Only ASF Members may reserve film tickets by calling 212.847.9746 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
All films are subtitled in English. Theater doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of the film.
Film screenings are held in Victor Borge Hall, named in honor of the legendary Danish entertainer and in recognition of his generosity to Scandinavia House.
February 19 through May 16, 2014
Wednesdays @ 7 pm & Fridays @ 6:30 pm
$10 ($7 ASF Members); Series pass: $100 ($70 ASF Members)
Scandinavia House brings some of the most influential Nordic films to New York audiences this spring with films from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Grandma Lo-fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir/Amma Lo-fi: Kjallaraspólur Sigríðar Níelsdóttur
March 5 & 7
Directed by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir, Orri Jónsson, and Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir (Iceland & Denmark, 2011). At the tender age of 70 she started recording and releasing her own music straight from her living room. Seven years later she had 59 albums to her name with more than 600 songs – an eccentric myriad of catchy compositions featuring in her pets, found toys, kitchen percussion, and a Casio keyboard.
Sigríður Níelsdóttir is her name, