia on a slate of five films under his London-based production company, Vardo Films. Akolkar is the associate director of an independent film festival in London called Bombay Mix and founder of a charity called Grassroots Stories, which specializes in making films that can inspire social change.
February 13 & 15
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen (Denmark, 2011). Christian (Anders W. Berthelsen) is a Copenhagen wine-seller on the brink of bankruptcy. Equally unsuccessful in just about every other aspect of life, it has been 17 months since his wife Anna (Paprika Steen) left him for Buenos Aires to live out her dream of becoming a sports agent and now lives a life of luxury with Juan Diaz (Sebastián Estevanez), Argentina's biggest football star. Instead of mailing the divorce papers, Christian flies out with their teenage son Oscar (Jamie Morton) to deliver them in person, all the while secretly hoping to win back his wife and his life.
About the director
Ole Christian Madsen (b. 1966, Denmark) studied directing at the National Film School of Denmark and graduated in 1993 with his award-winning short film Happy Jim/Lykkelige Jim. Madsen was part of the so-called "golden cohort" at the National Film School in the early nineties, which included Thomas Vinterberg and Per Fly.
He directed the highly acclaimed 6-part drama series The Spider/Edderkoppen (1999). Madsen made his feature film debut with Pizza King (1999), and released his second feature in 2001, the critically-acclaimed Dogme film Kira's Reason – A Love Story/En kærlighedshistorie, awarded at the Mannheim-Heidelberg and Viareggio film festivals and selected for the Toronto International Film Festival. Also selected for Toronto were Prague/Prag (2006) and the World War II resistance drama and record-breaking box-office hit Flame and Citron/Flammen og Citronen (2008). Superclásico is Madsen's sixth feature film and his first comedy. The film was showcased at Toronto and was shortlisted as the Danish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.
February 20 & 22
Directed by Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis (Denmark, 2012) This Life is the true story of a group of Danish innkeepers and resistance fighters during World War II – a gripping portrait of one family that revolts against Nazi Germany's occupation of Denmark. In the fight for freedom, some must die so that others may live.
In 1943, the innkeeper Marius Fiil (Jens Jørn Spottag) gathered his family and closest friends to assist in picking up weapons, explosives, and Special Operations Executive (S.O.E) agents, which were dropped by British airplanes close to the inn in order to assist Danish resistance groups in their work. Every night the group waited for the coded message on BBC radio that would tell them where to pick up the air-dropped supplies at midnight. Several British Halifax bombers would fly over the designated area and the group would then signal with flashlights where to drop the supplies. The weapons and explosives were hidden in the homes of the group's members and later distributed to resistance groups all over the country. The explosives were used for sabotage against railroads, train depots, bridges, and factories that produced for the Germans. The group was, however, caught by the Gestapo in March 1944.
The film was the most successful Danish film production of 2012, not only opening up an important chapter in the story of the Danish resistance movement during the war, but also providing an earnest and touching chronicle of a family and small village who were ready to pay the highest price for their freedom.
VIEW TRAILER (No English subtitles)
About the director
Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis (b. 1965 Herning, Denmark) graduated from The Danish National School of Theater in 1992. She played Katrine in Lars von Trier's Dogme film Idiots/Idioterne (1998), and is known for her work in film – including Niels Arden Oplev's We Shall Overcome/Drømmen (2006) and Helle Ryslinge's Halalabad Blues (2002) – as well as theater, television, and commercials. Riis makes her feature-film directorial debut with This Life.
She also co-founded the award-winning Danish theater ensemble Emma's Dilemma – an underground political and satire platform that performs and produces both for the stage and Danish National Television. A writer for several newspapers and magazines, Riis is active politically, taking a strong stance on sex trafficking, for which she received the Mathilde Prize from the Dansk Kvindesamfund in 2010.
February 27 & March 1
Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (Iceland, 2010). A semi-autobiographical tale, Mamma Gógó is a poignant tour de force and often funny character study of a self-absorbed film director's (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) relationship with his aging mother (Kristbjörg Kjeld). The director has just made Children of Nature/Börn náttúrunnar, a film about the elderly in Iceland. He pompously expects it to speak to the hearts of his countrymen while it pulls in an Oscar nomination. When nobody comes out to see it, the Icelandic Film Commission begins reminding him that he owes them a lot of money. He starts grasping at straws, like making unsound financial investments and accepting the directing job for an ill-advised Viking movie starring Paris Hilton. Meanwhile his fiercely independent mother shows signs of Alzheimer's disease. Distracted by his own financial, professional, and marital woes, he fails to take her problems seriously – until she endangers herself and the family must look into institutionalizing her.
Smart, sly, and affecting, Mamma Gógó is a heavily fictionalized yet boldly honest self-portrait, as well as a sharp satire about the film industry and contemporary Icelandic society.
About the director
Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (b.1954, Iceland) started his career making experimental and documentary films in the early 1980s. He founded The Icelandic Film Corporation in 1990, which has since become Iceland's most important production company. His international reputation led the company to build a network of internationally well-established co-production partner companies, including Lars von Trier's Zentropa and most recently, Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope. His second feature Children of Nature/Börn náttúrunnar (1991) was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film. Friðriksson also starred in Lars von Trier's comedy The Boss of It All/Direktøren for det hele (2006).
Recent work includes the documentary A Mother Courage: Talking Back to Autism/Sólskinsdrengurinn, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009 and was nominated for the Voice Award in 2010. Mamma Gógó was nominated in 2010 for Best Film at the Edda Awards and selected as the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
March 6 & 8
Directed by Reynir Lyngdal (Iceland, 2011). Opposites attract to incendiary effect in the dark romantic comedy Our Own Oslo – an everyday love story following the strained courtship of wildly different Harald (Þorsteinn Guðmundsson), an orderly and unshakably calm 40-year-old engineer, and Vilborg (Brynhildur Guðjónsdóttir), an impulsive and careless unemployed single mother.
On a business trip to Oslo, Harald shares a wild night with Vilborg, but when they meet again, it is clear they're both burdened by a lot of baggage. Disciplined Harald cares for his mentally-disabled half-sister (Maria Heba Þorkelsdóttir) and resents his long-dead alcoholic father. Meanwhile, irresponsible Vilborg, a less-than-sympathetic drama queen, is a gambling addict with a pending fraud charge, a sullen pre-teen son, and an attractive ex-husband (Hilmir Snær Guðnason). The aforementioned conflagration climaxes with a disastrous weekend all of the above share at Harald's summer cottage.
About the director
While still in his teens, Icelandic director Reynir Lyngdal won numerous awards for his video art and short films. After studying cinematic arts at the prestigious CECC Film School in Barcelona, Lyngdal returned to his native Iceland. He directed a range of choreographed short films that won awards at festivals from Reykjavík to Toronto, among them Burst (2003), made in collaboration with renowned choreographer Katrin Hall. Lyngdal was chosen by the European Film Academy and Wim Wenders to create and direct the short film Kissing/Kossar, shown at the European Film Academy Awards in 2003. His short film The Magician/Töframaðurinn won the Icelandic Academy Award for the Best Short Film (2005). In 2006 Lyngdal wrote and directed The New Year Satire/Áramótaskaupinu, a 60-minute comedy show that airs on Icelandic national television every New Year's Day. In 2008-09 Lyngdal directed The Cliff/Hamarinn, a 4-part supernatural crime miniseries set in rural Iceland that was broadcast across Scandinavia. His first feature film Our Own Oslo became the second highest grossing film of 2011 in Iceland. Lyngdal spent the winter of 2011-12 on Langjökull Glacier directing his second feature film, the sci-fi thriller Frost. His commercial efforts have garnered a number of awards both at home and abroad. He has directed over 200 commercials internationally.
March 13 & 15
Directed by Zaida Bergroth (Finland, 2011). After an unlucky and scandalous premiere the actress Leila (Elina Knihtilä) escapes to the family summerhouse by the lake. The peaceful holiday with her two sons Ilmari (Samuli Niitymäki) and Unto (Eetu Julin) is disrupted when Leila invites some friends over for a rowdy weekend. After the party, Leila asks the charismatic and unpredictable writer Aimo (Eero Aho) to stay for a few days. But her 19-year-old son Ilmari, who has a very close relationship with his mother, at times acting as her personal bodyguard, is hostile towards Aimo.
The Good Son explores an oedipal mother and son relationship that escalates into a drama. It premiered in 2011 at the Toronto Film Festival and won the Golden Hugo in the New Directors competition at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2011 The Good Son was also Finland's nominee for the Nordic Council Film Prize.
About the director
Zaida Bergroth (b. 1977, Finland) studied filmmaking at the FAMU Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic, and in Helsinki, Finland. She has directed numerous award-winning short films such as Glass Jaw/Lasileuka (2004), Town Manager/Kunnanjohtaja (2007), and Heavy Metal (2007). Her critically-acclaimed feature debut, Last Cowboy Standing/Skavabölen pojat (2009), received the Flash Forward award at the Pusan International Film Festival in 2009, as well as two Jussi awards for Best Screenplay and Best Sound in 2009.
Following Last Cowboy Standing, Bergroth chose to direct a smaller film in scale that would still be character-driven and enable her to explore her directing craft. The Good Son was co-written with her husband, Jan Forsström, who also edited the film.
March 20 & 22
Directed by Sakari Kirjavaien (Finland, 2011). Silence is the story of Eino (Joonas Saartamo), the dim-witted son of a washer of dead bodies at an evacuation center for fallen soldiers right near the frontier line between Finland and Russia during World War II. Eino joins the war with his simple soul full of heroic ideals. Life in the small community turns out to be more complicated than the war itself. Several interesting characters liven up the staff of the evacuation center: there is chaplain Hiltunen (Kari Hakala), crazy about his numbers and charts; Korpikangas (Ilkka Heiskanen), a former medical student straight from the mental institution; Miina (Sinikka Mokkila), an old cupper woman; and two young Lottas, Jaana (Terhi Suorlahti) with a hard shell and Siiri (Joanna Haartti) with an open heart.
The most important one to Eino, however, is his lifelong friend Antti (Lauri Tilkanen), for whom his father has arranged an innocuous job at the center. Antti is a charming bum who makes Eino do all his work and himself concentrates on wooing the young Lottas and trading illegally across the frontier line.
VIEW TRAILER (No English subtitles)
About the director
Sakari Kirjavainen (b. 1960, Helsinki) studied film directing at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture (formerly the University of Art and Design, Helsinki). He directed some successful experimental short films and received the Risto Jarva award for his short feature Whale Oil Lamp/Traanilamppu (1997), which was shot in Greenland. His first feature film was The Suburban Tale/Ken tulta pyytää (2007).
Kirjavainen is a director and a screenwriter. He has directed feature films, television series, radio plays, and theater pieces. He has also written two novels. In 2009 Kirjavainen was nominated for the best first novel of the year Viereenkatsoje (2009) and received an award from the radio series Under the Northern Star/Täällä Pohjantähden alla (2010).
April 3 & 5
Directed by Lena Koppel (Sweden, 2011). Alex (Sverrir Gudnason) is an inveterate loafer with dreams of being on the stage, who takes no responsibility for himself or those closest to him, and his life is anything but under control.
When his girlfriend Lisa (Cecilia Forss) eventually gets fed up and leaves him, Alex is forced to look for a job in order to survive. All of a sudden, he finds himself working as an assistant to a troop of mentally handicapped people at a group living facility with inflexible routines, endless courses in how to tie your shoelaces, and, above all, lots of very bored individuals.
Following a disastrous start with muddled schedules, angry reprimands from his boss, and an emergency visit from the fire department, Alex gradually starts to tune in to the warm and charming individuals around him. Beneath their handicaps and medication, they are bursting with energy, full of dreams and fun-loving spirit, and unexpected talent.
Alex and his new friends face an uphill battle as they struggle to overcome preconceived notions, angry and anxious families, and a prejudiced environment in order to achieve their goal – to take part in the national hit TV show The Talent Hunt. This feisty bunch has tied their last shoelace!
The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes is a moving and uplifting comedy with plenty of heart and soul, loosely-based on the real-life story of Glada Hudik Theatre and their productions that were a hit both in Sweden and abroad. The cast is drawn from members of the Glada Hudik Theatre.
About the director
Lena Koppel (b. 1955, Oskarshamn, Sweden) grew up in Toronto and studied directing at Focal in Berlin and Zürich, and scriptwriting at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her first feature film True Moments/Sanna ögonblick (1998) was a critical success and nominated for Best Actress at the Swedish Guldbagge awards. True Moments was followed by Bombay Dreams in 2004 and a comedy about female rally racing drivers, Rallygirls/Rallybrudar in 2008. Koppel also co-writes all of her feature films.
April 10 & 12
Directed by Ella Lemhagen (Denmark & Sweden, 2011). Two families from opposite sides of the tracks have a profound effect on each other in this imaginatively shot murder mystery. Fragancia (Alicia Vikander), a small-town beauty of Spanish descent, sets the plot in motion when she plans to take revenge on besotted neighbor Richard (Bill Skarsgård), who she blames for the death of her younger brother. The son of a shoe manufacturer, Richard grew up rich, while Fragancia, the daughter of a warehouse worker, grew up poor, yet the two families become intricately enmeshed over many years. Fragancia falls for hockey virtuoso Pettersson-Jonsson (Björn Gustafsson), which makes Richard jealous. After Pettersson-Jonsson takes off in search of NHL glory, Fragancia's world falls apart.
Director Lemhagen weaves plenty of terrible and miraculous plot twists for the two families in this engrossing melodrama. Throughout, there are mysterious keys, secret hiding places, and gloriously gothic atmosphere to spare.
About the director
Ella Lemhagen (b. 1965, Sweden) studied film history at Stockholm University and then continued her studies in directing at the Swedish National Film School. Her feature film debut The Prince of Dreams/Drömprinsen – filmen om Em (1996) was highly praised and earned her a nomination for Best Director at the Swedish Guldbagge awards. The third feature she directed, Tsatsiki, Mum and the Policeman/Tsatsiki, morsan och polisen (1999), was a hit also internationally and the film received several awards. Patrik, Ages 1.5/Patrik, Age 1,5 (2008), a film Lemhagen both wrote and directed, was a critical and commercial success in Sweden and also abroad.
April 17 & 19
Directed by Arild Andresen (Norway, 2012). Jarle (Rolf Kristian Larsen) is 24 when a phone call rouses him from his sleep. It is his mother (Cecilie A. Mosli), telling him that his father (Kristoffer Joner) is dead. Instead of sadness, Jarle is filled with anger and a sense of relief. Based on Tore Renberg's bestselling novel of the same name, The Orheim Company is a strong human tale about a boy growing up with an alcoholic father and an energetic story about teenage lust, pain, and passion – about liberation and redemption.
The Orheim Company is the last chapter in the trilogy about Jarle Klepp, which started with The Man Who Loved Yngve/Mannen som elsket Yngve (2008) and I Travel Alone/Jeg reiser alene (2011).
About the director
Arild Andresen (b. 1967) has directed in excess of 100 commercials for the Moland Film Company since 1999, and has received numerous national and international awards for his work in this field, as well as for other commissioned films he has directed. While commercials may have been his bread and butter, Andresen also worked on other productions before making his debut as a feature film director. He directed the short film Mary in 1999, and both wrote and directed the two shorts Pokerface (1996) and Sit Tight/Sitt stille (2003).
He also directed the television series The Boys/Gutta Boys in 2006, which became the first Norwegian television series ever to be nominated for an Emmy Award, and has since been sold to TV channels and networks all over the world. Andresen made his debut as a feature film director with the highly acclaimed youth comedy, The Liverpool Goalie/Keeper'n til Liverpool, in 2010. The film had its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011, where it won the Crystal Bear for Best Film in the 14plus section of the Generation Competition, as well as received Special Mention from the Generation International Jury of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk. It has since been screened at numerous festivals around the world.
April 24 & 26
Directed by Ole Endresen (Norway, 2011). Once a great curling star, Truls Paulsen (Atle Antonsen) is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and banned from competition. But when he learns that his old friend and coach Gordon (Ingar Helge Gimle) is on his deathbed, Truls, heavily-medicated, decides to compete again, in the hopes of winning money for Gordon to have an operation in the U.S. Truls stops taking his meds and tries to convince his old team mates that he is mentally stable enough to lead them to victory in the Norwegian Curling Championship. But is it a good sign that he obsessively insists his teammates pull their zippers all the way up before they can play?
About the director
Ole Endresen has for many years been an integral part of a new wave of Norwegian television comedy, both as a writer, producer, and director. He has directed sketch-based comedy shows like Out in Our Garden/Uti vår hage (2008), Three Brothers Who Aren't Brothers/Tre brødre (2005), and Team Antonsen (2004) and is also an experienced director of commercials. His debut as a director of more dramatic fiction material came with the (still very comedic) television series Etaten in 2006, while King Curling (2011) marks Endresen's debut as a feature film director.
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Icelandic Film Centre, the Norwegian Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, and NordicStories.
May 1 through 17, 2013
In conjunction with the ASF exhibition MUNCH | WARHOL and the Multiple Image, Scandinavia House presents a small survey of films about Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, delving in to the iconoclast’s life, multifaceted artistic concerns, and discursive influence – in art and film – through the ages.
May 1 & 3
Dead Madonna/Død Madonna
preceding Quest for Madonna/Jakten på Madonna
Directed by Ingeranna Krohn-Nydal and Evald Otterstad (Norway, 2005). A documentary about Dagny Juel-Przybyszewska, Norwegian writer and erstwhile model for Edvard Munch, and the Polish writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski.
Ann Hostein can't forget the old story about her grandmother and grandfather. What happened then, more than 100 years ago, was an injustice which has never been re-established. It has been sealed and hidden in a way that will never make it stop aching. Her grandparents were the great lovers of their time, important figures within the European avant-garde art scene in the 1890s. They were an inspiration for many great artists, among them Edvard Munch in his Frieze of Life/Livsfrisen (1893) collection. She was the Norwegian writer and musician Dagny Juel. He was the famous Polish writer and ideologue Stanislaw Przybyszewski. Through their grandchild Ann we meet her father, Zenon, who was only five and a half years old when he witnessed the murder of his mother in a hotel room in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1901.
About the directors
Ingeranna Krohn-Nydal (b. 1958) has studied film, theater, music, and dance at universities in both Norway and Denmark. She has worked professionally in film since 1986, and has made numerous documentaries, short and experimental films, which have been presented at film festivals all over the world.
Krohn-Nydal works for the production company Aminda Produksjoner and often collaborates with colleague Evald Otterstad, with whom she’s made many documentaries and short films. Their short documentary Aminda’s World (1992) received the FIPRESCI Award at the Leipzig Film Festival in 1993.
Evald Otterstad (b. 1956) has studied film, music, theater, and art history, and has extensive experience as a director. He has made short films, documentaries, and feature films, many of which have been screened at several international festivals, and won numerous awards. The Track Meet (1995) and But the Weekends are Ours (1994), which both received awards at the Norwegian Short Film Festival in Grimstad, while Aminda’s World (1992) won the FIPRESCI Award at the Leipzig Film Festival in 1993.
Other Otterstad films include the feature film Uncle Oscar/Onkel Oskar (1997), the documentaries The Photographers (1998) and Thoughts About the City (1999), and the short Cigarettes (2002).
His documentaries are in the tradition of poetic and philosophical films, and he explores his themes and subjects in an intimately personal manner. Evald Otterstad also works as a film theorist, and does lectures on film making and film theory.
Directed by Erling Borgen (England, Japan, Norway, U.S., 2003). Edvard Munch is one of the most famous painters in the world. In 1999 his painting Madonna was put up for auction at Christie’s in London by an anonymous seller, estimated value was $15 million. There was not a single bid. Afterwards, the painting mysteriously disappeared from the international art scene. No one knows where it is. This documentary goes in search of the missing Madonna. For the first time, owners of the largest private Munch collections open their doors to the public in a quest that takes the viewer around the world.
About the director
Erling Borgen (b. 1948) is a Norwegian journalist, filmmaker, author, and social commentator.
Borgen worked as a foreign correspondent for NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) in Latin America (1988 – 1992) and Asia (1996 – 1999). In 1999 he founded his own production company Borgen Production A/S. In August 2002 Borgen received a grant from the Fritt Ord Foundation to establish Innsikt – specializing in the production of TV-documentaries on human rights, art, and culture.
He has produced over 90 documentaries. In 2006 he was famously censured by NRK – citing imbalanced and improper use of sources – for his documentary Et lite stykke Norge/A Little Piece of Norway that showed the use of Norwegian arms in international conflicts. Eventually NRK’s TV2 did screen the documentary.
Also an author and playwright, his books include The Adventures of Reksten/Reksten’s eventyr (1982), The Bergensen Dynasty/Huset Bergensen (1984), Only a Dream, a Latin American Journey/Bare en drøm, en latin-amerikansk reise (1992), Red Dream, My Encounter with China/Rød drøm, mitt møte med Kina (1998).
May 8 & 10
preceding Dance of Life/Livets dans
Directed by Anja Breien (Norway, 1971). A short documentary about faces – expressions and situations. The film is based on Edvard Munch’s portraits, accompanied by a poem by the Danish poet Paul Borum.
About the director
Anja Breien (b. 1941) is a Norwegian film director and screenwriter. A subject of academic interest, a pioneer among Norwegian female film professionals, and one of the still active longtime veterans of the Norwegian film industry, Breien is revered and respected as one of the most influential and important directors in Norwegian film history, as well as one of Norway’s most internationally recognized directors, with a career spanning five decades.
Breien studied at the French film school L’Institut des hautes etudes cinématographiques (IDHEC), graduating in 1964, after having first studies French at the University of Oslo. She made her start in film as a script supervisor for Nils R. Müller’s film Det Store Varpet (1961) and made her feature film debut in 1971 with the drama Rape/Voldtekt. Her film Heritage/Arven was entered into the 1979 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Between 1969 and 2012, she has directed over 14 films and received several awards, including the box-office success Wives/Hustruer (1975), To See a Boat in Sails/Å se en båt med seil (2000), Untitled – Sans titre/Uten tittel (2005; PRIX UIP Berlin, Berlin International Film Festival, 2001), Yezidi/Jezidi (2009), and most recently From the History of Chewing Gum/Fra tyggesummiens historie (2012).
While first and foremost recognized as a director, it must also be noted that Breien has extensive experience as a writer and has written most of her own films over the years, be they either original screenplays or adaptations. She has also written screenplays for other directors, notably Ola Solum’s Second Sight (1994).
Dance of Life/Livets dans
Directed by Sølvi A. Lindseth (Norway, 1997). Based on important events in the world famous painter Edvard Munch’s life that may better reveal who he was and how his art was influenced by the life he lived. Following the artist’s footsteps from childhood to old age, Dance of Life attempts to capture Munch’s diversity and dilemmas, to find connections between the events of his childhood and youth, his art and his adult life.
About the director
Sølvi A. Lindseth (b. 1963) studied journalism, film, and television production at institutions both in the United States (Luther College, Decorah and Austin College, New Mexico) and Norway (University of Bergen and Volda University College). Since 1986 she has worked as a screenwriter, director, and project manager and has directed several documentaries and short films. Lindseth’s films include the award-winning short 80 Degrees East of Birdland/80 grader aust for Birdland (2000), which among others, won the Audience Award at the 2001 Aspen Shortsfest.
Dance of Life has been sold to numerous countries and received several awards. Lindseth co-owns and runs the production company Hybrisfilm, which she co-founded in 1989, working out of both Oslo and Seattle.
May 15 & 17
Directed by Peter Watkins (Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, 1974). Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (Geir Westby) began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe's most maligned and controversial artist, the film also flashes back to the death from consumption of his mother, when he was five, his sister's death, and his near death at 13 from pulmonary disease.
The film finds enduring significance in Munch's brief affair with “Mrs. Heiberg” (Gro Fraas) and his participation in the café society of anarchist Hans Jæger (Kåre Stormark) in Christiania and later in Berlin with August Strindberg (Alf Kare Strindberg). Through it all Munch's melancholy and his desire to render on canvas, cardboard, paper, stone, and wood his innermost feelings are evident.
About the director
Peter Watkins (b. 1935) is an English film and television director. He was born in Norbiton, Surrey, lived in Sweden, Canada, and Lithuania for many years, and now lives in France. His movies, pacifist and radical, strongly review the limit of classic documentary and movies. Watkins mainly concentrates his works and ideas around the mass media and our relation/participation to a movie or television documentary.
Nearly all of Watkins’ films have used a combination of dramatic and documentary elements to dissect historical occurrences or possible near future events.
Special thanks to the Norwegian Film Institute and Shadow Distribution.
See also MUNCH | WARHOL and the Multiple Image in EXHIBITIONS section.
January 4, 6, & 9, 2012, 6:30 pm
$12 ($7 ASF Members), Series pass: $28 ($16 ASF Members)
Catch an exclusive sneak peek of the films chosen by the Nordic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011, selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Special thanks to SFI, Janus Films, and Magnolia Pictures.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 6:30 pm
Directed by Pernilla August, Sweden, 2010. The morning before Christmas, Leena (Noomi Rapace), 34, receives a phone call from a hospital in her childhood hometown telling her that her mother is dying. This news takes her on a journey to face her mother for the first time in her adult life. Leena fought her entire life to let go of her grief over her lost and dark childhood. She is now forced to deal with her past to be able to move on.
Based on the novel of the same name by Susanna Alakoski, Beyond screened at the 67th Venice International Film Festival in 2010 and received the International Critic's Week Award. 92 min.
Friday, January 6, 2012, 6:30 pm
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2011.Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a former bohemian and struggling author, has given up his literary ambitions and relocated to the port city Le Havre. He leads a simple life based around his wife Arletty (Kati Outinen), his favorite bar, and his not too profitable profession as a shoe-shiner. As Arletty suddenly becomes seriously ill, Marcel's path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa (Blondin Miguel), who needs Marcel's help to hide from the police.
The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it received the FIPRESCI Prize. Kaurismäki envisions it as the first installment in a trilogy about life in port cities. His ambition is to make follow-ups set in Spain and Germany, shot in the local languages. 93 min.
Monday, January 9, 2012, 6:30 pm
Directed by Anne Sewitsky, Norway, 2011. Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja (Agnes Kittelsen). She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man (Henrik Rafaelsen) who would rather go hunting with the boys, and who refuses to have sex with her because she “isn’t particularly attractive” anymore. Whatever. That’s life. But when “the perfect couple” moves in next door, Kaja struggles to keep her emotions in check.
Not only do these successful, beautiful, exciting people sing in a choir; they have also adopted a child from Ethiopia! These new neighbors open a new world to Kaja, with consequences for everyone involved. And when Christmas comes around, it becomes evident that nothing will ever be like before – even if Kaja tries her very best. 88 min.
January 11 through February 24, 2012
Wednesdays @ 6 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members); Series pass: $60 ($42 ASF Members)
After the death of her husband, Police inspector Maria Wern moves to the picturesque Swedish island Gotland with her two children to start over.
While struggling with raising two children as a single mother and still mourning her husband’s death, Maria manages to sustain her female perspective and approach to life in a harsh and male dominated environment. She constantly encounters rage, death and evil but she stays determined to endure what sometimes feels like an unwinnable battle.
The Maria Wern series consists of 7 feature-length episodes based on the novels by best-selling author Anna Jansson and starring acclaimed Swedish actress Eva Röse.
January 11 & 13
Directed by Erik Leijonborg (Sweden, 2010). A man is found strung up alongside slaughtered animals; another is found sacrificed in his car in the middle of a summer meadow. The holiday paradise is shattered and soon attention falls on an old murder case involving a long-deceased killer that someone is clearly mimicking...
And while the investigation leads them ever deeper into a maze of Aesir beliefs and the obsessions of a sick mind, Maria Wern and her colleagues find themselves in a race against time, as they try to catch the murderer before he strikes again… 90 min.
Special thanks to SF International.
February 29 through May 4, 2012
Wednesdays @ 7 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
Each $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series pass: $80 ($55 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House brings some of the most influential and successful Nordic films to New York audiences this spring with films from Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Norway, and Sweden.
February 29 & March 2
Director Mike Magidson and Actor Ole Jørgen Hammeken will be present at both screenings.
Directed by Mike Magidson (Greenland, 2010). Mike Magidson’s feature narrative debut is a stunning coming of age adventure featuring dynamic performances by amateur Inuit actors akin to or surpassing any professional. Inuk is the story of a 16 year-old boy who is taken from his broken family life in the capital city of Greenland and placed in a home for troubled youth in the remote north of the country. What follows is a dramatic, arctic journey as Inuk (Gaaba Petersen) and the other teens at the center are led by Inuit hunter Ikuma (Ole Jørgen Hammeken) on a cross-ice voyage where they will be forced to grow into adulthood and face their troubled pasts.
March 7 & March 9
Directed by Marius Holst (Norway, 2010). This true story of the infamous Bastøy Boys Home correctional facility in Norway begins with the arrival of 17 year-old Erling (Benjamin Helstad), a rumored murderer. He immediately clashes with the island facility's governor (Stellan Skarsgård), who believes manual labor, rigid discipline, and harsh punishment are the only methods that can turn the boys into honorable members of society. Refusing to accept the constant abuse, Erling slowly rouses the rest of the boys out of their resigned existence, and encourages them to fight to lift up their spirits. When tragedy finally falls at the hand of the sadistic dorm master, Erling leads his comrades in a courageous and vicious rebellion that will bring them head to head with no less than the Norwegian Army.
March 14 & March 16
Directed by Hans Petter Moland (Norway, 2010). Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgård) is a somewhat gentle man. He has killed some people and crippled a few. But this sort of stuff is part of the job when working in the criminal world. Just like doing time in prison. Now Ulrik is out again. And Jensen (Bjørn Floberg) is waiting on the outside. He's a thug with professional pride. He takes care of his people and is concerned with keeping things in order. It is important for the boss that Ulrik settles his account by shooting the guy (Henrik Mestad) who ratted him out. Ulrik is a somewhat gentle man. He has no special wishes and makes no demands. He does not give too much thought to what he does either. He just does it. If he's given some food and a place to sleep, then he will give people what they want from him in return, whether this is a little affection or a killing. Then he looks up his son (Jan Gunnar Roise) who has now become a grown man – a good man with an education, a girlfriend (Julia Bache-Wiig), and a future. But the son has a father who's a murderer. His girlfriend doesn't like it. Her family is not into stuff like that, they're more into nurseries and plants. They have principles. Ulrik is a somewhat gentle man - but how gentle can he be?
March 21 & March 23
Directed by Arto Halonen (Finland, 2010). A film about a woman (Katja Kukkola), judged to be sick by society, who heals and brings joy to others around her with her presence and personality. As she heals her surroundings more effectively than the prevailing healthcare system, the society attempts to suppress this individual’s inner light.
Princess is a feature film based on a true story about the most famous patient of Kellokoski Mental Hospital, Anna Lappalainen. Diagnosed as a manic depressive with symptoms of schizophrenia, Lappalainen claims to be a princess when brought into the hospital and does not want to be addressed by her own name.
This kickstarts a long battle between Lappalainen and the hospital staff over her identity and the right to her own personality. Eventually the Kellokoski hospital becomes the princess’ castle, where she holds court while gaining the respect of her fellow patients, the hospital staff and the surrounding village community.
March 28 & March 30
Directed by Marja Pyykkö (Finland, 2010). 15 year-old Emilia (Ada Kukkonen) has always been the responsible one in her family. Emilia´s parents are divorced and the children live with their dad. In the absence of their mother, Emilia looks after her little sister, and her dad says Emilia “will always do fine.” On the last day of summer break, Emilia meets Siiri (Sara Melleri), who seems to be everything Emilia wishes she was: brave, free, and independent. It is friendship at first sight and Emilia´s life soon revolves around Siiri. But can freedom be found in a symbiotic relationship with Siiri? Emilia has to find the courage to break free from Siiri in order to become whole and find her own path. Run Sister Run! tells the story of the turbulent relationship between the two girls as they test new boundaries and take new paths. It is a film about the bittersweet beauty of being young.
View trailer (no subtitles)
April 11 & April 13
Directed by Josef Fares (Sweden, 2010). Lebanese-Swedish director Josef Fares gives his real-life father a star-making turn in this charming tale with light comedic overtones about family life among Middle Eastern immigrants living in Scandinavia. The gregarious Aziz (Jan Fares) is a widower looking for love with the help of his co-workers at a rinky-dink bike shop, while his son and daughter-in-law promise to make him a grandfather. He doesn't realize that they can't conceive naturally, however, so they're faking the pregnancy and planning to adopt. When Aziz goes looking for a warm and suitable grandmother, nothing really goes according to plan. Balls is a comedy about love, friendship, and the art of being a man.
April 18 & April 20
Directed by Lisa Siwe (Sweden, 2009). Jenna (Josefine Mattsson) is a girl currently in the seventh grade. Like a normal teenage girl, she worries about her breasts not growing, why she is not as popular as Ullis (Mika Berndtsdotter Ahlén), and how she can get Sakke (Samuel Haus) to fall in love with her or at least notice that she exists. When Jenna's mother Liv (Annika Hallin) is diagnosed with cancer, they are forced to move to Jenna's grandmother (Anki Lidén), who Jenna finds annoying. Jenna's grandmother lives next door to Ullis, who is living with her alcoholic mother. A friendship begins to grow between Jenna and Ullis after they realize that they both have struggling mothers.
Based on the 2003 youth novel by Johanna Thydell, Glowing Stars deals with the difficulty of losing a loved one. But it is also a film about friendship, identity, and survival.
View trailer (no subtitles)
April 25 & April 27
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark, 2010). The story of two estranged brothers who lose track of each other after an unstable childhood until they meet up again in prison is the focus of former Dogma director Thomas Vinterberg film based on a book by Jonas T. Bengtsson, a Danish novelist celebrated for his unflinching realism. The film’s title refers to a horrific method of torture known as “submarino” (waterboarding) in which the target’s head is held under water to just before the point of drowning.
Nick (Jakob Cedergren) and his younger brother have grown up in terrible circumstances: their childhood was marked by poverty, abuse and an alcoholic mother until the family was torn apart by tragedy. Nick is now thirty-three and has just been released from prison. He’s a man who knows what he wants: to train hard and drink hard in order to stand up against a hard world. A bodybuilder, he lives in a dilapidated hostel on the outskirts of Copenhagen. His brother (Peter Plaugborg) is a junkie and a single father for whom only two things count in life: his daily fix and a better life for his six-year-old son, Martin (Gustav Fischer Kjærulff). Reason enough for him to deal in heroin.
The brothers may live separate lives in grim Copenhagen, yet they are somehow searching for each other. What binds them is their mutual struggle for a life worth living. Occasionally their paths cross, making confrontation inevitable, but is redemption possible?
May 2 & May 4
Directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen (Denmark, 2011). Ditte (Lene Maria Christensen) is part of a renowned family of bakers, the Rheinwalds. She is also a successful gallery owner and constantly on the move. Having been offered her dream job in New York she decides, along with her boyfriend Peter (Pilo Asbæk), to accept the offer and move to the Big Apple. The future is bright and life is fun and simple.
The couple is on their way when Ditte’s beloved, but dominating father Rikard Rheinwald (Jesper Christensen), master baker and purveyor to the royal court, falls seriously ill. Ditte calls off the move to New York in order to be with him and before long her own way of life hangs in the balance.
Rikard demands that, in view of his illness, she takes her place in the Rheinwald family business and assume ownership of the bakery, while Peter pulls in the opposite direction, feeling that Ditte’s loyalty to her family is forcing her to abandon their common dreams. Ditte is faced with the grueling decision: to pursue her own dreams, or to continue the legacy of her family.
A Family is a moving and modern story about complicated family ties, the new wife, and the new kids - and about following your dreams to find your own place in history.
View trailer (no subtitles)
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, Film Movement, the Finnish Film Foundation, Focus Features, the Norwegian Film Institute, Strand Releasing, and the Swedish Film Institute.
June 20 through August 3, 2012 (No screenings July 4 & 6, 2012)
Wednesdays @ 7 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $50 ($35 ASF Members)
Each episode is 90 min.
Scandinavia House continues its popular Nordic crime series this summer, featuring Varg Veum II, film adaptations of Norwegian writer Gunnar Staalesen’s crime novels. The contemporary thriller series about hard-boiled private investigator Varg Veum is distinguished by dark humor, sharp characterization, and unremitting tension. The first installments of Varg Veum screened at Scandinavia House in summer 2009.
During the last two decades Staalesen has published 13 Varg Veum novels and 2 collections of short stories, and has become a household name with the Norwegian crime fiction audience. Publishers have recognized the Norwegian writer’s talent for hard-boiled noir and his Varg Veum novels are now published in 13 countries, including Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, England, and Italy. Staalesen has written more than 35 books and received a number of prestigious Scandinavian awards. Staalesen is known for his talent to create complex and exciting crime plots, while drawing attention to social injustices through his lone-wolf hero.
June 20 & 22
Directed by Stefan Faldbakken (Norway, 2010) & screenplay by Gunnar Staalesen. It's 2010 and Varg Veum finally has his life together. He got a haircut, has a steady job, and finally found a girlfriend who is good for him. Karin is harmonious, smart, and independent. The couple plans to move in together and is looking for an apartment. Veum is happy. At the same time, Harry Hopsland, aka The Knife, is released from prison. He is the worst adversary the private investigator ever had; he is a man without inhibitions, is mentally disturbed, and says things others do not even dare to think. The Knife was convicted of involuntary manslaughter of the young girl Eva Beate Skagestøl in the 90s. He has been an invalid ever since Veum discovered Eva Beate dead of an overdose and beat him with his bare hands. The Knife knows about Veum's bleak background. He knows why he almost killed him back then. He also knows that Veum is struggling hard to stay afloat in his new life. Now The Knife wants revenge. This pushes Varg towards a confrontation with the dark forces inside himself.
June 27 & 29
Directed by Stephan Apelgren (Norway, 2011). Varg Veum discovers there is much he does not know about his girlfriend, Karin. When Karin’s sister goes missing, he promises Karin he will find her. But then he’s faced with a serious dilemma. Karin’s sister is a prostitute who has fallen into the clutches of some ruthless pimps who don’t hesitate to liquidate anyone standing in their way.
He makes the fateful decision to let Karin’s sister go – a decision that will have dire consequences for everyone involved. Chief Inspector Hamre of the Bergen Police also has his hands full clearing up after Veum, who is starting to make the connection between a cold case of homicide by arson and a man found drowned among the fish in the Bergen Aquarium.
July 11 & 13
Directed by Stephan Apelgren (Norway, 2011) & screenplay by Petter Rosenlund. Varg Veum is summoned by Inspector Hamre to a hostage situation on a farm outside Bergen. A married couple was brutally murdered and all evidence points to their foster-son, 16 year old Jan Egil. But Veum knows the boy from his work in Child Care and it does not make sense to him the way it does to Hamre, not even when the boy confesses.
Veum finds an ally in Cecilie, an old flame in Child Services, and discovers that the murdered couple ran a shady operation that put the lives of young people at stake and made them several enemies. Veum comes under pressure to solve the case before even more innocent youths are killed.
July 18 & 20
Directed by Alexander Eik (Norway, 2011) & screenplay by Alexander Eik & Trygve Allister Diesen. The thunderous roar of an explosion shakes Bergen as a munitions store goes sky high. Not only does Varg Veum's best friend lose his life in the blast, but he is also named as the bomber. But Varg can't get this to add up. He starts to dig into the dark secrets of the weapons industry, and is drawn into a lethal game in what proves to be his biggest and most dangerous case ever...
July 25 & 27
Directed by Erik Richter Strand (Norway, 2011). Varg Veum witnesses the death of a young girl seeking asylum. Was it an accident or was she killed as a warning to other girls in the same circles? Together Veum and Karin discover that the dead girl was deeply involved in where young women at asylum reception centers are suspiciously exploited. Time works against the private investigator as he strives to prove the identity of the people behind the ring before more young girls lose their lives.
August 1 & 3
Directed by Stephan Apelgren (Norway, 2011) & screenplay by Trygve Allister Diesen. Varg Veum is going to be a father. Life takes a new direction in a way he could never have imagined as he searches for a missing pair of siblings in the prostitution rings of Bergen. Veum realizes that the case is linked to a murder investigated by Chief Inspector Hamre, where the victim had uncomfortably close ties to the vanished siblings. Parallel to Karin’s growing belly, the threat against Veum also increases as clues point to an unscrupulous drug ring hunting for a large missing shipment of heroin. Veum realizes that life will never be the same when he has to decide to either let the criminals go free or expose Karin to mortal danger.
Special thanks to Cinenord and Cinemiso.
Originally scheduled through Friday, December 7, 2012
Series extended through Friday, December 14, 2012 (No screenings November 21 & 23, 2012)
Wednesdays @ 7 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $80 ($56 ASF Members)
Borgen is an award-winning Danish drama series about the fight for political power – and about the personal sacrifices and consequences for everyone involved. Borgen (“the Castle”) is the nickname of Christiansborg Palace, which houses all three of Denmark's branches of government: the Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court. The central figure of the series is the 40-year-old political leader Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who through her idealism and huge effort secures her party a landslide victory, becoming the new Danish Prime Minister, and thus faces the biggest challenge of her life: how most effectively to use the newly won seats, and how far she is willing to go in order to gain as much influence as possible. Privately, Birgitte leads a happy family life with her husband and two children. She is a woman with a burning commitment, a big heart, and little time. Will she be able to be a successful and professional top politician and stay true to herself at the same time?
Among the many important people in Birgitte Nyborg’s professional life is her media adviser, Kasper Juul (Pilou Asbæk), who is one of the most talented in the business. However, he is also a cynic with no illusions, who needs to start believing in the messages which is his job to impart.
Another significant character is Katrine Fønsmark (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen): a political journalist working for a large public service television station. Her screen charm and her ability to bring the debate to the viewers’ eye level have quickly earned her popularity and clout, but her personal life is rootless and confused.
Borgen has a large gallery of characters and deals with many different aspects in the political, the journalistic, and the private spheres.
2 seasons in series; each episode is 60 min. In Danish with English subtitles.
Followed by Episode 2: Count to 90
September 26 & 28
Directed by Søren Kragh-Jacobsen (Denmark, 2010). Denmark prepares for parliamentary elections. Birgitte Nyborg, facing her first election as party leader, decides to head in her own direction – the question is: Will voters reward or punish her for this change?
Follows Episode 1: Decency in the Middle
September 26 & 28
Directed by Søren Kragh-Jacobsen (Denmark, 2010). Birgitte Nyborg is undeniably the winner of the election, doubling her party’s seats in parliament. Focus turns to the negotiation of alliances and the forming of a new government. Turbulence, toil, and surprises ensue, and Birgitte’s election-win begins to look more like a loss.
October 3 & 5
Directed by Rumle Hammerich (Denmark, 2010). After only a few short months as prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg has negotiated her first bill into place. But before the final ratification, several members of parliament withdraw their support. Privately, Birgitte also lets her family down.
Follows Episode 3: The Art of the Possible
October 3 & 5
Directed by Rumle Hammerich (Denmark, 2010). Journalist Katrine Fønsmark gets the scoop of her life when an anonymous source contacts her with important security policy information. The pressure is on Birgitte Nyborg to shut up the case -- will she succumb or decide to go her own way?
Followed by Episode 6: State Visit
October 10 & 12
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark, 2010). Birgitte puts forth a proposal for gender quotas on Danish companies' boards of directors. The proposal meets resistance both in and out of government -- and the country's most powerful businessman gives Birgitte an ultimatum.
Follows Episode 5: Men Who Love Women
October 10 & 12
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark, 2010). Birgitte faces her first state visit, as the president of the former Soviet republic Turgisia, is coming on official business. The simultaneous arrival of a renowned Turgisian dissident places Birgitte in the middle of an escalating conflict.
Followed by Episode 8: The Silly Season
October 17 & 19
Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (Denmark, 2010). When surveillance equipment is found in the offices of an extreme left-wing political party, it looks like the work of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service -- but why?
Follows Episode 7: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
October 17 & 19
Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (Denmark, 2010). Not much happens in Parliament during summer. That is, until Michael Laugesen announces that he has written a book — to be released in a few days — containing disclosures of all sorts from his years in politics.
Followed by Episode 10: The First Tuesday in October
October 24 & 26
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark, 2010). The Defense Minister announces the choice of new fighter jets on the government’s behalf. When unpleasant surprises surface in the wake of the big plane purchase, the media launch an offensive against members of Parliament.
Follows Episode 9: Divide and Rule
October 24 & 26
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark, 2010). Birgitte is hard-pressed in the polls leading up to the start of a new year in Parliament while the Labor Party is picking up headway and clamoring for more influence. Meanwhile, the press wants to do a story on Birgitte's private life, which isn't prospering.
Followed by Episode 12: In Brussels No One Can Hear You Scream
November 7 & 9
Directed by Jannik Johansen (Denmark, 2011). In the season II opener, Birgitte is visiting soldiers stationed in Afghanistan when their encampment is attacked, and several soldiers are killed. Now she must choose: send the troops home or stage a counterattack?
Follows Episode 11: 89,000 Children
November 7 & 9
Directed by Jannik Johansen (Denmark, 2011). Birgitte must appoint a new EU-commissioner and her old mentor is the obvious candidate. Seeing it as a ploy to get rid of him, he refuses Birgitte's offer, leading to a power play with serious consequences.
Followed by Episode 14: Battle Ready
November 14 & 16
Directed by Jesper W. Nielsen (Denmark, 2011). Birgitte's government prepares to present a new reform package, which is being polished at a political seminar. But when party leader comes under a personal media attack, Birgitte senses a rebellion brewing, and the seminar dissolves in chaos.
Follows Episode 13: The Last Worker
November 14 & 16
Directed by Jesper W. Nielsen (Denmark, 2011). When pirates hijack a Danish ship off Somalia's coast, the new party leader diverts attention from Birgitte, who badly needs a success story.
Followed by Episode 16: Them and Us
November 28 & 30
Directed by Louise Friedberg (Denmark, 2011). Birgitte is about to negotiate the environmental element of the new reform package, but she must face the reality of parties unwilling to compromise. Meanwhile, Birgitte's children are clearly affected by their mother's stress.
Follows Episode 15: Plant a Tree
November 28 & 30
Directed by Louise Friedberg (Denmark, 2011). Just as Birgitte's new government is getting back on track after the Green Party's exit, internal strife erupts among coalition partners. This time it's from the right, as a divisive bill is submitted to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years.
Episode 17: What is Lost Inwardly Must Be Gained Outwardly (Pt. 1)/Hvad indad tabes, skal udad vindes (Del I)
Followed by Episode 18: What is Lost Inwardly Must Be Gained Outwardly (Pt. 2)
December 5 & 7
Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (Denmark, 2011). Just as polls indicate Birgitte may lose the next election, financier Joachim Crohne emerges with an idea that could save her political career. But can his motives be trusted?
Episode 18: What is Lost Inwardly Must Be Gained Outwardly (Pt. 2)/ Hvad indad tabes, skal udad vindes (Del II)
Follows Episode 17: What is Lost Inwardly Must Be Gained Outwardly (Pt. 1)
December 5 & 7
Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (Denmark, 2011). The eyes of the world are on Copenhagen and Birgitte for peace between North and South Kharun. When Birgitte realizes Denmark is only a small piece in a major international power game, her negotiation skills are put to the test. Can she end the bloody civil war?
Followed by Episode 20: An Extraordinary Remark
December 12 &14
Directed by Louise Friedberg (Denmark, 2011). Laura's illness has worsened over the past few months, and Birgitte now feels terrible about failing to recognize it. When Laura's psychiatrist suggests admitting her to a private psychiatric hospital, Birgitte and Phillip immediately agree.
Follows Episode 19: The Sanctity of Private Life
December 12 &14
Directed by Louise Friedberg (Denmark, 2011). In the season II finale, Birgitte is on a month leave from her post as prime minister to focus on family and the Labor Party chairman has positioned himself to be her possible successor.
Special thanks to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
Monday, March 12, 2012, 7 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Up and About Again is a selection of the most widely distributed artist films and videos from Finland. These works have roamed international film and media art festivals during the past years gaining attention and awards. Featured artists include Hannaleena Hauru, Anssi Kasitonni, Niina Suominen, Maarit Suomi-Väänänen, Jani Ruscica, and Salla Tykkä. An artist panel follows the screening.
The program is produced and curated by AV-arkki, the Distribution Centre for Finnish Media Art. AV-arkki has been a pioneering distributor for over 23 years and has opened up opportunities for artists to have their work recognized internationally. The activities of AV-arkki have contributed to the success that Finnish media art enjoys today. These activities are unique in both Finland and in the other Nordic countries.
Co-presented with AV-arkki.
MorphosesInsights: Dance + Film/Pontus Lidberg
Thursday, May 3, 7 pm
$15 ($10 ASF Members)
See MorphosesInsights in PAST PERFORMING ARTS section.
Co-presented by Morphoses.
Tuesday, June 12 @ 6:30 pm, Deutsches Haus @ NYU (42 Washington Mews, NYC); Free
Wednesday, June 13 @ 7 pm, Scandinavia House; $10 ($7 ASF Members)
The late Eva Norvind, aka Ava Taurel (born in Norway to Russian prince Paul Chegodayef Sakonsky and Finnish sculptress Johanna Kajuanus), was a larger-than-life figure, an unconventional and controversial sexual pioneer whose life incredibly intersects with many random places and very unusual facets: from being Mexico’s Marilyn Monroe; to studying film and alternate human sexuality and health education at New York University (NYU); and ultimately becoming New York City’s most famous dominatrix. Norvind died at the age of 62, on May 14, 2006, drowned in the waters off the beaches of Oaxaca, Mexico.
This special tribute presented by Cinema Tropical and the Deutsches Haus at NYU features a screening of Didn’t Do It For Love, the documentary film that renowned German filmmaker Monika Treut made about Eva’s life, as well as Born Without/Nacido Sin, the documentary film that Norvind directed (and that was completed by her daughter Nailea after Norvind’s sudden death) about handicapped Mexican street musician José Flores, that won the Best Documentary awards at the Mexico City and Vancouver Film Festivals. The program also features a special academic round table on Eva Norvind, her persona, career, and her legacy.
June 12 @ Deutsches Haus @ NYU
Directed by Monika Treut (Germany, 1997). Didn’t Do It For Love is a fascinating look into the incredible life of sexual revolutionary Eva Norvind, alias Mistress Ava Taurel, born Eva Johanne Chegodaieva Skonskaya, the daughter of a Russian prince and a Finnish sculptress in Trondheim, Norway. The film recounts the phases in her adventurous life-story: from her early success as a showgirl in Paris and Québec, as a Nordic Marilyn Monroe in the Mexican B-movies of the 1960s, and finally, as the most famous dominatrix in New York during the 1980s. Eva Norvind studied Forensic Psychology to be able to help sexual offenders and as a way of searching for the dark secret of her own sexuality. It is the story of an odyssey through the wilderness of sexuality with no fixed destination.
In English and Spanish with English subtitles.
June 13 @ Scandinavia House
Directed by Eva Norvind (Mexico, 2008). José Flores was born without arms and with stunted legs that render him only three feet tall, but his outsized personality makes his physical attributes the least interesting thing about this complex man. A Mexico City street musician, doting husband, and father of six (with a seventh on the way), Flores navigates the world with few concessions to his disability and with an unbridled appetite for life. As unconventional as he may seem, his history is even more unexpected; charismatic from an early age, he has been a respected occasional actor in Mexican art cinema, including appearances in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain/La Montaña Sagrada (1973) and the seminal Cabeza de Vaca (directed by Nicolás Echevarría, 1991). Flores is also, improbably, a bit of a ladies’ man.
Directed by Eva Norvind, a Mexican actress, sex therapist, and dominatrix, and completed by her daughter after Norvind’s death, this intimate portrait doesn’t shy away from some of the more salacious details of Flores’ life – including a last-act revelation that takes the film in a somewhat controversial direction.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Co-presented by Cinema Tropical and the Deutsches Haus at NYU.
Just a Tiny Piece of Freedom
(International Cities of Refuge Network)
Monday, October 22, 7 pm
See Just a Tiny Piece of Freedom on LECTURES & LITERARY PROGRAMS page.
The event is organized by ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network and its Shahrazad – stories for life program, in close cooperation with PEN American Center and Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America.
Note: This program has been cancelled; we apologize for any inconvenience.
WITHIN (Labyrinth Within)
Tuesday, October 23, 1 pm
See MorphosesStreams: WITHIN (Labyrinth Within) on PERFORMING ARTS page.
Co-presented by Morphoses.
Wednesday, January 5 & Wednesday, January 19, both @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Catch an exclusive sneak peek of the films chosen by the Nordic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 2010 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Wednesday, January 5
(Dir. Joonas Berghäll & Mika Hotakainen, Finland, 2010) In Steam of Life, naked Finnish men in saunas speak straight from the heart and in the warmth of rusty stoves, cleanse themselves both physically and mentally. The film travels through Finland joining men of all walks of life in many different saunas to let us hear their touching stories about love, death, birth and friendship, in short, about life. 84 min.
About the film:
The idea of filming Finnish men in saunas, a quintessential part of Finnish culture, came to Joonas Berghäll’s mind at a time of his life when he felt down, and went to one of Finland’s oldest saunas in Tampere on a weekly basis to clear his mind. There, he started paying attention to men’s conversations. In this intimate environment, they could empty their hearts and souls, and in their nakedness, reveal their inner feelings.
Berghäll and co-director Mika Hotakainen saw a great opportunity in this subject to break the perception of Finnish men as uncommunicative and unemotional persons, and to let them talk about universal topics: love, death, birth, fatherhood, friendship.
Filming in the saunas, with directors and crew naked as well, helped the characters open up. From a technical standpoint, the equipment had to be heated to the temperature of the sauna (75-85 degrees Celsius) to avoid condensation on camera.
The film opened on March 26 in Finland and was a critical and audience success. Steam of Life is receiving a similar enthusiastic response from festival audiences and juries all over the world. The film was awarded the Risto Jarva Award and Audience Award from the National competition at Tampere Film Festival, the Interreligious Jury Award at Visions du Reel in Nyon, Switzerland, and the top prizes at the DocAviv Film Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel and at the Planeta Doc Review Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland.
Wednesday, January 19
(Dir. Andreas Öhman, Sweden, 2010) Simon, 18, has Asperger’s syndrome. He likes space, science and circles but can’t understand feelings. Simon’s life turns into chaos when his brother Sam gets dumped by his girlfriend. Simon realizes it is up to him to find a new girlfriend for Sam to restore the order. Simon knows nothing about love. But he has a scientifically perfect plan.
January 26 through March 4, 2011
Wednesdays @ 6 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $50 ($35 ASF Members)
Screening final 6 episodes in series; each episode is 90 min.
Already having won the heart of millions of viewers through an acclaimed first season in Sweden (screened at Scandinavia House first in 2006 and again in 2010), Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is back for a second season of all-new riveting investigations – the first 7 episodes of the season screened during summer 2010 at Scandinavia House. Wallander has found worldwide appeal in books, films, and television. Created by world-renowned author Henning Mankell, Wallander is an intense and headstrong character known for his blunt approach and unorthodox working methods. Originally screened in Sweden in 2009 and for the first time this summer at Scandinavia House, this second season is based on original stories by Mankell and produced by Yellow Bird (the company who produced the film-adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and the BBC Wallander adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh). Shot on location in Ystad, the films display Scandinavian crime at its best – realistic, gripping and illuminating the dark corners of modern society.
Special thanks to Yellow Bird Films AB & Zodiak Entertainment.
January 26 & January 28
Directed by Agneta Fagerström-Olsson (Sweden, 2009). When a small-time crook is killed by a sniper, Wallander and the Ystad police investigate. Meanwhile, trainee policeman Pontus is forced to consider his career and finds he has more than just a sniper to deal with when he receives a surprise visitor.
February 2 & February 4
Directed by Agneta Fagerström-Olsson (Sweden, 2009). A choir of young women gives an acclaimed guest performance in a country church outside Ystad. But when an 18 year-old member of the choir disappears, Wallander and the Ystad police are brought in to investigate. Initially it seems as if she left of her own free will, but soon traces are found that point in the opposite direction.
February 9 & February 11
Directed by Mikael Marcimain (Sweden, 2009). Arson is suspected when a house burns to the ground following a gas explosion and a man and a woman are found dead. Wallander and the Ystad police investigate and uncover an intricate web of lies, betrayal and secret love affairs.
February 16 & February 18
Directed by Mikael Marcimain (Sweden, 2009). When the wealthy owner of a successful cider business is found brutally murdered, suspicions fall on his family and workers and family secrets are revealed. But just when Wallander thinks he has worked it out, more deaths occur and he is back to square one, with his officers struggling to stay focused.
February 23 & February 25
Directed by Kathrine Windfeld (Sweden, 2009). In her flat, a woman is found dead. Traces point to the victim’s ex-boyfriend, a bouncer named Fabian. During the investigation however, Pontus realizes that his colleague Isabel carries a dark secret from her past – a secret that has a connection to the case. Isabel’s future as a police is suddenly at risk, putting her loyalty towards both Pontus and Wallander to the ultimate test.
March 2 & March 4
Directed by Kathrine Windfeld (Sweden, 2009). A little girl is hiding somewhere in Ystad. She has seen something terrible and must be silenced at any cost. Meanwhile, a trafficking trial commences where the lives of Wallander and the prosecutor Katarina Ahlsell are threatened. The frightening situation forces them slowly to reassess their professions and lives. As the little girl herself contacts Wallander to tell him what she has seen, they both end up in a dramatic showdown with their lives at stake.
New Nordic Cinema
March 23 through June 3, 2011
Wednesdays @ 6 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $75 ($49 ASF Members)
Please note there are no screenings in this series April 6 & April 8 and April 13 & April 15.
Scandinavia House brings some of the most influential and successful Nordic films to New York audiences this spring with films from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, and Iceland in the continuation of its annual series of recently released films. The series featured films from Norway and Sweden in fall 2010.
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Icelandic Film Centre, No. 9 Productions, and Beta Cinema.
March 23 & March 25
Directed by Saara Saarela (2009). In this stylized Finnish drama, the secrets and desires of one family can no longer be suppressed as they confront a series of dilemmas they can’t solve themselves. For the first time in years, the Kuura family is united under one roof by the father Mikko’s hereditary illness. The imminent threat of his illness makes both parents hold tighter onto their secrets and dreams. At the same time, the children attempt to find their place within the family and understand what they are going to inherit from their parents and why. Filmmaker Saara Saarela’s striking yet sensitive feature debut is a fine example of the Nordic tradition of films about the burden of tradition and heritage.
View trailer (no subtitles)
About the director:
Saara Saarela (b. 1971, Finland) studied film history in France and graduated from the University of Art and Design's film department in Helsinki. Her works include the feature film Stripping/Hengittämättä ja nauramatta (2002), several TV-series and many awarded short films and commercials.
March 30 & Saturday, April 2 @ 3 pm
Due to a scheduling conflict, the second screening of this film takes place on a Saturday instead of the customary Friday.
Directed by Jörn Donner (2009). Kerttu Nuorteva, a Finnish-born Soviet citizen and spy, was dropped into Finland by parachute in February 1942. She operated undercover in Helsinki until early September when she was arrested.
Based on a true story, The Interrogation is, true to its title. At first, the interrogations gave no results. Nuorteva, whose true identity was slowly revealed, refused to confess. Only after several interrogation sessions conducted with different methods she crumbled, having realized the fate of her colleagues, friends, and family in the Soviet Union. Paradoxically, her downfall correlated with the war turning in favor of the Allies. In spite of her co-operation, Nuorteva was sentenced to death. She was, however, saved by the ending of the war. This is a film about Kerttu Nuorteva’s difficult and impossible choices. 110 min.
About the director:
Jörn Donner (b. 1933, Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish writer, film director, actor, producer, politician, and founder of the Finnish Film Archive. He is best known internationally as the producer of Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Fanny and Alexander/Fanny och Alexander (1982). Donner has also for long periods lived and worked in Sweden, and has, among other things, served as director of the Swedish Film Institute. His novel Far och son/Father and Son won him the Finlandia Prize in 1985. In 1979 he was a member of the jury at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival.
April 20 & April 22
In the last twenty-five years the history of Faroese cinema has only consisted of a handful of feature films. However, in the past two years alone a burgeoning and creative pool of young filmmakers has emerged to redefine and reestablish a stronger, more progressive voice in the cinematic community for the Faroe Islands. This program of short films includes Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir’s Magma (2010), Sakaris Fríði Stórá’s The Passenger/Passasjeren (2009), and Heiðrikur á Heygum’s Aldur/Waves - A Portrait of Maria á Heygum (2010), among others.
April 27 & April 29
Directed by Þorkell Harðarson and Örn Marino Arnarson (2010). Alan Howell Parrot is one of the world’s leading falcon trainers with powerful connections in the Middle East, where he trained hunting falcons for the Persian Gulf power elite, including the King of Saudi Arabia, the President of the United Arab Emirates, and the Shah of Iran. After witnessing relentless falcon smuggling in the wake of the USSR’s collapse, he left the Middle East and formed a global nature conservation group with like-minded people to protect the falcons.
Through his connections, Mr. Parrot learned of the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, who is an obsessed falconer. He relayed this information to various agencies within the Bush administration from 2005-2008 (the FBI, CIA, NSA, and NCS) but only met silence or obstruction. None tried to speak to the one man that says he has gone falconry hunting with Osama Bin Laden six times since 2004. In 2009, Parrot submitted his findings to the Rewards for Justice Program and to date has not heard back.
Feathered Cocaine reveals geopolitics, terrorism, petrodollars, and nature conservation in an intriguing and unlikely cocktail that sheds light on how business is conducted in the global merry-go round of money and politics. 80 min.
About the directors:
Þorkell Harðarson (b. 1969, Reykjavík, Iceland) and Örn Marino Arnarson (b. 1967, Reykjavík, Iceland) both attended European film schools and have been working in the film industry for more than two decades. Arnarson and Harðarson have produced and directed together as a tandem for nine years since they established their production company, Markell Productions, in 2001. Feathered Cocaine is the directors’ third feature length documentary and their first English language film.
May 4 & May 6
Directed by Valdís Óskarsdóttir (2010). King's Road is a dramedy, set in a rundown trailer park in Iceland. After 3 years abroad thirtysomething Junior returns to Iceland with a mysterious German acquaintance in tow. He hopes his dad, Senior, might help him out financially, though the new villa of the former multimillionaire and full-time embezzler turns out to be a tiny mobile home in a trailer park at the end of the eponymous road. Senior’s new wife, a former beauty queen, and Junior’s grandmother, who carries a stuffed seal around as a low-maintenance pet, complete the crackpot family picture as Junior realizes his homecoming isn’t quite what he had expected. 99 min.
About the director:
Valdís Óskarsdóttir (b. 1950, Akureyri, Iceland) is an Icelandic film editor whose work includes The Celebration/Festen (1998), Les Misérables (1998), Finding Forrester (2000), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). She received multiple awards, including an Oscar, in early 2005 for her work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In addition, she has twice won the Danish Film Academy's Robert Award for Best Editing. Country Wedding/Sveitabrúðkaup was her directorial debut; it screened at Scandinavia House in 2009.
May 11 & May 13
Directed by Ísold Uggadóttir (2010). Clean tells the story of one young woman’s struggle to conceal a growing habit, whilst attempting to retain her composure as a charming dance instructor for the elderly.
Clean, Uggadóttir’s third short film, premiered at the Aspen Short Film Festival in April 2010, and was subsequently selected for the Palm Springs International Film Fest, Nordisk Panarama, and the Reykjavík International Film Festival, to name a few. Most recently Clean won the Edda for Short Film of the Year. 11 min.
About the director:
Born and raised in Reykjavik, Ísold Uggadóttir is an ASF Fellow and accomplished filmmaker in New York City, with over 10 years of experience in the fields of production and post-production. In 2006 she wrote, directed, and edited a 20-minute narrative film Family Reunion/Gódir gestir, which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2007.
Additionally, Uggadóttir has worked extensively with the Emmy Award-winning production company Partisan Pictures, including on the History Channel’s documentary series American Revolution.
In February 2010 her second short film Committed/Njálsgata (2009) won the Icelandic Edda Award for Best Short Film. Most recently it was won the award for Best Cinematography at the European Independent Film Festival in Paris.
Directed by Ragnar Bragason (2009). Mr. Bjarnfredarson documents the epic story of Georg (played by Jon Gnarr, current mayor of Reykjavík), a hapless man, out of synch with society and in search of redemption before his time on this earth runs out. Based on a wildly popular and award-winning television series, The Night Shift/Næturvaktin (2007), Mr. Bjarnfredarson is the final, stand-alone chapter in the lives of the former co-workers and friends Georg Bjarnfreðarson, an over-educated know-it-all and social outcast; Daniel Sævarsson, a young man who's struggling with the web of lies he concocted to deceive his family who think he's finishing medical school; and Ólafur Ragnar, a 40 year old man-child who is still struggling to fit in with the in-crowd.
The story begins when Georg is released on parole after a long stay in jail for murder. When Georg’s mother refuses to take him in, practically disowning him, Daniel, who Georg tried to frame for the murder he committed, reluctantly invites him to stay at his place until he gets back on his feet. Ólafur, a former co-worker of the two and a perpetual yet lovable loser who can't hold down a job for more than a few weeks, is also staying at Daniel's house. When these three men reconnect, all hell breaks loose. As Georg’s world spins out of control, he realizes that all his woe can be traced back to his mother, and a reckoning is inevitable. Mr. Bjarnfredarson is a tragic comedy about love, lies, parenthood, and everything in between. 109 min.
About the director:
Ragnar Bragason (b. 1971, Iceland) is an Icelandic film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for his films Children/Börn (2006) and Parents/Foreldrar (2007) and the popular TV series The Night Shift/Næturvaktin (2007) and The Day Shift/Dagvaktin (2008).
Bragason got his start making short videos in college. After directing a large number of music videos, shorts, and documentaries, he released his first feature-film Fiasco/Fíaskó (2000). In his earlier work Bragason used traditional ways of writing and directing, but more recently has followed methods similar to those of Mike Leigh and John Cassavetes of working with his actors to create characters and screenplays through improvisation.
His work has been nominated 32 times for the Icelandic Edda Awards, and has received the awards 15 times.
May 18 & May 20
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (2008). Bristling with repressed rage Lotte, a female war veteran, drinks excessively to numb her fury. Needing money after abruptly leaving the Danish armed forces in Afghanistan, Lotte becomes involved with her sleazy father, Kurt’s brothel business. He offers her work as a driver, and she winds up as a chauffeur and protector for Kurt’s gorgeous mistress Lily, one of the Nigerian prostitutes he is pimping for, as a sideline to his legitimate trucking business.
Although Lotte is initially jealous of the attention Kurt showers on the ultra-feminine Lily, she soon discovers that Lily’s looks and attitude serve as a defensive cover, not unlike the façade Lotte had to assume in the army. Ultimately, the two “little soldiers” will form an uneasy bond. 100 min.
View trailer (partially subtitled)
About the director:
Annette K. Olesen (b. 1965, Denmark) graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 1991. She has made a number of award-winning feature films, short fiction films, and documentaries, as well as commercials. Olesen made her breakthrough at home and abroad with Minor Mishaps/Små Ulykker (2002), which won the Blue Angel Award at the International Film Festival in Berlin (2004). Little Soldier is her fourth film and was nominated at the main competition at the Berlin Film Festival and won the Ecumenical Prize at Berlinale.
May 25 & May 27
Directed by Mads Brügger (2009). A journalist, a spastic, and a comedian travel to North Korea with a mission to challenge the conditions of the smile in one of the world’s most notorious regimes. On the pretext of being a small theater troupe on a cultural exchange visit, The Red Chapel was given permission to travel to North Korea with the objective of performing at special events for selected audiences. But in reality the small troupe had no such intentions. Two group members, Jacob and Simon, were both adopted from North Korea to Europe as infants; this is their story about the confrontation with their biological roots and their attempt to act and perform in a world where humor and humanity have very poor conditions.
It is also a story about the meeting between the free mind and the absolute surveillance society. North Korea’s 23 million citizens are ruled by the iron hand of “The Dear Leader,” General Kim Jong-Il. The country has a history of starving its people, violating human rights, and abusing and killing its handicapped citizens. The title The Red Chapel is a reference to a communist spy cell that operated in Nazi Germany under the name Rote Kapelle.
The film chronicles the amusing and often bizarre encounters between this Danish “theater troupe” and their North Korean hosts in a one of a kind, East-meet-West-meets-East look at cultural exchange in the modern world’s last anti-globalist bastion. 87 min.
About the director:
Mads Brügger (b. 1972, Denmark) is a Danish journalist, TV-host, and author. He has written several books, the latest being Borderlands (2008), which is about Denmark’s biggest case of organized sexual abuse of children. He has also produced several award winning documentaries for national radio. In the TV-series Danes for Bush (2004), where he plays a neoconservative Dane, who travels across the U.S. to help George W. Bush get re-elected under the slogan “Save us from Old Europe,” he began experimenting with role-play in journalism.
As a feature writer he has worked for Danish magazines and newspapers such as Euroman, Ekstra Bladet, Dansk, and the investigative journalist magazine Virus, which he co-founded and edited for several years. He was also the founder and publisher of Denmark’s first magazine for second generation Muslim immigrant boys, called Döner. Today Brügger works at The Danish Broadcasting Corporation, where he produced a TV-series about the mysterious death of an EU civil servant, The Quatraro Mystery (2009), as well as hosts the daily news and debate program Deadline.
June 1 & June 3
Directed by Kathrine Windfeld (2009). The Escape is based on Olav Hergel’s 2006 novel The Refugee/Flygtningen. Danish journalist Rikke Lyngvig is taken hostage in Afghanistan by a terrorist group. With help of young Nazir, one of the terrorists, Rikke manages to escape. On her return, she is soon declared the Danish Jessica Lynch and her career is thrust into the spotlight. Meanwhile, Nazir flees Afghanistan, heading for Denmark. When he finally seeks out Rikke, she is shocked and torn. Is she willing to help the man who threatened to kill her, and to jeopardize her new-found career? Their tumultuous encounter turns into an ill-fated confrontation with their own demons and a nation driven by a hunger for sensation and political populism. 114 min.
About the director:
Kathrine Windfeld (b. 1966, Denmark) graduated in 1995 from the National Polish Film School in Lodz and holds an MA in film production from the Northern School of Film and TV in the UK (1996). As an assistant director, Windfeld participated in the TV series The Spider/Edderkoppen (1999), Unit 1/Rejseholdet (2000-03), and The Eagle/Ørnen (2004-06). She also directed two episodes in Scandinavia House’s spring 2010 crime series Wallander: The Second Season, Part Two.
Windfeld has directed several short films and documentaries, among these You Can't Eat Fishing (1999), My Son, My Husband, My Father/Min søn, min mand, min far (2002), and Little Man/Lille mand – lille mand (2002), which won awards at the Chicago's International Children's Film Festival. Her professional breakthrough as a director came with the Swedish TV series The Crown Princess/Kronprinsessan (2006), which was nominated for an Emmy, and His Wife/Kungamordet (2008), both based on Hanne-Vibeke Holst’s best-selling novels. The Flight is Windfeld’s feature film debut.
Directed by Gaukur Úlfarsson (Iceland, 2010).You'll never see politics the same after this raucous documentary. Following his country's economic meltdown, acerbic Icelandic comedian Jon Gnarr launches his own political party, The Best Party. His platform? Free trips to Disneyland, more polar bears at the zoo, and refusing to work with anyone who doesn't watch The Wire. But when support for Gnarr's wacky mayoral bid surprisingly snowballs, what started out as a joke quickly captures the imagination of a nation desperate for a change. 96 min.
Co-presented by Scandinavia House.
Friday, April 22, 8:30 pm
Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 4
Sunday, April 24, 9:30 pm
Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 6
Monday, April 25, 4:00 pm
AMC Loews Village 7 – 2
Directed by Eva Mulvad (Denmark, 2010). How do you cope with being broke after having lived a life of luxury and privilege? This is the fundamental question facing spoiled Anne Mette and her mother, a once-rich family now living off a small pension and struggling to adapt to their new situation in a coastal Portuguese hamlet. A Grey Gardens for the current financial era, The Good Life is a character study at turns touching and frustrating, but ultimately poignant. 87 min.
Co-presented by Scandinavia House.
Sunday, April 24, 3:45 pm
Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 8
Wednesday, April 27, 8:30 pm
Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 4
Thursday, April 28, 5:30 pm
Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 4
Screening of As If We Existed/Eins og við værum
& Francesca Pietropaolo in conversation with Saana Wang & Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir
Monday, April 25, 7 pm
Following the catastrophic crash of the Icelandic economy a young painter flees to Venice in order to get peace to work on his art. In a studio the same task awaits him every day: to paint a portrait of a beautiful male model. When one painting is finished they start the next one. While the Icelandic public takes to the streets, revolting against the government, the works pile up in the artist studio by the canal, time passes and the city continues to sink. The repetition and the circumstances increasingly take their toll when isolation, claustrophobia and paranoia set in. In a city that is like a stage set in itself, the boundaries that may have been clear in the beginning get fuzzy. What is life and what is art? The partners can no longer recall why they set out on this journey or if – and then when – it will come to an end. Whose image is it that appears on the canvas every day?
The film is a portrait of an art piece by Ragnar Kjartansson who represented Iceland at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. His piece, The End, was a six month long performance where he painted one portrait a day of a young man in a speedo. Through telling the story of the two characters involved, the painter and his model, As if We Existed is at once a documentation and a fictional interpretation. 30 min.
Following the screening, North by New York: New Nordic Art curator Francesca Pietropaolo will engage in conversation with artist Saana Wang and director Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir.
A reception with an improvised electronic set over selected scenes of the film provided by film's original score composer, Curver Thoroddsen (Ghostigital) with experimental improv veterans Mike Mare (Destructo Swarmbots, MA5T3RBA55) and Ari Bragi Kárason (trumpet virtuoso from Iceland) will follow the program.
Wednesday, April 27, 8 pm
Directed by Frank Cantor (2009). World-renowned Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir has created a group of 11 life-size figures for exhibition throughout the U.S. This film shares her creative process from her studio and foundry in Reykjavík to the first installation in New York. With images of the Aura Borealis and music from Björk, one sees, hears, and feels that art is a universal language to explore the human condition. 28 min.
Following the screening, director Frank Cantor will interview Þórarinsdóttir.
In 2009 Horizons won a Cine Golden Eagle, Special Jury and Masters Award from the International Cine Festival in Washington, D.C.
Þórarinsdóttir has exhibited widely in Europe, Japan, the U.S., Scotland, and Australia over the past 20 years. Frank Cantor is a Peabody award–winning documentarian specializing in the arts and the environment. He serves on the Educational Advisory Board of the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Lab.
Thursday, May 12, 7-10 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House joins as a venue, hosting a series of screenings and concerts. Please visit http://ny.musicdoc.se/ for a complete schedule and more details.
This spring Music Doc celebrates its fifth year as Sweden’s most prominent music documentary festival. To celebrate, the festival comes to NYC, bringing top quality Nordic music documentaries, including Árni Sveinsson’s documentary Backyard.
Scandinavia House joins in as a venue and will host a series of screenings and concerts, including Árni Sveinsson’s documentary Backyard (Iceland, 2009). Please visit http://ny.musicdoc.se/ for a complete schedule and more details.
Screening of Backyard
with DJs Matti Nives & Provköket
Directed by Árni Sveinsson (Iceland, 2009). A guy named Árni Rúnar had the idea of gathering a few bands together in his backyard to do some live recording. His idea evolved into this film. He filled his little shack of a studio with equipment and prayed for good weather. He invited all of his neighbors and made them pizza, cupcakes, and pancakes. And then many of the most exciting Icelandic musicians of their generation (including múm, FM Belfast, Hjaltalín, and Sin Fang) showed up to play, giving a unique look at the diverse music scene of Reykjavík in the summer of 2009. 70 min.
Thursday, June 9 through Monday, June 13, 2011
Individual tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Film week pass: $100 ($75 ASF Members)
DocPoint, Helsinki’s documentary film festival and the largest documentary film festival in the Nordic countries, celebrates its 10th birthday in 2011 and returns to New York with a comprehensive program of new Finnish films, as well as a cross section of films that cut through the past ten years of festival’s history. The program also presents works of celebrated lifetime achievement award winners such as Pirjo Honkasalo and Markku Lehmuskallio. In addition to the screenings, discussions on topical subjects will be led by Finnish and American film makers.
Finnish Documentary Film Week takes place in various cinemas across New York. Scandinavia House joins in as a co-presenter and will host a series of screenings. Download the schedule of screenings & programs at Scandinavia House (PDF, 138KB). For full film synopses, please visit http://tour.docpoint.info/films.
Wednesday, June 22, 6 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Directed by Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (Norway, 2008). Max Manus is a true story about one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II and his battle to overcome his inner demons. In spite of being one of the most wanted men by the Gestapo in Norway, Manus participated in some of the most daring sabotage attacks during the Second World War. After having fought as a volunteer in the Finnish-Russian Winter War, Manus returns home to a Norway occupied by the Germans, in the spring of 1940. Before long, he and his buddies Gregers Gram and Gunnar Sønsteby start making trouble for the Germans. They build up a resistance network, collect weapons and explosives, and undergo training in England. From their safe apartment in Oslo, they carry out sabotage attacks against important Nazi targets, and they become increasingly more devious. But the Gestapo investigator Siegfried Fehmer works determinedly and patiently to stop Manus, and soon he starts to unravel the network around him. In a meeting with Fehmer he realizes that everybody is a victim of the meaninglessness of war. 118 min.
First screened at Scandinavia House as a part of Norwegian Film Week in October 2009, Max Manus returns for an encore screening in advance of its release on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 28, 2011. Following the feature film, the documentary Max Manus: “Film and Reality” will be screened including behind the scenes footage, interview snippets with the directors, cast, and crew, and archive interview footage of Manus and his daughter. 45 min.
Summer Crime Series: Håkan Nesser’s Van Veeteren
July 6 through August 12, 2011
Wednesdays @ 6 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $50 ($35 ASF Members)
The Van Veeteren detective series is based on the best-selling crime novels by one of Sweden’s most popular mystery writers, Håkan Nesser. Set in the fictitious city of Maardam, in a made-up country that could be anywhere in northern Europe, the series follows the murder cases of retired chief inspector, Van Veeteren, and his two crime squad protégés, Münster and Moreno.
The series starts with Van Veeteren going into retirement. He has bought an antiquarian bookshop where he plans to live out his remaining years devoting himself to his other great passion, books, and trying to spend more time with his family – especially his estranged son Erich, whose history of crime and drug abuse are at least in part a result of Van Veeteren’s deep commitment to his work.
His retirement, however, is in name only, as Münster and Moreno continue to consult the master detective, who helps them with new perspectives in their investigations and invariable ends up getting actively involved himself. And one senses he would not have it any other way.
Special thanks to SF International.
July 6 & July 8
Directed by Erik Leijonborg (Sweden, 2005). Van Veeteren finds retiring from the police force is easier said than done when two decapitated bodies are found in quick succession. The matching MO in the two grisly murders brings the investigation teams of Maardam and Kaalbringen together – a collaboration that is not without its problems, especially when those in charge of the case seem a little too eager to make an arrest. In solving the case, Van Veeteren learns that it is not always easy to distinguish friend from foe. 90 min.
July 13 & July 15
Directed by Rickard Petrelius (Sweden, 2005). When the body of a wealthy wine merchant washes up on a beach with multiple stab wounds, police fear a media frenzy. But the quick arrest of the man’s former partner in the face of damning evidence promises a quick resolution to the case. Münster is unconvinced and angers his superiors when he follows up leads that hint at a dark secret in the dead man’s family. Removed from the investigation, Münster teams up with Van Veeteren in a deadly race to solve the case that nearly costs him his life. 90 min.
July 20 & July 22
Directed by Erik Leijonborg (Sweden, 2004).When a girl is murdered soon after leaving a closed religious community, Moreno faces a difficult investigation as the community closes ranks and refuses to cooperate. When another girl is abducted and her bloody fingernails mailed to the police, tongues begin to loosen. But time is running out as the disturbed killer prepares to carry out another ritual murder – will Moreno be able to crack the case in time? 90 min.
July 27 & July 29
Directed by Daniel Lind Lagerlöf (Sweden, 2005). Münster comes across the strangled body of a young woman in her home and surprises the murderer who is still on the premises. Though the murderer escapes, a rare book is found at the scene with a dedication by the killer. When another victim is uncovered, Van Veeteren’s literary expertise is put to the test as it becomes clear they are dealing with a serial killer who murders his victims using names taken from 19th century crime novels. Which name will he use for his next victim? 90 min.
August 3 & August 5
Directed by Daniel Lind Lagerlöf (Sweden, 2005). Following a clandestine meeting with his lover a man kills a young boy in a hit and run, but does not escape unseen. The ensuing blackmail drama claims further victims, including Van Veeteren’s son, Erich. Van Veeteren’s attempts to involve himself in the investigation put his relationship with Münster and Moreno under strain, especially as a picture of Erich begins to emerge that Van Veeteren refuses to accept. In the end Van Veeteren has to use himself as bait to lure the killer into the open. 90 min.
August 10 & August 12
Directed by Rickard Petrelius (Sweden, 2005). Van Veeteren’s only unsolved case comes back to haunt him when the daughter of a murdered private detective comes to see him. A brutal wife killer who went into hiding years before has resurfaced under an assumed name, or so it seems, and Van Veeteren has personal reasons for wanting him caught. Always one step ahead of his friends on the police force, Van Veeteren has to face the killer alone in a final twist that surprises even this master detective. 90 min.
September 28 through December 9, 2011
Wednesdays @ 6 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $55 ($40 ASF Members)
Norway’s natural landscape has historically played a role in shaping form, content, and metaphor in the country’s cinema. The vicissitudes of a hard climate, dramatic variations of daylight and twilight, dominance of the sea and wilderness, remoteness of rural and urban environments (and the traditional struggle to control) have all played a distinctive role, even contributing to a sense of national identity. The series presents a historical perspective on the relevance of natural phenomena and landscape in Norway’s cinema, expressing changes over time.
Special thanks to the Norwegian Film Institute and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.
September 28 & September 30
Directed by Gunnar Sommerfeldt (Norway, 1921). Isak (Amund Rydland) and Inger (Karin Thalbitzer) are pioneers in the wilderness of Northern Norway. They struggle with their homestead, but see results of their hard work: their turf hut is replaced by a real house; they get cattle and have children. But when one child is born hare-lipped, Inger kills it and is sent to prison. While she is away, the society changes – a copper mine is constructed and more settlers arrive. But Isak keeps on with his farming, which is what most of the settlers must to do after the mine fails. The film is based upon Knut Hamsun’s 1917 Nobel Prize-winning epic by the same name. 117 min.
October 5 & October 7
Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer (Norway, 1926). Injured in a fall from her horse, and cast out by her father, Berit (Tove Tellback) is cared for by her fiancé Tore's (Einar Sissener) parents until a reconciliation is effected; and the marriage takes place, but not before Tore has had to make a hazardous crossing of the river on horseback.
After focusing in on the details of daily life in Tore’s tiny apartment, the film opens outwards and Dreyer turns his lens on log cabins tucked away in great rolling hills, Berit on horseback galloping across the fields, valley peasants dancing in the smoke of a lakeside fire, and two wedding parties standing helplessly on opposite sides of the river watching as Tore and his horse are swept down towards the rapids. With live piano accompaniment by Ben Model. 115 min.
October 12 & October 14
Directed by Tancred Ibsen (Norway, 1937). The arrival of some kind of “free spirit” — usually a dark, handsome stranger — that upsets rigid local customs is a frequent theme in Norwegian film; adapting Gabriel Scott’s novel, Tancred Ibsen created one of the most moving renditions of this classic plot. Josefa lives with her uncle while waiting for her fiancé Oskar to return from the sea. Fearing her uncle’s intentions, she runs away and seeks shelter in the boat of Fendrik, a “sea gypsy” who wanders the coast. But Fendrik soon develops his own lust for her, as he attempts to draft her into his shady lifestyle. In Tramp Ibsen had clearly mastered all the conventions of Hollywood-style melodrama, with stark delineations of good and evil and progress towards a final resolution. And yet while Fendrik clearly falls into the “evil” column, there’s a sense that Josefa’s time with him introduces her to a sensuality and freedom that her eventual life with the upstanding Oskar most probably won’t provide. 95 min.
October 26 & October 28
Directed by Arne Skouen (Norway, 1957). This harrowing account from the real life of Jan Baalsrud – Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II and the lone survivor of a Nazi attack in the winter of 1943 – is based on his struggle, related in flashback, to escape across northern Norway to neutral Sweden neutral. Blind from the snow, frostbitten, and dependent on the mercy of strangers, he manages to endure for weeks. Based on the book We Die Alone by David Howarth, Nine Lives was nominated for best foreign language film, and was entered into the Cannes Film Festival. In 1991, Norwegian television audiences voted it the greatest Norwegian film ever made. 96 min.
November 16 & November 18
Directed by Arne Skouen (Norway, 1969). The film is an adaptation of the well-known trilogy Bread of Night by Norwegian writer Johan Falkberget. The plot, set in the ravishing natural landscape of the Norwegian countryside, offers a slice of 17th-century life in a rugged region of ore mines and smelting furnaces. The heroine, An-Magritt (Liv Ullman), is a simple woman who thrives because of her beauty and her exceptional survival skills. The village of her birth is a harsh environment dominated by men; as an orphan girl it was all she could do to survive. She learned to handle herself as a man in husbandry and trade, and even to read and write. Her adult life is full of daily drudgery and adversity as she struggles against poverty, prejudice, and the natural elements. Then her pride is broken by the arrival of a stranger – Johannes (Wolf von Gersum), a German scholar and builder of waterwheels. Charmed by his noble masculinity, An-Margitt experiences the power of love, but human malice and resentment can still do their work. 101 min.
November 30 & December 2
Directed by Erik Løchen (Norway, 1959). The wave of formal experimentation in cinema in the late 50s/early 60s was represented in Norwegian cinema by Erik Lochen’s intriguing first feature, The Hunt. The film tells the story of three people — a married couple and the husband’s best friend, who go off together on a trip to the country. Along the way, and once they arrive, we hear their thoughts, memories, and fears, moving between each characters’ private visions and the story world often without warning, until personal and public space blur. Like another 1959 release, Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Hunt shows how the past can be so alive that it overwhelms the present. The three central performances by Rolf Søder, Benedikte Liseth, and Tor Stokke are outstanding, and help anchor Lochen’s innovative approach to storytelling to a very emotional drama. 94 min.
December 7 & December 9
Directed by Kåre Bergstrøm (Norway, 1958). Six friends on a weekend outing far from Oslo discover that one member of their party, an early arrival, has disappeared. According to local legend, a phantom with one leg stalks the nearby lakeshore. A fascinating thriller based on the book by Bernhard Borge (alias André Bjerke) about para-psychology and mysteries in the deep forest. A cult film among contemporary young film makers in Norway today. 76 min.
Special thanks to the Norwegian Film Institute and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.
Wednesday, November 2, 6 pm & Friday, November 4, 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Ingmar Bergman produced two films about his beloved island Fårö, where he made his home and which served as the setting for many of his films. In 1969, troubled by the island's disappearing traditions and the exodus of its young people to the mainland, Bergman made a surprisingly direct and political document about Fårö's importance. Swedish critics hailed it as “one of his finest films.” Ten years later, he decided to take a second look at situation, and made his second Fårö Document (a third was planned for 1989, but was never made.) The update is surprisingly optimistic, with several remarkable “then and now” juxtapositions. The unhappy teenagers about to decamp for Stockholm in the first film turn out to have settled into the quiet, isolated Fårö life. Interweaving scenes of extraordinary beauty with interviews and rigorous sequences depicting everyday chores, customs and rituals on Fårö, Bergman develops a complex, understated and loving portrait of his tiny island.
These documentaries will screen during the Ingmar Bergman Festival of Gotland in New York. For more information about Gotland in New York, please visit www.visitsweden.com/Gotland.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1969). 60 min.
Fårö Document 1979
Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1979). 103 min.
Wednesday, November 9, 6 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Directed by Peter Watkins (Norway, 1974). Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (Geir Westby) began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe's most maligned and controversial artist, the film also flashes back to the death from consumption of his mother, when he was five, his sister's death, and his near death at 13 from pulmonary disease. The film finds enduring significance in Munch's brief affair with “Mrs. Heiberg” (Gro Fraas) and his participation in the café society of anarchist Hans Jæger (Kåre Stormark) in Christiania and later in Berlin with August Strindberg (Alf Kare Strindberg). Through it all Munch's melancholy and his desire to render on canvas, cardboard, paper, stone, and wood his innermost feelings are evident. 174 min.
See also Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America, 1912 in EXHIBITION section.
January 5, 6, 14, & 15, 2010
Each film screened twice: 6:30 pm & 9 pm
Series Pass: $34 ($22 ASF Members); Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members)
ASF members only may make film reservations by calling 212.847.9746 or by emailing email@example.com. Advance tickets may be purchased at Scandinavia House; Hours: Monday–Saturday, 12-6 pm.
Scandinavia House presents a special sneak peek of the films chosen by the Nordic countries to compete for the Oscar nomination for the category of Best Foreign Language Film, 2009, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They have been selected by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as the best films released in those countries for 2009.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 6:30 pm & 9 pm
Directed by Ruben Östlund (Sweden, 2008).With Maria Lundqvist, Leif Edlund, Olle Lijas, Vera Vitali. In Swedish with English subtitles. 98 min.
It's almost summer in Sweden and minor indiscretions and misbehavior abound. Leffe likes to show off for his friends and play salacious pranks, especially when he's drinking. Meanwhile, a righteous grade-school teacher doesn't know where to draw the line: she insists her fellow educators need a bit of instruction. Then there are two young teenage girls who like to pose for sexy photos and to party, but one night in a park, one of them is found passed out drunk by a complete stranger.
Involuntary is a tragic comedy that explores the nature of group dynamics and moral dilemmas about when to stand up for oneself or for others. The film has won several awards; best film at the Brussels film festival, best director in Geneva, the audience award and best screenplay at the Stockholm Film Festival.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 6:30 pm & 9 pm
Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz (Denmark, 2008). With Jakob Cedergren, Kim Bodnia, Lene Maria Christensen, Lars Brygmann. In Danish with English subtitles. 95 min.
Terribly Happy is a blackly comic thriller about the universal nature of compromise and corruption. Robert, a Copenhagen policeman with a big city temperament is sent to a small village in southern Jutland on punishment duty after a being accused of professional misconduct. The village is unwelcoming, outsiders either adapt or disappear. The alluring Ingerlise, herself an outsider, tries to enlist his help in escaping from her abusive husband, Jørgen. Robert’s initial skepticism to the seemingly idyllic country surroundings is confirmed as he discovers the village harbors a dark secret. The cleverly constructed script alludes to Noir and references other genres such as Western, all the while toying with conventions, as in the showdown between Robert and Jørgen, staged as a drinking contest rather than a shootout.
Terribly Happy won several awards for acting, directing and screenplay, among them the Grand Prix Crystal Globe at the 2008 International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, best actor and actress and five other awards at Robert Festival in Copenhagen and the Grand Prix award at Flanders International Film Festival.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Directed by Óskar Jónasson (Iceland, 2008). With Baltasar Kormákur, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir, Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson, Victor Löw, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jörundur Ragnarsson, Theódór Júlíusson, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Pálmi Kormákur Baltasarsson, Stormur Jón Kormákur Baltasarsson. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 90 min.
Like a fish on a dry land, Kristofer is stuck in a dull everyday routine, working as a security guard. He got fired from the freight ship he worked on, when he was caught smuggling alcohol. Faced with money problems, he is tempted to accept the help of his friend, Steingrimur, who manages to pull some strings to get his old job back. He decides to take his chances one last time on a tour to Rotterdam.
One of the biggest budgeted Icelandic films of all time, Reykjavik-Rotterdam has all the action one would expect from a Hollywood production: guns, big explosions and intriguing plot twists. Reykjavik-Rotterdam received Edda Awards for best director, editing, music, screenplay and sound. There is also a US produced remake in the works, due in 2011.
Friday, January 15, 2010, 6:30 pm & 9 pm
Directed by Klaus Härö (Finland, 2008). With Kaarina Hazard, Heikki Nousiainen, Jukka Keinonen, Esko Roine. In Finnish with English subtitles. 75 min.
Letters to Father Jacob is a warm-hearted and touching story of Leila, a life sentence prisoner who has just been pardoned. When she is released from prison, she is offered a job at a secluded parsonage; she moves there against her will. Leila is used to taking care only of herself, so she experiences conflicting feelings when she starts working as the personal assistant for Jacob, the blind pastor living in the parsonage. Every day the mail man brings letters from people asking for help from Pastor Jacob. Answering the letters is Jacob’s life mission, while Leila has already decided to leave the parsonage when the letters suddenly stop coming. Jacob’s life is shaken to its foundation. Two completely different lives are intertwined unexpectedly, and the roles of the helper and the one being helped are turned upside down.
Letters to Father Jacob received the Interfilm Church Prize and audience award at Nordic Film days, Lübeck, main award at Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival and the Golden Pyramid and prize for best screenwriter at Cairo International Film Festival.
Films are screened for American-Scandinavian Foundation members, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, and guests.
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Icelandic Film Centre, IFC Films, the Norwegian Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, Oscilloscope Pictures, and Co-Production Office.
Saturday, February 20, 11 am in Icelandic; 1 pm in English
$9 ($6 ASF Members), Ages toddler+
The lovable Skoppa and Skrítla return to Scandinavia House to present their film Skoppa og Skrítla í bíó/Skoppa and Skrítla at the Movies (Iceland, 2008). The film follows the adventures of the two Icelandic personalities who have previously enjoyed popularity both on television and on stage but are now taking their first steps on the big screen. The film introduces children to the magical world of cinema, while providing quality entertainment for the entire family. Skoppa and Skrítla, the cheery protagonists, are amazing beings from the Land of Adventure, where everyone is celestial, sweet, and sincere. Through song and dance the film offers a message about the wisdom of hopeful wishing and the lasting values of friendship. While leading children on a adventure through wildlife and natural locales, the film stimulates the imaginations of those of an age of awe and learning. 56 min.
Thursday, February 25, 7 pm
Director Niels Arden Oplev will be present
This film is ineligible for Smörgås Chef’s Dinner & a Movie offering
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev (2009). Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate.
When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a murder mystery, family saga, love story, and tale of financial intrigue – based on the book with the same title that is the first in a trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Harlan Coben says, “So much more than a thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dazzling novel of big ideas. It tackles issues of power, corruption, justice, and innocence – all the while drawing you into the twists and turns of a frighteningly suspenseful mystery.” It has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Tragically, Larsson did not live to see the phenomenon his work has become as he died suddenly in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts to his Swedish publisher. 152 min.
The film opens March 19 in New York at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, Cinema 1, 2, 3rd Avenue, Chelsea Cinemas, and Sunshine Cinema. Other cities opening March 19 include Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Diego.
Special thanks to Music Box Films.
New Nordic Cinema
February 17 – May 8, 2010
Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm & Saturdays @ 3 pm
Individual Tickets: $9 ($6 ASF Members); Series Pass: $72 ($48 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House presents some of the most influential and successful Nordic films to New York audiences from Finland, Denmark, and Iceland in our annual Winter/Spring series of recently released films. The series will continue Fall 2010 with films from Norway and Sweden.
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, Finnish Film Foundation, Icelandic Film Center, Icarus, No9 Productions, and Visit Films.
Wednesday, February 17 & Saturday, February 20
Watch trailer (no English subtitles)
Directed by Dome Karukoski (2009). Maria and Raakel are 18 years old and belong to a community of Laestadians – a conservative Lutheran revival movement – who live in the remote countryside of Northern Finland. They are both engaged to marry boys from the community and have grown up sheltered from the worldly pleasures one would expect girls of their age to have enjoyed. That summer the strong-minded Maria decides to break with the community and flee to the city to experience the forbidden fruits it has to offer. She wants to dance, drink and kiss boys, all the while thinking she can always return to her community and have her sins forgiven when she gets tired of the city. Back home the community elders grow worried for Maria and convince her best friend Raakel to travel to the city to look after her. Soon Raakel too caves in to the pleasures she didn’t know she was longing for. 104 min.
Wednesday, February 24 & Saturday, February 27
Watch trailer (no English subtitles)
Directed by Lenka Hellstedt (2008). Overseas and Under Your Skin tells the story of Ida, a young woman who is almost thirty, unemployed, and lives at home with her activist mother, Kati. With all the best intentions, Kati tries to set Ida up with a job at her work. This simply drives Ida to prove to her mother that she can take care of herself. Under the encouragement of her new friend, Ville, Ida decides to do something about her life and takes off for Berlin to find a job, and perhaps herself. Slightly bewildered, but excited by the big city, Ida is having the time of her life. Back in Finland however, her mother finds out she is terminally ill. Not wanting to hinder Ida in her quest for independence, Kati neglects to tell her daughter of her condition. 86 min.
Wednesday, March 3 & Saturday, March 6
Directed by John Webster (2008). Recipes for Disaster is a film about climate change and catastrophe. We love to blame the corporations and industries for what's going wrong with the planet, but we are mistaken; it's up to the individual to make a change. Director John Webster shows us that at the core of the impending climate catastrophe are those little failures that we as individuals make every day, and that are so much a part of human nature: all the everyday stuff that we don't do or that we can't help doing that eventually lead to destruction. Webster and his family decide to kick the oil habit. Quite simply, they go on with their average suburban lives, but without using any fossil fuels, driving cars or flying in airplanes, or buying anything packaged in plastic, like food, make-up, shampoo, toothpaste or kid’s toys. In this comedy of errors, they find themselves questioning their values and testing their willpower, and ultimately, their happiness. 85 min.
Wednesday, March 24 & Saturday, March 27
Directed by Søren Kragh-Jacobsen (2008). Thomas Delauren is an emotionally-stunted children’s entertainer with a divorce looming over him. A strenuous family dinner reunites Thomas with his sister Charlotte who confesses she has important information about their late father that she wishes to divulge at a later time. When Thomas arrives at their scheduled rendezvous point he is met by police officers who deliver the terrible news that his sister drowned while swimming. Knowing that his sister was a strong swimmer, Thomas becomes suspicious of her death and as he is going through her personal affects he discovers documents about their father’s past as an intelligence officer during the Cold War. These documents prove to be dangerous in Thomas’ hands as an attempt is made on his daughter’s life. Dark images, intense clips and haunting music set the mood in this political thriller that raises questions about the increasing presence of surveillance cameras in our society. 99 min.
Wednesday, April 7 & Saturday, April 10
Directed by Kasper Barfoed (2008). Jonas Bechmann is a defense attorney who specializes in acquitting criminals charged with murder. After his father – also a defense attorney – is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Jonas is convinced that his father was murdered by a disgruntled former client. A night on the town leads him to check in to a hotel room with a young blonde.He wakes to find her brutally murdered, with a video showing him killing her. Having no memory of the supposed incident, Jonas decides to flee. When he discovers his framing may have ties to his father’s incident he decides to turn the tables on the blackmailers. A fast-paced thriller, full of plot twists, The Candidate continues to intensify to the very end. A U.S.-produced remake is currently in the works. 90 min.
Wednesday, April 14 & Saturday, April 17
Watch trailer (no English subtitles)
Directed by Anders Riis-Hansen (2009). Blekingegadebanden was a group of political activists who robbed a number of banks in Denmark in the 1970s and 1980s. Rooted in Gotfred Appel’s Communist task force (KAK), this gang of idealistic young men saw themselves as revolutionaries supporting a great cause. Their actions quickly spun out of control, however, as their professionally executed robberies helped fund terrorist attacks committed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The gang, always one step ahead of their pursuers, continued to elude the police until the robbery of a postal transport in 1988 when an officer was killed. This event prompted the police to redouble their forces and finally bring down the group. The film consists of archival interviews from the gang members and police involved, as well as dramatized reconstructions of the heists the group committed. 104 min.
Wednesday, April 21 & Saturday, April 24
Watch trailer (no English subtitles)
Directed by Carsten Søstedt (2008). Danish Dynamite follows the Danish national soccer team from 1979 through the 1984 European Championship in France and the 1986 World Championship in Mexico, to their improbable but glorious victory at the 1992 European Championship in Sweden. When German trainer Sepp Piontek took charge of coaching the team, he ushered in a new era of professionalism. The team he met was a gang of merry chain-smoking, beer-drinking everymen in the habit of celebrating a loss with a glass of champagne. Danish Dynamite captures the Danish mentality and laid back nature through encounters with the soccer players and the roligan (peaceful hooligan). The film consists mostly of archival footage, edited in a dramatic format that gives the audience the feeling of being present at the games, witnessing the team’s thrilling victories. 112 min.
Wednesday, April 28 & Saturday, May 1
Directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (2008). In his dreams David is a kung fu master. In reality he is a debt collector who gets pushed around by his debt-collecting friends. When his new landlord, Harald, finds out he is a member of a gang of debt-collectors, he starts to play himself off as a big crime lord, just to have some fun with his tenant. David hatches a scheme that surely will elevate his status with the gang. As they find out about this mysterious crime boss, David quickly gains their respect and is given the task of spying on Harald. When the gang’s boss (Michael Imperioli of Soprano’s fame), flies in from New York to commend David for his efforts, things quickly spiral out of control for the hapless hero. 90 min.
Directed by Ísold Uggadóttir (2009). Set in 1996, Committed revolves around a young couple who share the burden of being both protagonist and antagonist. The story starts when Eva and Vidar move in together. She works long hours as a telephone receptionist; he is insecure and chronically jealous. A housewarming party temporarily breaks the tediousness of their detached everyday life, but brings as much gloom as it expels. Committed won the Icelandic Film and Television Academy Award (Eddan) for Best Short Film of 2009. 19 min.
Wednesday, May 5 & Saturday, May 8
Directed by Helgi Felixson (2009). The film lends its title from Prime Minister Geir Haarde’s address to the Icelandic people on October 6, 2008, breaking the terrible news of bankruptcy in three of Iceland’s major banks and one of the worst economic crises in modern history. God Bless Iceland chronicles the lives of four Icelanders and how they cope in the aftermath of economic crisis and their battle against the government in which they have lost all faith. Felixson narrates the film, which takes place in the time period from the announcement of the country’s bankruptcy, through the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, to the election of the new Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. 70 min.
Directed by Joachim Back (Denmark, 2009). Set amidst the as-yet-unopened boxes and the hopes for a fresh start of two men on what might just be the worst moving day ever. Their new apartment reveals its terrifying history in a film that is by turns funny, frightening, and unexpectedly romantic. The New Tenants was recently awarded the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film 2010. 20 min.
Fashion & Films
Thursday, March 11 & Thursday, March 18, both @ 6:30 pm
$9 ($6 ASF Members)
The moving image has represented and (re)interpreted fashion as a concept, an industry and as a cultural form since its inception. Subtly but strongly, fashion exists in the interstices of film aesthetics, possessing the ability to not only enhance a character’s persona and the drama of life, but also the capability to encourage critical response with regard to a film’s content, position in society, and relation to the human experience.
Scandinavia House presents a miniseries of screenings and lectures that closely examine fashion’s role in two Swedish films – Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night/Sommarnattens leende (1955) and Arne Mattsson’s Mannequin in Red/Mannekäng i rött (1958).
Smiles of a Summer Night/Sommarnattens leende
Film screening with lecture by Astrid Söderbergh Widding
Thursday, March 11, 6:30 pm
Directed by Ingmar Bergman (1955). The 1956 prize-winning comedy Smiles of a Summer Night ushered in an international audience for director Ingmar Bergman. Set in turn-of-the-century Sweden, four women and four men attempt to juggle the laws of attraction amidst their daily bourgeois life. When a weekend in the country brings them all face to face, the women ally to force the men’s hands in their matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock full of flirtatious propositions and sharp-witted wisdom, Smiles of a Summer Night is one of film history’s great tragicomedies, a bittersweet view of the transience of human carnality. 108 min.
Swedish costume designer and culture personality MAGO (Max Goldstein) designed the film’s costumes, firmly establishing an example of centralized cooperation between the two artists that lasted throughout the years and spanned many films. Whereas Bergman preferred his old leather jacket and beret, MAGO was a true elegant. However, they could unite their artistic vision for absolute quality. Their two artistic temperaments are as fascinating as they may seem out of date in an age rather dominated by effects and quantity.
Professor Astrid Söderbergh Widding is in the Cinema Studies Department and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Stockholm University, Chair of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, and on the board of The Swedish Film Institute and The Swedish Fulbright Commission.
Thursday, March 18, 6:30 pm
Directed by Arne Mattsson (1958). A private detective doubling up as a fashion mannequin, a head designer with lesbian inclinations and a mean, wheelchair-based fashion house matron ominously accompanied by a white cat…welcome to the strange world of the couture salon “La Femme,” where the elegant surface soon starts to peel, revealing what’s hidden and repressed underneath. 108 min.
The combination of uncanny murders, romantic love and traditional comedy make this film one of a kind, thanks in part to director Arne Mattsson, dubbed the “Swedish Hitchcock” due to his daring framing and calculated use of color. What adds to its uniqueness are the costumes made by designer MAGO, who in the making of this film must have had the time of his life, designing effeminate fashion without – it seems – any limitation to his creativity and fantasy.
Dr. Louise Wallenberg will focus on the specific Mattssonian crime genre and its relation to the Italian giallo and to the crime genre as developed in Swedish cinema and literature. She will also focus on the meaning of the many costumes and on the implicit narrative that deals with women’s desire.
Wallenberg is the acting director of the Centre for Fashion Studies and holds a PhD in Cinema Studies (2002) from Stockholm University.
A Cooler Perspective: New Directions on Norwegian Film
Screening of short films by Lasse Gjertsen, Charlotte Blom & Joachim Trier,
commentary from Lasse Gjertsen, followed by a Q & A
Thursday, April 8, 7 pm
$9 ($6 ASF Members)
The 28 year-old Lasse Gjertsen, already legendary for his short Hyperactive with more than 15 million views, is a dazzling animator, musician and videographer celebrated for stringing together clips of short video to create extraordinarily creative short films in an innovative form of video similar to stop motion animation. Gjertsen, also known for his contentious views on the film and advertising industries, represents an idiosyncratic point of view while voicing the widespread concern of a generation of contemporary filmmakers who want to be recognized for making the rules, not following them.
The award winning Charlotte Blom is known for her captivating animations, most notably Coco-nuts, originally released as Kokos, which won the title of Best Nordic Short from the Nordisk Panorama. A photographer, Blom came to the notice of critics and film goers with Twisted Sisters Goes Baccara (1999). In a discipline noted for its wild and inventive films, Blom is a master at the seamless mix of genres with superb scripting and execution.
Joachim Trier’s critically acclaimed coming of age drama, Reprise (2006), the director’s first feature film, won Norway’s prestigious Amanda Award for Best Direction and Screenplay, among many others. Prior to Reprise Trier amassed an impressive cache of shorts, and his award winning Procter (2002) will be shown at SubZero° as an outstanding example of a classic experimental, envelope pushing, approach to shorts.
The Bothersome Man/Den brysomme mannen
preceded by Every Day is a Fish Day/Høydepunkter
with director Jens Lien
Friday, April 9, 7 pm
$9 ($6 ASF Members)
A rocker turned filmmaker, Jens Lien personifies the coolness of Norwegian film. Best known to New York audiences for the multiple-award winning The Bothersome Man, a surreal comedic meditation released in 2007 based on a radio play by Per Schreiner. Schreiner also wrote the screen play and often collaborates with Liens. The film’s luminous veneer masks scathing satire, leading Jeannette Catsoulis to observe in her New York Times review, “Quiet desperation has never looked so gorgeous.” A remark that can also be made about the haunting story, thoughtful direction and skillful execution of Lien’s brilliant Every Day is a Fish Day, a masterpiece in the art of short filmmaking.
April 16 to May 4 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center
ASF Members receive the Affiliate rate of $10 per film
Feast on a 42-film smörgåsbord of cinema! Experience seven decades of groundbreaking films from Sweden - including silent film gems, beloved classics, and exciting recent releases - all at the vanguard of social and sexual change. Plus: Ingrid Bergman’s breakthrough film!
Info and tickets: http://www.filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/swedish.html
Tribeca Film Festival
Thu, April 22, 5:45pm at Village East - Cinema 2
Sat, April 24, 5:30pm at Village East – Cinema 3
Mon, April 26, 6:30pm at Village East – Cinema 6
Wed, April 28, 2:45pm at Village East – Cinema 2
Three miles below the earth, the people of Finland are constructing an enormous tomb to lay to rest their share of humans' 300,000 tons of nuclear waste. To avoid disaster, it must remain untouched for at least 100,000 years. In this poetic, hauntingly beautiful, and thought-provoking doc, Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen ponders how to warn future civilizations that the buried treasure of our nuclear era - unlike the pyramids and great tombs of pharaohs - must never, ever be discovered.
More Nordic films @ the Tribeca Film Festival:
By Tarik Saleh (Sweden, Denmark, Norway)
The New Tenants
By Joachim Back (USA, Denmark)
By Mika Ronkainen (Finland, Germany)
Epic Fail/Epik feil
By Ragnar Agnarsson (Iceland)
By Örn Marino Arnarson, Thorkell Hardarson (Iceland)
Grandmother’s Eye/ Mormors Öga
Short Experimental Narrative
By Jonathan Lewald (Sweden)
The Introspective Detective: Wallander Returns
February 26 – May 28, 2010
Fridays @ 6:30 pm (Exceptions are noted)
Series Pass: $100 ($75 ASF Members); Individual Tickets: $9 ($6 ASF Members)
Each episode is 90 min. long
The mysteries of the celebrated, best-selling author Henning Mankell—who has been a welcome guest on several occasions at Scandinavia House—have been translated into 35 languages and have sold 24 million copies worldwide. Mankell has written 15 plays and screenplays as well as 35 novels, nine of which feature Detective Kurt Wallander. The Kurt Wallander mysteries presented in this encore series are based on entirely new stories by Mankell, were first released in 2005, and originally screened at Scandinavia House in 2006. All episodes depict the life of Detective Wallander in the seaside town of Ystad, Sweden. Wallander, his daughter Linda—a recent recruit to the police department—and their colleague Stefan struggle to solve challenging cases while their mutual personal and professional relationships evolve but always require them to rely on each other—not just to find the truth, but also to survive.
Special thanks to SF International.
Friday, February 26
Kurt Wallander and Linda face a religious fanatic intent on carrying out his personal version of God's will, at a brutal cost. Mysterious events mark this suspenseful drama. A flock of swans are burned to death. Shortly thereafter, a young woman is horribly murdered.
Friday, March 5
A man with long braids and a Native American-style feather in his hair walks into a bank with a bomb around his neck and demands that a sum of money be transferred to an account. It’s obvious that someone is exploiting the man, who is known in the village as being intellectually handicapped. Detective Wallander and his colleagues face a long and complicated investigation that unexpectedly demands an understanding of astrology.
Friday, March 12
A wealthy couple is found dead during a military exercise, murdered in their stately home, and Wallander is under pressure from his superiors in Stockholm to find out who killed them. The emerging evidence seems to point to an act of revenge for a 20-year-old transgression.
Friday, March 19
A child sits alone in a parked car on a deserted road with no adult in sight. Her father has been reported missing, and the mother is in a psychiatric institution, unresponsive and apathetic. Due to Detective Wallander’s failing health, Linda takes the lead in the case. It will touch her deeply as she discovers that the child has been unscrupulously tricked, exploited, and humiliated. Linda has never been so committed to solving a case.
Friday, March 26
Members of the Social Democratic party in Ystad are putting up campaign posters for their candidate, whose fight against anti-immigrant forces and the town’s racial prejudices are his main priorities. When a train rolls into Gdansk, Poland with a dead black man on board, it appears that he was murdered in Ystad, where the train originated. Most of the evidence points to a racially motivated crime, but then the investigation takes an unexpected turn.
Friday, April 2
When a farmer is kicked to death by his favorite horse, the horse breeder claims it is impossible, while an examination of the farmer's body provides new clues to the cause of death. The neighbors confirm that the farmer lived alone, but there had been a mysterious woman he met through a personal ad staying at the house. The search for the woman turns up nothing until the police discover the farmer's bank accounts were emptied the day he died.
Friday, April 16
Someone has infiltrated the Ystad police station, effectively closing it down for several critical hours while the culprit is everywhere and nowhere like a virus diagnosed far too late. At the same time, Detective Wallander tries to comprehend the connection between his colleague Martinson’s daughter and a woman found hanged.
*Thursday, April 22
An American tourist is found dead, and her husband demands that the body and all his wife’s possessions be returned. The woman had been visiting an internationally renowned Swedish photographer, which fuels her husband’s suspicions of infidelity. Detective Wallander is surprised to learn that the dead woman was murdered—and then more people die.
Friday, April 30
When the police are called to investigate an abandoned container lorry they find it filled with dead bodies, including those of children. Human trafficking and a complicated ring of suspects, each part of a larger puzzle, emerge as the investigation unfolds. Wallander finally gets a lead from an unlikely source, a group of local nuns, and a sports fan who fails to completely hide his true identity. But the case isn't over until Kurt can figure out who is really behind the smuggling.
Friday, May 7
An older man enters a bank with his two growling dogs in tow and asks to cash in his 20 million crown bank account. Soon afterward he and the dogs are found dead, and there’s no sign of the money. Suspicion falls on the victim’s neighbor, but when the neighbor and his family are found dead the tracks lead in different directions. Kurt Wallander and his colleagues soon realize that almost anyone in the village of Soldala could be the murderer.
Friday, May 14
The police find a boat in the harbor that looks like a slaughterhouse. It’s covered with blood, but they can’t find a body. Then a dead woman’s body drifts ashore. The investigation leads to Oskar, an old flame of Linda Wallander. Their former relationship makes it hard for Linda to be involved in the investigation, and Kurt insists that she step aside. That is easier said than done.
Friday, May 21
A woman is found shot in the head outside a restaurant, the victim of a brutal execution-style murder witnessed by her 7-year-old daughter. The murder takes place on the outskirts of Ystad but appears to have connections to Malmö’s underground crime network. The police in Ystad get help with the investigation from Frank Borg, a detective from Malmö with questionable ethics.
Friday, May 28
A boy's body is discovered in an abandoned barn. The murder shocks Kurt, Linda and Stefan, but the crime and the suspects don't seem to match. As they delve into the world of child abuse the characters are forced to come to terms with their own experiences and struggle with hidden demons. The battle is more than Stefan can take, and Kurt and Linda are left to deal with their grief and anger – and a dark secret from the past.
Wednesday, June 16, 7 pm
$9 ($6 ASF Members)
Suomi: Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu – what lies in the urban centers of the off-the-radar yet historically rich Nordic nation of Finland? We venture there’s freak folk, heavy metal, contemporary art, new media, salmiakki, reindeer, and perhaps even a Sami or two. Package Deals traveled across Finland this past summer to source the latest in its ongoing installment of geographically-curated cinematic gems. Premiering at Scandinavia House, Package Deals: Finland toasts the freshest in Finnish film, video art, and museum videos. A perfect package connecting the best of visuals and music under the Finnish denominator, everything from reaching in experimental film space to animation.
Organized in collaboration with Package Deals, an interdisciplinary curatorial project bringing the best in film, video, and music to audiences in the U.S. and abroad.
Wallander: The Second Season
June 28 – August 11, 2010
Mondays & Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm (Exceptions are noted)
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $60 ($42 ASF Members)
7 episodes in series; each episode is 90 min.
Already having won the heart of millions of viewers through an acclaimed first season in Sweden (screened at Scandinavia House first in 2006 and again in 2010), Swedish detective Kurt Wallander is back for a second season of all-new riveting investigations. Wallander has found worldwide appeal in books, films, and television. Created by world-renowned author Henning Mankell, Wallander is an intense and headstrong character known for his blunt approach and unorthodox working methods. Originally screened in Sweden in 2009 and for the first time this summer at Scandinavia House, this second season is based on original stories by Mankell and produced by Yellow Bird (the company who produced the film-adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and the BBC Wallander adaptation starring Kenneth Branagh). Shot in location in Ystad, the films display Scandinavian crime at its best – realistic, gripping and illuminating the dark corners of modern society.
Special thanks to Yellow Bird.
June 28 & June 30
Kurt Wallander has just bought a house by the sea and is happier than he has been in a long time. But suddenly a heavy explosion ruptures the peace and quiet in Ystad. The town’s single transformer station has blown up, with more explosions following shortly thereafter. The town starts to resemble a war zone as the military is called in. Are the explosions acts of sabotage or terrorism? Everything is chaos and Wallander fumbles in darkness as he tries to chase down the culprits.
July 6 & July 7
Please note this episode will be screened on Tuesday & Wednesday
One day, six-year-old Albin Landberg disappears without a trace from daycare. Everyone in Ystad is soon engaged in the increasingly desperate search for the boy. The trail seems to point Wallander and his colleagues towards a man previously sentenced for pedophilia. He has recently been released from jail having served his time. However, as the investigation continues it becomes evident that the crime has its roots in relationships far more complicated than the Ystad police could ever have imagined.
July 12 & July 14
A motorcyclist is found murdered. Clues lead the police to the local bikers club. It turns out that the club uses motorcycle couriers to smuggle narcotics across the Öresund Bridge to Denmark. The victim seems to have been involved in the trade, which leads Wallander to conclude that someone powerful is trying to seize control of the region’s drug trade. It is not until his colleague Isabelle is brutally attacked in her home that he realizes just how far these people are willing to go to achieve their goals.
July 19 & July 21
Ystad is hit by a wave of burglaries. A group of neighbors decide to take matters into their own hands by guarding the streets at night. One night they spot a suspicious person entering a house. The upset neighbors respond with violence and the man is severely beaten. The next day a man is reported missing by a devastated Polish woman. The case isn’t given high priority, but Wallander decides to investigate anyway. He finds the missing man’s phone, which contains terrifying pictures of a dead woman.
July 26 & July 28
A Russian cellist is subject to a bomb attack following a performance in Ystad. Incidentally the woman is the key witness in a murder prosecution against the son of the Russian mafia boss Leb Munchin. Wallander and his colleagues suddenly find themselves in the midst of a war against a powerful international enemy driven by something much deeper than money and whose methods are merciless Finally, Wallander finds himself eye-to-eye with an aged criminal who is ready to fight his last battle.
August 2 & August 4
A priest is found shot outside a hostel in Ystad, in what looks like attempted murder. The priest, who would be able to identify the shooter, fights for his life in the hospital. Meanwhile, Wallander and his colleagues look for clues. Only when the police learn that the priest had a love affair outside his marriage do they realize that they are dealing with a crime of passion. But where is the murder weapon - and who of the deceived parties has the strongest motive to kill?
August 9 & August 11
Several security vans are robbed on separate occasions in Ystad. Police cadets Isabelle and Pontus are present at one such robbery and try to hunt down the culprits, but Pontus is captured. Wallander finds a clue that leads him to Sven Adelgren, a friend and former colleague. Adelgren now works for the security company Skandiguard, which owns the robbed security vans. Meanwhile, Svartman tracks a case about a murdered orienteer, stumbling upon the thieves and nearly getting himself killed.
The Girl Who Played with Fire/Flickan som lekte med elden
Followed by Millennium: The Story
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Feature film 6:30 pm/Documentary 9 pm
A wine reception followed the feature film
$25 ASF Members
This was a special ASF members-only sneak preview
Directed by Daniel Alfredson (Sweden, 2009). Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is about to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly-ranked members of Swedish society. On the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), who has just returned to Sweden after spending a year abroad. Now Michael must do what he can to reach her before the authorities do. 129 min.
The Girl Who Played with Fire is the sequel to the hit film The Girl with apace and Michael Nyqvist who play Elisabeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. 45 min.
Special thanks to Music Box Films and Zodiak Entertainment.
September 29 – December 4, 2010
Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm & Saturdays @ 3 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $78 ($50 ASF Members)
Saturday Double Feature with Detective Inspector Irene Huss: $15 ($10 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House presents some of the most influential and successful Nordic films to New York audiences from Norway and Sweden in the continuation of its annual series of recently released films. The series featured films from Denmark, Finland and Iceland in spring 2010.
Special thanks to the Norwegian Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, The Match Factory and Oscilloscope Pictures.
September 29 & October 2
Directed by Matias Armand Jordal (2009). Together is a drama about loss and love, told in a realistic style with a great deal of humor and warmth. It is a story of a father and son’s journey through a landscape of sorrow after they tragically lose the one person they love the most. It’s about how they deal with their new everyday life without her, and their strain to win control over a new situation. The woman who dies was the glue that kept the family together, and without her they feel like they have to make a new start, a situation that exhausts them both. They realize that they haven’t spent much time together, and have a hard time trying to communicate with each other. Even simple things like making a meal become a challenge. The father experiences the loss of this woman so strongly that he isn’t able to pull himself together and take responsibility of his own and his son’s life. In pure desperation he meets with child welfare services, and when his son is temporarily sent to an orphanage, he isolates himself from his surroundings and rejects every attempt at contact, even from his own son. But the son refuses to give up hope that they can become a family again, and fights bravely to bring his father back to life. 100 min.
October 6 & October 9
Directed by Pål Jackman (2009). The Storm in My Heart is a tale about the short-tempered Eivind who isn’t scared of anything- except love. Eivind lives aboard a boat in Southern Norway. The boat lies low and lopsided in the water. Thirty years ago Eivind left his homestead and his teenage sweetheart behind, and he has not been back since. He meant to go back when everything was okay - only that never happened. One day young Kris appears. He wants to travel the world but didn’t get any further than to the lifeboat of Jernanger. The two men find one another and together they hatch a great plan. 96 min.
Norway's official submission to the 83rd Academy Awards
for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
October 13 & October 16
Directed by Margreth Olin (2009). Lea grows up in a home where she is unprotected. From being a cheerful, curious little girl, Lea sees her life brutally change when her mother returns to her ex-husband Ole. The death dance between the two adults damages the child growing up between them.
Lea turns to drinking in order to cope with everyday life in her family. When Lea gives birth to her daughter Sonja, she tries to make a clean break with her family and start a new life. Despite wanting to take care of her child and provide her with the protection she herself was deprived of, Lea soon realizes she lacks this ability. As a consequence, she must make an impossible decision. 97 min.
October 20 & October 23
Directed by Sara Johnsen (2009). As young children, half-siblings Axel and Yanne are adopted to Norway - he to material wealth on Oslo’s west side, and she to an average family on the east side of town. With his well-meaning, but indulgent adoptive parents, Axel grows into a spoiled brat who hides the insecurity of his troubled past behind an indifferent façade. In contrast to her younger brother, Yanne remembers their journey to Norway, but because they were separated upon arrival, she has no idea where or who he might be now.
However, all this changes when Yanne’s Polish friend Maria starts working as a maid for Axel’s parents, and discovers a photograph of him as a young boy. Maria saw the same picture on the wall of Yanne’s flat, and with an outsider’s enthusiastic lack of restraint, she takes on the task of reuniting them.
Yanne isn’t immediately convinced that contacting her brother after all these years is such a good idea; she’s already got her hands full with Per, a tormented ex-marine with a full load of demons in his baggage after serving in Afghanistan. For her part, Maria becomes much more intimately involved with the son in the house than would seem proper for a maid, and soon finds herself entangled in a turbulent affair with her friend’s little brother. Before she has time to realize the consequences, she has sparked a chain of events which involves many more feelings than just her own.
Upperdog is a vibrant relational dramedy with a wide thematic palette, where young people’s longing and search for themselves and for love, their vulnerability and conceit, is addressed with both liberating buoyancy and thoughtful gravity. With elegant narrative flair and direction, the team behind Upperdog has created a truly heartfelt film in this entertaining and moving story from contemporary Norway. 100 min.
October 27 & October 30
Directed by Martin Rehman Gaarder (2010). Shabana's Choice is an account of the remarkable life and provocative work of a standup-comedian and a special Norwegian woman with an immigrant background. It is a story of the personal risks, advantages and disadvantages of chasing a radical dream: claiming the freedom to choose for herself who she wants to be, without being dictated by ethnicity, religion, gender, prejudices or ignorance. In a small country on the edge of Europe, an immigrant girl grows up to become a highly rebellious and provocative Muslim woman. Her shocking political stunts, sexy stand-up performances and satirical columns catapult her to fame as a champion of liberal Muslim women aspiring to the Scandinavian lifestyle of gender equality and freedom of expression.
But the publicity comes at a price. Suddenly her life is at stake and she escapes to New York. This real-life journey jump-starts an internal one. The long-hidden, painful story of her youth begins to surface. It is time to confront her own inner demons and show the world how this victim became a freedom fighter. Outwardly she is tough, but inside she is still vulnerable. And in love.
This is her personal story as seen through the eyes of her Norwegian husband about a modern cross cultural marriage. 69 min.
November 3 & November 6
Directed by Babak Najafi (2010). Duct tape, electric wires, trigger, explosives. Sebbe never planned on building a bomb, things just turned out that way. Sebbe is fifteen and lives with his mother in an apartment that is much too small. He does his best. He never hits back. Sebbe loves his mother because he has no other choice.
Sebbe escapes to the junk yard, and in his hands, dead things come to life. He has the power to create. Here he is free, but alone. His detachment increases at the same pace that his world shrinks, until finally, one day he is completely isolated, without anyone except his mother. When she fails him, all else fails. 83 min.
November 10 & November 13
Directed by Jörgen Bergmark (2009). Erland is working in a paper mill in a small industrial town together with his best friend Sven-Erik. In his spare time he is, together with his wife May, running an evening marriage discussion group at the local church. At a party Erland is overcome by a strong attraction and soon begins a love affair with Sven-Erik’s new wife Karin. Erland’s rational solution is that the four of them should sit down and discuss the situation. They decide that Sven-Erik and Karin should move in with Erland and May. Furthermore they set up 10 rules for their new life together. This experiment really puts them to the test, threatening to plunge them all into the abyss. 104 min.
Watch trailer (no subtitles)
November 17 & November 20
Directed by Fredrik Gertten (2009). BANANAS!* is a suspenseful, layer-peeling, court room drama chronicle contextualized within the global politics of food and developing world dynamics. Directed by Fredrik Gertten, Sweden’s preeminent documentarian and investigative journalist, BANANAS!* focuses on a slippery fact trail and a landmark and highly controversial legal case pitting a dozen Nicaraguan plantation workers against Dole Food Corporation and its alleged usage of a deadly banned pesticide and its probable link to generations of sterilized workers.
Central to both the film and case is Juan “Accidentes” Dominguez, a Los Angeles-based personal injury attorney who, although iconic within the Latino community for his ubiquitous billboard ads, is unquestionably facing the biggest case and challenge of his career. As the legal representation on the first Nicaraguan sterility case to be tried in U.S. courts, Dominguez and his colleague, Duane C. Miller, are breaking new ground. Theirs is a bellwether case: The first of thousands of cases awaiting trial in Nicaragua and the first legal case where foreign farm workers were allowed to testify against an American multinational corporation before a full jury on U.S. soil. At stake are the futures of generations of workers, their families, as well as the culture of global, multinational business.
This case has been followed by experts and companies all over the world. If Dominguez is successful, it could rock the economic foundations of Dole and Dow, and would open the U.S. courts to other global victims of U.S.-based multinationals. It would represent a new day in international justice, and there are further cases of a similar nature coming up next in many jurisdictions. BANANAS!* is a court room drama covering the case of the 12 Nicaraguan banana workers who have sued Dole in what has become an extremely controversial trial. Cameras inside the court and interviews with Dominguez and the plaintiffs take the audience directly to the story. 87 min.
December 1 & December 4
Directed by Teresa Fabik (2009). Maja, 18 years old, lives in a hopelessly backward small town in Sweden. Her life’s dream is to become an actress. She wants to be the center of attention and for everyone to see the beautiful person she is on the inside. Only it’s a little hard to see, since Maja is heavily overweight, clumsy, and socially inept.
Erika Sohlman is a 28 year-old documentary filmmaker from Stockholm. When she meets Maja, she sees an excellent opportunity to create a reality show about Maja’s life, a tragicomic piece of entertainment, at Maja’s expense. Happy to finally get the attention she deserves, Maja gratefully embraces the opportunity to be on camera.
Maja struggles to realize her dream and establish her own identity during her final term of high school. Her road to success is lined with comedy and tragedy: she is dogged by the prejudices against someone with the “wrong” appearance; she is caught between a self-centered mother and an indifferent father; her timid crush on the popular guy reveals that even he harbors hidden secrets and disappointments.
Over time, Maja realizes that Erika may be using her, and she must ask herself if the attention is worth the price. Their roles are suddenly reversed when Maja grasps that Erika needs her more than she needs Erika. In the end Maja finds the strength and the self-assurance necessary to really take center stage – on her own terms. 94 min.
October 8 – November 20, 2010
Fridays @ 6:30 pm & Saturdays @ 12:30 pm
Individual Tickets: $10 ($7 ASF Members); Series Pass: $50 ($35 ASF Members)
Saturday Double Feature with New Nordic Cinema: $15 ($10 ASF Members)
Each episode is 90 min.
Detective Inspector Irene Huss is the 2006-2007 Scandinavian crime series based on the best-selling crime fiction novels of Helene Tursten, featuring her female protagonist D.I. Irene Huss. In 2006 and 2007, YellowBird (the company that produced the film-adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and the Wallander series screened by Scandinavia House) together with Illusion Film produced six Swedish films about the detective, with major DVD success in Sweden, selling more than 500,000 copies.
Huss is a former European jujutsu champion, a mother of twin teenage girls, and a Detective Inspector with the Violent Crimes Unit – in short, Irene leads a normal life. Her husband, Krister, is a successful chef and, luckily for Irene, he gladly shoulders a fair share of the household tasks.
At the Violent Crimes Unit in Göteborg, Irene encounters a wide range of criminal minds – from international serial killers to psychotic young girls. Every new case brings its share of quirks and quandaries to the table, sometimes forcing the entire team to put their lives on the line.
Special thanks to SF International.
October 8 & October 9
Part of a dismembered corpse is washed up on a rocky shore on the outskirts of Göteborg. The only worthwhile lead Detective Inspector Irene Huss has to go on is a striking tattoo on the torso.
Her investigations lead her to Copenhagen, where she is plunged into a manhunt for a depraved and vicious killer. A killer she knows will soon strike again, and who is becoming far too interested in her family.
October 22 & October 23
A man jumps from a balcony and dies. His terrified wife witnesses the event in a nearby taxi cab. Once D.I. Irene Huss arrives on the scene, it soon turns out that what appeared to be a tragic suicide is actually a brutal murder, and the victim is one of Göteborg's wealthiest men.
When it becomes clear that a biker gang is involved, the investigation gets even more complicated and Irene finds herself tracking down a shrewd and dangerous murderer among ex-millionaires, motorcycle gangs, drug-dealers and blackmailers. Suddenly, the lives of Irene, her family and her colleagues are in danger. At the same time, she has to deal with everyday life and a teenage daughter who has decided to join a gang of skinheads with neo-Nazi tendencies.
October 29 & October 30
Göteborg is struck by a series of fires. Irene Huss starts investigating an arson case that may be connected to an event that occurred fifteen years ago, a tragic unsolved case that challenged the D.I. when she first came to the Violent Crimes Unit. The population is unnerved by the thought of an arsonist on the loose, and the pressure on Irene and the rest of her team is immense.
In the midst of everything else, a woman has been stabbed to death. The victim, a reclusive elderly woman, seems to have little in common with the fires that ravage the mainland. But as Irene digs deeper into the case, she reveals secrets from the past.
November 5 & November 6
A blackout leaves the distinguished halls of the Löwanderska Hospital in complete darkness. Doctor Sverker Löwander hears the alarm when one of the ventilators goes off, and rushes to the intensive care unit only to find the nurse in charge dead in the stairwell and the other missing without a trace.
When D.I. Irene Huss arrives, the sole witness claims to have seen Nurse Tekla doing her rounds. There's only one slight problem: Nurse Tekla committed suicide at the hospital sixty years ago.
Irene is challenged by an intriguing case and dramatic relations, all spiced up with wandering ghosts from the past.
November 12 & November 13
In a small village near Göteborg, three members of the Schyttelius family are brutally murdered in their respective homes, and the victims’ blood is used to draw upside-down pentagrams on the walls. The investigators soon learn that the upside-down pentagrams symbolize the face of Satan.
Irene Huss learns that Sten Schyttelius, a minister, and his family, were trying to investigate a local Satanist movement in their parish. Irene pursues the lead, but is the answer really a satanic cult? And do only the good go to church?
November 19 & November 20
An online poker company promises fame and fortune, but when the bubble bursts, it’s not only the dream of big money that bites the dust: three separate men are all brutally executed in one of Göteborg's most fashionable areas.
But that's all they appear to have in common. The complex investigation of the three dead men immerses D.I. Irene Huss and her colleagues into a world of expensive cars, fancy homes and impressive castles in the air.
Meanwhile, the normally peaceful atmosphere of the Huss family is disturbed by marital tension as Irene suspects her husband Krister of a having an affair with a younger woman.
SPECIAL ASF MEMBERS-ONLY SNEAK PREVIEW
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest/Luftslottet som sprängdes
Monday, October 25, 6:30 pm
Directed by Daniel Alfredson (Sweden, 2009). Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is fighting for her life in more ways than one. In intensive care and charged with three murders, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back. 148 min.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final installment of film adaptations based on the bestselling Millennium trilogy by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. Preceding The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are the blockbusters The Girl Who Played with Fire/Flickan som lekte med elden (Directed by Daniel Alfredson, 2009) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/Män som hatar kvinnor (Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, 2009).
Special thanks to Music Box Films.
Friday, November 12, 8:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members)
Introduced by David Rieff
Directed by Susan Sontag (Sweden, 1969). Susan Sontag’s directorial debut is a tale of two couples involved in academia and politics. Artur Bauer is a university professor living in exile in Sweden with his enigmatic wife Francesca. He hires a young man, Tomas, ostensibly to help arrange his papers for publication. Tomas accepts the position and moves in with the couple, leaving his girlfriend behind (though she, too, eventually moves in). The young man quickly discovers that things are not quite right with the dysfunctional pair and the line is blurred between reality and fantasy in this erotic and confusing feature. 105 min.
Special thanks to the Consulate General of Sweden, New York; the Consulate General of Finland, New York; and Jacob Perlin, BAMcinématek.
Recent Films from Scandinavia
The King of Ping Pong (Ping-pongkingen)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 7, 2009, 3 pm
With Gyorgi Staykov, Ann-Sofie Nurmi, Frederik Nilsson, Jerry Johansson, and Hampus Johansson. In Swedish with English subtitles. 107 min.
Directed by Jens Jonsson (2008). Rille, a portly 16-year-old outcast, finds his reigning position as the local ping-pong champion unexpectedly compromised when a series of long buried family secrets set him on an emotional collision course with his feisty younger brother Eric. Even though his home life is fractured by divorce and his love life is decidedly nonexistent, Rille does his best to endure with grace and dignity and is at least able to take solace in the fact that he is the most accomplished ping-pong player in town. The founder of a community-based ping-pong program for kids, Rille is admired by the young players and presides over his subjects with the zeal of jovial royalty. The delicate balance of Rille's life is suddenly thrown for a loop, however, when family secrets surface and immediately threaten to send the lives of both himself and Eric into an irreversible tailspin.
To Love Someone (Den man älskar)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 14, 2009, 3 pm
With Sofia Ledarp, Jonas Karlsson, Rolf Lassgård, Camilla Larsson, Gustav Hammarsten, and Mats Blomgren. In Swedish with English subtitles. 92 min.
Directed by Åke Sandgren (2007). Åke Sandgren’s devastating To Love Someone explores issues of domestic violence and obsession with empathy and clarity. At the story’s centre is Lena, who has rebounded from her disastrous marriage to the alcoholic and abusive Hannes, and built a home with Alf. But Lena’s hellish life with Hannes still haunts her, and when he’s released from prison, she finds herself slipping back into his orbit. Psychologically acute and fearless in its depiction of emotional perversity, this film becomes a pseudo journey to the end of night, realized within the context of a domestic triangle. Sandgren uses a variety of approaches to capture the plot’s emotional complexity. The interpersonal attachments here are explicitly unhinged and profoundly self-destructive, but recognizably human nonetheless.
Wonderful and Loved by All (Underbar och älskad av alla)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 21, 2009, 3 pm
With Martina Haag, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Ellen Mattsson. In Swedish with English subtitles. 102 min.
Directed by Hannes Holm (2007). Motivated by the looming end to a lackluster acting career, Bella tells a white lie to land a plum role, only to find that the truth catches up with her. Inching into her forties, she learns that Ingmar Bergman will be directing a new stage adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and she decides to take a chance and show up for an open audition. After Bella's reading, one of the members of the production staff asks if she has a background in acrobatics. Eager to land the part, Bella says yes, and to her delight she's cast in a small role. However with each passing day, Bella becomes increasingly aware that if she doesn't confess the truth soon, her esteemed director will find out the hard way.
Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 28, 2009, 3 pm
With Gustaf Skarsgård, Beylula Kidane Adgoy, Embla Hjulström, Christopher Mhina and Jennifer Brown. 96 min.
Directed by Ylva Gustavsson and Catti Edfeldt (2006). Winner of five Swedish Film Awards, Kidz in da Hood is a gripping and touching story of Amina, who came to Sweden with her grandfather from northern Africa three years ago. Still without a residency permit, Amina’s life turns into a chaotic game of survival after her grandfather dies, having to outsmart social service agencies and evade curious neighbors. She lives in a Stockholm suburb with Johan, an edgy, tattooed rocker who takes on a parental role in Amina’s life, while the street-smart neighborhood kids complete her surrogate family circle. Set to a potent soundtrack of impromptu rap and rock numbers, this film blends serious drama and playful hijinks, exploring themes of personal responsibility, loyalty, grief, and socio-economic class structures.
The Man Who Loved Yngve (Mannen som elsket Yngve)
Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 7, 2009, 3 pm
With Rolf Kristian Larsen, Arthur Berning, Ole Christoffer Ertvåg, and Ida Elise Broch In Norwegian with English subtitles. 90 min.
Directed by Stian Kristiansen (2008). It’s 1989 and in the city of Stavanger 17 year-old Jarle Klepp has no idea that his life is about to change. He seemingly has everything: an amazing girlfriend and the world's coolest best friend, who together are launching Stavanger's toughest punk group, Mattias Rust Band. But when the new boy in class, Yngve, appears, Jarle is immediately drawn to him. As Jarle develops intimate feelings for Yngve, he becomes increasingly frustrated and confused. All he knows is that he cannot stop meeting Yngve, even if it involves doing things he despises, like listening to pop music and playing tennis. Slowly but steadily Jarle’s behavior forces him to make difficult choices, finding out in the end what it means to stand alone.
Kautokeino Rebellion (Kautokeino-opprøret)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 14, 2009, 3 pm
With Anni-Kristiina Juuso, Aslat Mahtte Gaup, Mikkel Gaup, Nils Peder Gaup, Mikael Persbrandt, Bjørn Sundquist, Sverre Porsanger, Peter Andersson, Mikael Nyqvist, Jørgen Langhelle, and Ole Niklas Guttorm. In Norwegian and Sámi with English subtitles. 96 min.
Directed by Nils Gaup (2008). Based on a Sámi rebellion that occurred in 1852 against the local authorities that abuse and exploit them, this sweeping epic by Nils Gaup delineates the many threads of the complex weave behind the conflict: alcohol abuse, religious revival, historical context, reindeer husbandry, commercial interests and the tug-of-war between local and central authority, both within government and the church. He also reveals compelling parallels between contemporary drug abuse and the alcoholism of the past, through a local merchant named Ruth, who plies the Sámi people with liquor to encourage their dependence. Enraged by her husband's constant state of drunkenness and her people's indifference, one determined Sámi named Elen convinces them to take a stand, initiating a revolt that leads to one of the most dramatic episodes in northern Scandinavian history.
The Art of Negative Thinking (Kunsten å tenke negativt)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 21, 2009, 3 pm
With Marian Saastad Ottesen, Fridjov Såheim, Kirsti Eline Torhaug, Per Schaaning, Henrik Mestad, Kari Simonsen, and Kjersti Holmen. In Norwegian with English subtitles. 79 min.
Directed by Bård Breien (2006). This black comedy follows 33 year-old Geirr who, after becoming severely handicapped in a traffic accident, slips into isolation, self medication, and bitterness, and develops an odd yet worrisome weapons fixation. Desperate to wrest him from this depression, his girlfriend Ingvild invites a support group to their home where for the next 24 hours Geirr resists any help, instead taking them down an intense road of anguish, anger, and hopelessness, forcing everyone to confront their own inner struggles. Only as dawn breaks do they once again catch sight of light, if only as a faint glimmer of hope.
Natural Born Star
Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 28, 2009, 3 pm
In Norwegian with English subtitles. 75 min.
Directed by Even Benestad (2007). This moving documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Fred Robsahm, who gained fame in the 1960s as a Norwegian actor in Italian westerns and dramas including the cult classic, Barbarella (1968). He was living a life most dreamed of, full of glamour and its trappings, married to one of his beautiful co-stars, Agostina Belli: they lived in a palatial home and amassed an impressive fortune. However, years later in the 1990s, Fred is found back home in Norway, disillusioned, HIV-positive, rundown, alone and broke in a rented room. In a story almost too unbelievable to be true, Benestad applies a nuanced sense of dignity and sensitivity as he retraces the film star’s steps and missteps, revealing how a dream can easily devolve into a nightmare.
The Early Years - Erik Nietzsche Part 1 (De unge år)
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 4, 2009, 3 pm
Jonatan Spang, Carl Martin Norén, Therese Damsgaard, David Dencik, Line Bie Rosenstjerne, and Paprika Steen. In Danish with English subtitles. 91 min.
Directed by Jacob Thuesen (2007). Written by Oscar-nominated Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, this satirical comedy follows the young and naïve Erik Nietzsche, whose artistic ambition is to make a film about leaves. After being rejected from several film schools, he (accidentally) is accepted by Denmark's National Film School, which is rife with self-absorbed, tyrannical teachers and bizarre fellow students who consider themselves geniuses. As Erik vainly tries to negotiate this psychological and emotional minefield while maintaining his innocence, the film becomes a portrait of an artist’s maturation and corruption – processes which, according to the filmmakers, inevitably go hand in hand. Thuesen and von Trier skillfully utilize wry parodies of key figures in Danish film history along with poignantly absurd cameos by some of the country’s most significant figures, including one by Dogma mainstay and director Paprika Steen.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 18, 2009, 3 pm
With Trine Dyrholm, Birthe Neumann, and Anders W. Berthelsen. In Danish with English subtitles. 90 min.
Directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen (2008). When the fuse box at her family’s dance studio blows, sparks fly between bright and vivacious Annika and the shy electrician Lasse. He is, at first, reluctant to get close to Annika, but soon confides in her that he was – unjustly as he would have it – convicted and jailed for a brutal crime, but is vague about the details. Annika’s sympathy surprises Lasse and eventually wins him over, but when he arrives to pick her up for a movie, Annika receives a malicious, anonymous phone call revealing that there may be more to Lasse’s mysterious past than he let on. Despite these warnings, Annika falls passionately in love with him, prompting outcries of protest and concern from family and friends. As in previous films by Christensen, the protagonist in this tense drama is a deeply compelling but emotionally disoriented woman whose whole life begins to collapse as the result of her choice of an “unsuitable” partner.
Go With Peace Jamil (Gå med fred Jamil)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 25, 2009, 3 pm
Starring Dar Salim. In Danish with English subtitles. 90 min.
Directed by Omar Shargawi (2008). A hard-hitting and intense study of masculinity, revenge and violence among Copenhagen's Muslim community, Shargawi’s is a bold, fresh and authentic take on the immigrant experience. Investigating the insular nature of immigrants, and more specifically Muslims, this thriller tells the story of a marked man, Jamil, who revenged the murder of his mother, only to desperately seek to escape the ramifications of his crime. As pressure mounts, Jamil's father tries to reason with him to end the circle of violence, but it seems nearly impossible to set aside a hatred fostered by generations of tit-for-tat killings. Themes of ancient religious hatred, love, punishment, guilt and redemption are woven skillfully throughout this gritty work impressively portraying an immigrant group rarely represented on screen.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 9, 2009, 3 pm
With Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, Snorri Engilbertsson, Jörundur Ragnarsson, Halla Vilhjálmsdóttir, and Davíð Þór Jónsson. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 92 min.
Directed by Gunnar B. Gudmundsson (2007). When Hildur, a beautiful high society girl and mainstay in the national celebrity press, finds out that she can no longer live off of her recently imprisoned boyfriend, she becomes determined to find financial independence and start a new life. Possessing no skills or practical experience, her job search is fruitless until she lands a job selling role playing books and accessories at the local fantasy game shop, Astrópía. From that moment her life transforms. At Astrópía, Hildur is introduced to a group of endearing geeks who give her a new outlook on life and gradually become unlikely yet loyal friends. When her old boyfriend Jolli, breaks free from prison and kidnaps her in an effort to regain his old lifestyle, her ragtag group of friends rally together to save her, but in the end Hildur must draw on her newfound self-confidence to break free from Jolli's shackles once and for all.
Country Wedding (Sveitabrúðkaup)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 16, 2009, 3 pm
Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, Árni Pétur Guðjónsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Erlendur Eiríksson, Gísli Örn Garðarsson, Hanna María Karlsdóttir, Herdís Þorvaldsdóttir, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Karl J. Guðmundsson, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Rúnar Freyr Gíslason, Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theódór Júlíusson, Tinna Hrafnsdóttir, Víkingur Kristjánsson, Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 95 min.
Directed by Valdís Óskarsdóttir (Iceland, 2008). Óskarsdóttir's Country Wedding is a light-hearted comedy about a dysfunctional family en route to a rustic, intimate wedding in the beautiful countryside of Iceland. Things start to unravel from the beginning when the small wedding party becomes lost as country churches with red roofs are apparently very common. Adding to the complications, the bride's parents are divorced, mom's new boyfriend seems to be a shady businessman, and the maid of honor brings an unexpected date and a senile grandmother without consulting the horrified bride. Enter a long lost uncle who's lived abroad for 25 years, disgruntled relatives, heavy imbibing, scuffles, and you've got yourself a wedding: Iceland style. Óskarsdóttir manages to skillfully walk the fine line between hilarity and despair in this realistic portrait of nuptials where more often than not, they provide fertile ground for the airing of tired grievances and secrets better left hidden.
Back Soon (Skrapp út)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 23, 2009, 3 pm
With Didda Jónsdóttir, Joy Doyle, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Julien Cotterau, and Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir og Jörundur Ragnarsson. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 90 min.
Directed by Sólveig Anspach (2008). In this quirky, heartfelt film, Anna Hallgrímsdóttir is a poet, dish washer and marijuana dealer in her late thirties who lives in Reykjavík with her two sons, Krummi and Úlfur. Tired of her daily life and the coldness of Iceland, she decides it is time to show her sons more of the world, and prepares to begin a new chapter in their lives. Before changing her lifestyle, however, first she must sell her “business,” which consists of her mobile phone, containing her extensive and valuable client list. A potential buyer low on cash promises to pay her asking price within 48 hours. Set to a score of lively Icelandic reggae, the next two days propel Anna through numerous family adventures, culminating with a crowd of customers, friends and relatives who have gathered in her kitchen for a farewell soiree.
The Word Music (Orðið tónlist)/The Corner Shop (Kjötborg)
The Word Music Part 1 (Focusing on Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson)/The Corner Shop
Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 6:30 pm
The Word Music Part 2 (Focusing on Jórunn Viđar)/The Corner Shop
Saturday, May 30, 2009, 3 pm
Directed by Ari Alexander and Ergis Magnusson (2008). The Word Music is a two part documentary focusing on Icelandic composers Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson (1995-2005) and Jórunn Viđar (1918). Tracing the history of modern music and the creative avant-garde in Reykjavík, this film supplies an utterly unique soundtrack set against breathtaking Icelandic visuals. Each installment is 52 min.
Directed by Helga Rakel Rafnsdóttir and Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir (2008). In a world of globalization, fast food, and sprawling supermarket chains, The Corner Shop is a documentary about one of the last remaining privately-owned grocery stores in Iceland. Run by two eccentric brothers, the shop is the glue that keeps the community together and armed with nothing more than good humor and intentions, the brothers fight a constant battle against more corporate and efficient models of consumption. 44 min.
Black Ice (Musta jää)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 6, 2009, 3 pm
With Outi Mäenpää, Ria Kataja, Martti Suosalo, Ville Virtanen, Sara Paavolainen, Netta Heikkilä, Väinö Heiskanen, Philipp Danne, and Matti Laine. In Finnish with English subtitles. 117 min.
Directed by Petri Kotwica (2007). Black Ice is a suspenseful drama about an unlikely relationship between two women. Saara, a happily married woman with a successful career as a surgeon, discovers on her birthday that her husband Leo, an architecture professor, is cheating on her. Leo refuses to admit to the affair, so Saara moves out and takes matters into her own hands. Through the computer, she discovers the identity of the “other woman,” Tuuli, who it turns out is one of her husband’s architecture students. Saara assumes a fake identity in cyber space to get closer to the woman and also joins Tuuli’s karate class and eventually they become good friends. The drama escalates into a thriller as Saara plots her revenge.
The Border (Raja 1918)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 13, 2009, 3 pm
With Martin Bahne, Minna Haapkylä, and Leonid Mozgovoy. In Finnish, Swedish, Russian, and German with English subtitles. 115 min.
Directed by Lauri Törhönen (2007). Set in the aftermath of Finland’s civil war, the deeply loyal Captain von Munck is sent to the Karelian Isthmus to establish and maintain a national border for the fledgling nation state of Finland. With St. Petersburg only 40 km away, his job entails the difficult and delicate task of contending with fugitive Reds, smugglers, artists, Jews, English spies and refugees trying to cross into Finland. His orders are simple. Finns and nationals of other countries may pass, but Reds and Russians may not, and are to be shot without hesitation. Complications arise when von Munck loses his heart to a beautiful and passionate Russian woman and also discovers that his clerk, a local school teacher, is harboring a wounded communist warlord, risking the Captain’s allegiance and his life. Törhönen explores the moral dilemma that arises from the conflict of humanity and strict political loyalty while painstakingly recreating a historical narrative unlike any other war film.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 20, 2009, 3 pm
With Lasse Pöysti, Pentti Siimes, Eila Halonen, Marja-Leena Kouki, Aarre Karén, and Tuomo Mutru. In Finnish with English subtitles. 70 min.
Directed by Miika Soini (2008). Thomas, in the autumn of his life, lives a simple and isolated existence in his below-street-level apartment. The flat is sparsely furnished and bereft of sentimental objects, except for a photo of his wife. His days revolve around listening to classical music on his radio and a perhaps symbolic, never-ending game of chess, in which the only opponent is himself. He does not venture outside very often but when he does, the outside world cuttingly reminds him of his old age, his loneliness, and times he cares not to remember. There are hints of an unresolved conflict deep inside him that perpetuates his situation, until a chance meeting with another elderly gentleman on a park bench proves instrumental in unlocking his solitude. Compassion, forgiveness and atonement are sensitively conveyed through an elegant, minimalist style and ascetic composition.
Shadow of the Holy Book (Pyhän kirjan varjo)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 6:30pm & Saturday, June 27, 2009, 3 pm
With Arto Halonen, Kevin Frazier, Markku Visapää, Kaius Niemi, Ali Karagöz, Avdy Kuliev, Murad Aliev, David Garcia, Farid Tuhbatullin, Boris Shikmuradov Jr., and Erika Dailey. In Finnish with English Subtitles. 90 min.
Directed by Arto Halonen (2008). This documentary examines the Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov, aka “Turkmenbashi.” The founder of one of the world's most insular, dictatorial regimes, Niyazov wrote the “Ruhnama,” the so-called “holy book” referred to in the title, that combines legend, myth and Niyazovian poetry with a self-exalting interpretation of history. Turkmenbashi is responsible for innumerable human rights violations including torture, murder, and unjust imprisonment. Yet, these egregious offenses don’t dissuade major corporations from commissioning over 40 translations of this text into their native language to win Turmenbashi’s favor and gain access to oil and lucrative construction contracts. Daringly executed, this buzzed-about documentary exposes how the immorality of major international companies helps Turkmenistan hide its rampant human rights abuses.
Nordic Noir: Crime Series – Varg Veum
July 8 through August 13, 2009
$9, $6 ASF Members
Scandinavia House continues with the ever-popular crime series, Varg Veum, featuring film adaptations of Norwegian writer Gunnar Staalesen’s crime novels. The contemporary thriller series about hard-boiled private investigator Varg Veum is distinguished by dark humor, sharp characterization and unremitting tension.
During the last two decades Gunnar Staalesen has published 13 Varg Veum novels and 2 collections of short stories, and has become a household name with the Norwegian crime audience. Publishers have recognized the fine talent for hard-boiled noir of the Norwegian writer, and his Varg Veum novels are now being published in 13 countries, among others Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, England and Italy. Staalesen has written more than 35 books and has received a number of prestigious Scandinavian awards. In 2004 Varg Veum was honored as the Norwegian crime hero of all time. Staalesen is known for his talent to create complex and exciting crime plots, and at the same time displaying a consciousness of the social injustices through his lone-wolf hero.
There are six films in the series and they will be screened on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm and again on Thursdays at 2:30 pm. The series starts on July 8 and runs through August 13.
Varg Veum – Bitter Flowers (Varg Veum – Bitre Blomster)
Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, July 9, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen, 2007. Karsten Aslaksen, chief engineer of a large chemical company, disappears without trace. His married lover, a successful Christian politician named Vibeke Farang, approaches private investigator Varg Veum to trace him. Discreetly. Varg finds Karsten dead in a cabin in the woods. The police arrest Vibeke’s husband for the murder, but Varg is convinced they have the wrong man. He starts to investigate Aslaksen and the chemical plant where he worked, and uncovers a deadly international conspiracy in which the principals will stop at nothing to protect their interests.
Varg Veum – Sleeping Beauty (Varg Veum – Tornerose)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, July 16, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Erik Richter Strand, 2008. Director of Photography: Johan Fredrik Bødtker. Production Design: Roger Rosenberg. Script: Lars Skorpen. Producers: Jonas Allen and Peter Bose. Music: Ginge. Cast: Trond Espen Seim, Bjørn Floberg, Endre Hellestveit, Kathrine Fagerland, Julie Rusti, Marianne Nielsen, Bjørn Willberg Andersen, Stig Ryste Amdam, Ågot Sendstad.
After extricating 17-year-old Lisa Halle from a life of prostitution in Copenhagen, private investigator Varg Veum becomes ensnared in a tangle of parental neglect and bad love when he is hired to locate her boyfriend, Peter Werner.
Varg finds him stabbed to death in a seedy hotel. As he strives to save Lisa from perdition and to find Peter’s killer, he is forced to confront the city’s most dangerous dope dealers.
Varg Veum – Yours until Death (Varg Veum – Din, til døden)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, July 23, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Erik Richter Strand, 2008. Private eye Varg Veum is on a routine mission searching for his client Jonas Andresen’s stolen car. The car is found having been used in a brutal robbery and not long after that the client himself turns up dead. The cops’ prime suspect is the ex-wife Wenche, but Varg believes the case to be more complex. When the perpetrators end up dead one after the other, Varg soon begins to fear for the life of the beautiful widow.
Varg Veum – Fallen Angels (Varg Veum – Falne engler)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, July 30, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Morten Tyldum, 2008. Jakob Aasen has hired his old friend private investigator Varg Veum to spy on his wife Rebecca, whom he suspects of infidelity. Against his better judgment Varg takes on the job, and in an ironic twist he and Rebecca rekindle their former love. Meanwhile a serial killer begins to target the members and families of Jakob’s band, and the second of his victims is Rebecca… In a race against time, Varg strives to halt the killer before he strikes again – and in the process he uncovers the dark secret behind the killings.
Varg Veum – Woman in the Fridge (Varg Veum – Kvinnen i kjøleskapet)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, August 6, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Alexander Eik, 2008. An international oil drilling company hires private investigator Varg Veum to find their missing systems designer, Arne Samuelsen. Varg discovers the headless body of a woman jammed into the fridge in Arne’s apartment – and is promptly knocked unconscious. When he wakes up the body is missing. Varg has to clear his name and confront a ruthless extortionist in a maze of deception and sexual ambiguity.
Varg Veum – Buried Dogs (Varg Veum – Begravde Hunder)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 6:30 pm & Thursday, August 13, 2009, 2:30 pm
Directed by Alexander Eik, 2008. Racial tension is running high in Bergen after a young black asylum seeker dies at the hands of the police. Shortly afterwards, a right-wing politician is targeted by a gunman at a public rally, and his wife is fatally wounded. The Party is about to hold a leadership election. One of the candidates, Marit Holm, comes to private investigator Varg Veum, insisting she is being stalked. Varg is drawn into a web of conspiracy and betrayal at the heart of the political establishment, in which spin doctors and political players will do anything to achieve their ends.
Flame & Citron (Flammen & Citronen)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 7pm
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen, 2008. Flame & Citron, based on true events, tells the story of two heroes of the Danish resistance to the Nazi occupation, but it is far from your typical World War II period piece. Instead, it plays like some unholy, brilliant marriage between spy noir and comic book movie. The Danish population hopes for a swift end to the war, freedom fighters Bent Faurschou-Hviid, alias Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith, alias Citron (Mads Mikkelsen), secretly put their lives at stake fighting for the Resistance. When their immediate superior, Aksel Winther, orders them into action against two German Abwehr officers, events start to get out of hand. Flame confronts the talented and intelligent Colonel Gilbert (Hanns Zischler) and for the first time hesitates to carry out his orders to kill. Something feels terribly wrong.
While their doubts gnaw at them, Flame and Citron come to feel that they are on shaky ground. Desperate, disillusioned and with a sense of having been betrayed by their superiors, they decide only to trust each other and concentrate their efforts on getting to the much hated and feared chief of the Gestapo, Hoffmann (Christian Berkel).
Filled to the brim with assassination plots, double-crosses, larger-than-life villains, and big, dramatic gestures, this is not for viewers who like their movies timid and sedate. And under that grand façade, the film grapples with tough moral questions regarding war, occupation, survival, and ideology. 130 min.
Friday, October 2, 6:30 pm
*International premiere. The director and editor were present.
Directed by Alli Happasalo (2008). Former ASF Fellow and New York-based director and writer Alli Haapasalo returns to Scandinavia House for her film’s international debut. It’s Christmas Eve in Helsinki. Young taxi driver Samu is working to escape a family Christmas with his fiancé and baby. At the airport Samu picks up a fascinating customer: a Finnish mercenary Hans, who has returned to Helsinki after an absence of 20 years. Hans hires Samu to go on a mission with him: to find Laura, the daughter of his recently deceased best friend and brother in arms. The quest to find Laura leads the men around the wintry city, to places and people from Hans’s past. As Samu watches Hans confront his past, he begins to open his eyes to his own future. When the eventful mission reaches its end, both of the men’s lives are forever changed. 60 min.
ICELANDIC FILM RETROSPECTIVE
Wednesdays @ 6:30 pm and Saturdays @ 3 pm, September 16 – December 12, 2009
(Except October 14 – 24)
Filmmaking reflects the role generally played by art – to mirror socio-cultural evolution and serve as a platform where questions are asked and experiments made. The opposition between myths and modernity, and traditions and globalization, are frequent themes in Icelandic film of all categories: documentaries, literature and Saga adaptations, feature films, experimental films and short films.
Icelandic cinema came into its own with the founding of the Icelandic Film Fund, now the Icelandic Film Centre, in 1979. The creation of the film fund had an immediate impact and led to new national productions.
For years, Icelandic short films have been presented at major film festivals around the world, regularly garnering high praise and winning top international prizes. A survey of Icelandic shorts that span many styles and genres are paired with feature length films in this retrospective.
Scandinavia House is celebrating the Fund’s 30th anniversary with a comprehensive 10-film retrospective and a survey of Icelandic short films.
Presented with support by Iceland Naturally and IcelandAir Cargo. Special thanks to the Icelandic Film Centre.
Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 pm & Saturday, September 19, 3 pm
Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (1991). Iceland’s first and only Oscar-nominated film (Best Foreign Language Film, 1992), this lighthearted but poignant drama is about an aging couple that decides to make the most of the time they have left together. Þórgeir must leave his home in the remote Icelandic countryside and move into a retirement home in Reykjavík. There he meets Stella, an old friend from his childhood. Þórgeir soon becomes unhappy and sneaks away from the home with Stella. Headed for the country, they hope to pay a final visit to the town where they both grew up. A drama that asks: how important is it to have a long life if you must leave everything that has a meaning for you? 82 min.
Directed by Grímur Hákonarson (2008). A love story of two men told through Iceland’s national sport of “glima” (folk wrestling), where a code of honor called “Drengskapur” demands that the wrestlers always exhibit fairness, respect, and caring towards one another. Training partners Elnar and Denni take the code of honor one step further when they fall in love. 20 min.
Wednesday, September 23, 6:30 pm & Saturday, September 26, 3 pm
Directed by Ágúst Guðmundsson (1982). Ágúst Guðmundsson’s extraordinary musical comedy is still revered as Iceland’s most beloved film. Stuðmenn and Grýlurnar, two pop music groups (one all-male and the other all-female) challenge each other as they tour Iceland. In the beginning everyone is in the same band but when a fight erupts, the women leave to form Grýlurnar and the two groups compete for fans. 100 min.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SEAGULL’S LAUGHTER REPLACED LAND AND SONS AS THE FEATURE LENGTH FILM.
The Seagull’s Laughter/Mávahlátur,
Screened with Slavek the Shit
Thursday, October 1, 6:30 pm & Saturday, October 3, 3 pm
Directed by Ágúst Guðmundsson (2001). It is 1953, and Freya, who had gone to America as an officer’s bride, has returned home to begin a new life. She moves into a small house of distant relatives in a quiet fishing village within Iceland. But unlike the drab, plump girl who went abroad, Freya, now in her twenties, is a stunningly beautiful woman. With her long chestnut brown hair, slender figure, and chic American fashions, she is somewhat of a mystery to the women of the household, including the inquisitive eleven-year-old Agga, and especially to the men of the community. But as Agga soon notices, strange things have been happening since Freya’s arrival. Women are asserting their independence and men are mysteriously keeling over. Is Freya a murderess? A goddess of love? These are questions young Agga would very much like to have answered. 104 min.
In Czech with English subtitles
Directed by Grímur Hákonarson (2005). Slavek is an elderly caretaker of a public lavatory and is proud of his job. He becomes anxious to see more and more automatic toilets installed in town. Then something changes. He falls in love with a woman toilet caretaker who is working on the other side of the street. Slavek the Shit, Hákonarson’s graduate film, was selected for the Cinéfondation section of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2005. 15 min.
Wednesday, October 7, 6:30 pm & Saturday, October 10, 3 pm
Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (1982). Considered one of the most important documentaries about Icelandic alternative music culture, director Friðriksson showcases the music scene through several performances of Post-Punk and New Wave bands, including Tappi Tíkarrass, Purrkur Pillnikk and Þeyr. The documentary deftly portrays, through concert footage and musician interviews, the lifestyle of Icelandic youth rebelling against the establishment, while simultaneously trying to create their own identities. 83 min.
Wednesday, October 28, 6:30 pm & Saturday, October 31, 3 pm
Directed by Ragnar Bragason (2006). This compelling look at a group of dysfunctional people in Reykjavík examines the lives of people close to the bottom of the social ladder and their desperate attempts at survival. Shot in beautifully stylized black and white that compliments the film’s dark atmosphere, Children’s finely-rounded characters include a mother alone with her four children, an underworld thug trying to re-connect with his son, and a single mother caring for her schizophrenic son. Like its sibling movie Parents/Foreldrar (2007), Children has many small intertwined stories in which all are bound together in a narrative where unexpected twists and turns lead to a totally satisfying denouement. 93 min.
Wednesday, November 4, 6:30 pm &Saturday, November 7, 3 pm
Directed by Ragnar Bragason (2007). The lives of three desperate characters intersect in this award-winning ensemble piece. In conjunction with actors from the Icelandic theatrical troupe Vesturport, who based their characters on real people, director Ragnar Bragason has produced a follow-up to Children/Börn (2006) that offers an unsentimental dramatic study of parenthood in all its potential fulfillment, suffering, and self-discovery. A dentist longs for a baby as his marriage falls apart, a woman tries to win back the respect and affections of her 11-year-old son, and a stockbroker has alienated his wife and young daughter with his workaholism. 87 min.
Wednesday, November 11, 6:30 pm & Saturday, November 14, 3 pm
Directed by Baltasar Kormárkur (2000). Named after a postcode of the Icelandic capital center, where the main narrative takes place, this is the story of the geek Hlynur. Approaching 30, he still lives with his mother, downloads cyberporn and wanders around Reykjavík half-heartedly searching for a job while spending lots of time in Kaffibarinn, the central Reykjavík bar.Hlynur lives in a blissfully ignorant and isolated world until his mother's friend Lola arrives for an extended visit. Lola is a Spanish flamenco instructor with a seductive smile, a sultry voice and a carpe diem attitude.She's also in love with Hlynur's mother, Berglind.An enigmatic character,Lola quickly becomes the center of the household dynamic when, after a night of heavy drinking she and Hlynur sleep together.As Hlynur comes to terms with his mother's love for Lola and his own feelings of inadequacy with her, the announcement that Lola is pregnant pushes him to the brink. Living under the same roof is next to impossible for all three, but gradually Hlynur begins to see life differently. 92 min.
Directed by Ísold Uggadóttir (2007). Family Reunion/Gódir gestir is a modern-day coming out story about a young Icelandic woman living two separate lives. Katrín, a sculptor in NYC is headed from grungy Chinatown back to pristine Iceland for her grandfather's 70th birthday. 21 min.
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 pm & Saturday, November 21, 3 pm
Directed by Dagur Kári Petursson (2003). Is 17-year-old Nói the village idiot or a genius in disguise? Enduring an unsatisfactory relationship with his binge-drinking father and constantly in trouble at school, exceptionally bright Nói is bored and constrained by small town life in the remote Icelandic fishing village where he lives. He drifts about aimlessly, drinking beer at the petrol station and smoking cigarettes in his secret basement lair for hours on end. The arrival of a beautiful new girl, Íris, however, revitalizes him, and awakens a dream of escape to a better place. As gentle comedy gives way to catastrophe, the question becomes: is nature with Nói or against him? Bleak, beautiful and tinged with a touch of the supernatural, Noi the Albino was a hit on the international film festival circuit. 90 min.
Directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson (2008). The international film festival circuit’s current darling, 2 Birds takes place during one bright summer night and follows a group of young teenagers on a journey from innocence to adulthood. It is a delicate study in yearning, love and the compassion that binds us all together and makes us human, even.
Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 pm & Saturday, December 5, 3 pm
Directed by Guðný Halldórsdóttir (1999). Adapted from a 1933 story by Iceland’s Nobel Laureate, Halldór Laxness, Honor of the House is directed by his daughter. A sumptuously photographed period film featuring many of Scandinavia’s finest actors and set in a spectacular landscape, the film reveals a family’s darkest secrets. Þuríður, who is married with children, is consumed with frustration and unhappiness, while her younger sister Rannveig recklessly cavorts around Copenhagen. Endlessly chiding her sister about the family’s honor, Þuríður goes to extraordinary lengths to destroy Rannveig’s happiness. The story is evocatively recounted by their mother who expresses her deep sorrow for not initially intervening. 110 min.
Wednesday, December 9, 6:30 pm & Saturday, December 12, 3 pm
Directed by Einar Þór Gunnlaugsson (2008). Set against a rugged landscape in a small community, Small Mountain tells the story of Emil, a local handyman, who is entrusted to take a sealed ballot box to the airport to be flown to the city for counting. As he starts his journey, Emil finds himself resolving a dispute between two young boys over a bicycle. Unbeknownst to him, his son Albert, a brooding young man, has returned to the village to confront his father over their fractured relationship. 95 min.
Directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson (2004). Situated in a remote valley where all the farms except one are abandoned, a farmer and his wife await the arrival of their daughter, who is to take them to a retirement home. The wife dies a few days before the two are scheduled to leave the farm. The farmer keeps the death a secret from his daughter and concocts a plan that is revealed in the last scene. 16 min.
October 14 – 24, 2009
$9 ($6 ASF members)
Series Pass: $45 ($30 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House presents a selection of six recent films from Norway with the aim of exposing an American audience to the work of both established directors and a new generation of filmmakers.
In 2005, Norway celebrated its 100th anniversary as an independent nation; in 1905 the Swedish-Norwegian Union was dissolved. Cinema, of course, was invented just ten years before that, so it could be said that process of introducing the new medium into Norway went alongside that of creating a separate national identity for the new nation. Today Norway produces about 15-17 feature films a year, covering a wide variety of styles and subjects; many are often co-produced with Scandinavian or other European partners. Norwegian films are gaining prominence and earning praise at international film festivals, and more frequently, released commercially in the United States.
The film week is supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.
Wednesday, October 14, 6 pm & Wednesday, October 21, 8:30 pm
Directed by Eva Isaksen (2008). Aina wants to escape from it all, but the house of fools is not a peaceful place to be. After throwing herself through a shop window, Aina is taken in for treatment. She is forced to join therapy groups, riding lessons and cleansing conversations with those who wish to help her. Especially with Stetson, named after his own hat, who considers it honorable to bring a broken soul back to life. In the house of fools, Aina learns that sheer madness usually makes a lot of sense! 103 min.
Wednesday, October 14, 8:30 pm & Thursday, October 22, 6:30 pm
Directed by Eva Sørhaug (2008). There is hope, but not for many of us. A multi-plot drama about five people who all live in the same neighborhood at Majorstua in Oslo. While Christer is down in the basement laundry room, he suddenly remembers he's got his rent money in the shirt pocket. In an attempt to save the money, he disconnects the main fuse in order to stop the washing machine. As the caretaker puts in a new fuse, an old man is fumbling with the fuses in a fuse-box upstairs and dies instantly. His daughter, Leni is now alone for the first time in her life. As the fresh mother Heidi is in the washroom to get her laundry, she discovers that the machines have stopped. She is in a hurry, and has to bring with her the wet clothes. Without being aware of it, Christer has set unavoidable processes in motion. 90 min.
Thursday, October 15, 6 pm
Curated by Kajsa Næss. A showcase of Norway’s newest and most acclaimed films that have emerged from the country’s vibrant animation industry. For the past decade, Norwegian animation has been undergoing an intense transformation. Moving beyond small-scale productions, it has become a leader in international design, motion-graphics and cinema. This is a rare chance to view a collection of contemporary animation-based work from Norway’s top artists and studios.
Thursday, October 15, 8:30 pm & Friday, October 23, 6:30 pm
Directed by Knut Erik Jensen (2008). A strong and poetic love story based on the 30 years Gunvor Galtung Haavik spent living a double life. During the Cold War, she was employed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and assigned to the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. With the information she had access to in her position as interpreter and secretary, she frequently fed the KGB secret information, in her role as a Russian agent. Director Knut Erik Jensen made the film relying on documentation and inspiration from Alf R. Jacobsen’s book Iskyss, and Haavik’s own letters to her secret Russian lover Vladimir Kozlov. 83 min.
Friday, October 16, 6 pm
Directed by Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (2008). Max Manus is a true story about one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II and his battle to overcome his inner demons. In spite of being one of the most wanted men by the Gestapo in Norway, Manus participated in some of the most daring sabotage attacks during the Second World War. After having fought as a volunteer in the Finnish-Russian Winter War, Manus returns home to a Norway occupied by the Germans, in the spring of 1940. Before long, he and his buddies Gregers Gram and Gunnar Sønsteby start making trouble for the Germans. They build up a resistance network, collect weapons and explosives, and undergo training in England. From their safe apartment in Oslo, they carry out sabotage attacks against important Nazi targets, and they become increasingly more devious. But the Gestapo investigator Siegfried Fehmer works determinedly and patiently to stop Manus, and soon he starts to unravel the network around him. In a meeting with Fehmer he realizes that everybody is a victim of the meaninglessness of war. 118 min.
Friday, October 16, 8:30 pm & Wednesday, October 21, 6 pm
Directed by Erik Poppe (2008). How do you find light, joy and purpose in life after a blow of fate? Jan Thomas is a young man fresh from an eight-year prison sentence. The catalyst for his incarceration may have been an accident and may have been a premeditated murder, but regardless, the event still hangs over Jan like a dark shroud, tempering his memories and his actions. Upon release, Jan - a talented organist - lands a job in the local church as an organ player, and begins to develop feelings for Anna, a female priest who also happens to be a single mother. To avoid complications and protect the sanctity of the new relationship, Jan silently vows to withhold information about his troubled past from Anna, but the past catches up with him in the form of Agnes, a schoolteacher who visits the church and recognizes Jan - as the man responsible for her young son's death. Troubled Water skillfully combines two strong stories about people who try to come to terms with the past - and with their own fate. They try to accept who they have become, and to find a new way to relate to love. Troubled Water is the third film in Erik Poppe’s trilogy which started with Schpaaa and Hawaii, Oslo. 121 min.
Saturday, October 17, 3 pm & Saturday, October 24, 3 pm
Directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen (2008). One day Kurt discovers that society basically does not respect forklift operators very much. His wife is an ambitious architect. His neighbor is a medical doctor. Not even Kurt's own kids seem to be very happy about their father's occupation. Even if Kurt is popular among his colleagues and likes to drive a forklift, he quits his job, and starts climbing the social ladder. He wants to become a doctor, he wants to get rich, and he wants to be somebody. In the end, he even wants to become Prime Minister. But he does not have much success in any of his projects, and as time goes by, Kurt turns…evil. 74 min.
Friday, October 9, 7 pm
$9 ($6 ASF members)
The director will be present.
Biogen concert to follow the screening.
Directed by Arnar Jónasson (2008). Electronica Reykjavík is the story of a revolution in music. The electronic and house music of the late 1980s and early 1990s not only made a generation, but affected a whole other generation of musicians. A scene of mostly-underground and avant-garde Icelandic electronic artists emerged, many of whom are portrayed in the film. Reflecting a music genre that the general public knows little about, but nearly everyone has participated in at one point, the film gives rare insight into the early days of Icelandic dance music. The film features footage from clubs long gone and hairstyles better forgotten, as well as performances from artists such as Anonymous, Biogen, GusGus, Ghostigital and many others. 55 min.
October 29, 2009
FREE, 6 pm
*All the directors and producers will be in attendance
Super16 is an association of young filmmakers. The name refers to the format, Super 16mm but it also refers to the composition of each class - 8 directors and 8 producers per class. Coming from production companies, theatre companies, Danish Universities, advertising companies and other film schools, the goal of Super16 is to strengthen and develop talents through coursework and collaboration with the established film industry. Every year, Super16 hosts a public premiere of their fiction and documentary films. The films are collaborative, pairing a director and a producer for a total of 8 films. They are produced with the invaluable help of the film industry and volunteer film folks.
Read more about Super16 here (in Danish & English).
Thursday, November 19, 7 pm
$9 ($6 ASF members)
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun’s birth, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK, has produced a series of films about the author’s life and work. Divine Madness: Hamsun in America portrays the hardships of Hamsun’s childhood, his intense desire to become a writer and his journeys through the United States in the 1880s. Robert Ferguson, Hamsun scholar, will introduce the film, and a discussion with Ferguson and the series producer, Per Christian Olsen will follow the screening. 50 min.
Wednesday, January 27, 6:30pm
$9 ($6 ASF Members)
Only ASF members may reserve film tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 212.847.9746
Director Rax Rinnekangas will be present at the screening.
Directed by Rax Rinnekangas. On January 27, 2010, 65 years will have elapsed since the liberation of the Auschwitz camp. On that day, art museums, institutes and universities in different countries may present the newly finished Finnish film The Colours of the Holocaust in honor of achieving world peace.The Colours of the Holocaust is a film on the least known reasons for the world’s longest hatred, anti-Semitism – the birth of Aryanism in Europe in the 19th century – on its shift to Nazism in the first half of the 20th century and on the impact of its consequences on the spiritual climate after the World War.
In the film, Finnish photographer Rax Rinnekangas (b. 1954) opens the Internet at his studio in the working-class quarters of Helsinki and begins to ponder what ultimately sparked the genocide of Jews, the Holocaust, committed by the Nazis, because he does not believe organized tragedies are born in one night. From the question begins the journey of the artist’s mind and the photographs he has taken in numerous concentration camps to the roots of Aryanism at the beginning of the 1800s and to the eruption of anti-Semitism in the European reality – further to the birth of Nazism and to its consequences.
The film provides an interpretation of the artist, born after the Second World War, of the events that have most shaken and made a difference to the European identity during the 20th century.
The film shows that Organized Evil – the Nazis’ Utopian journey to an empire lasting a thousand years – did not occur in a black and white reality, like archive films have taught us, but rather in the same colorful world in which we live today.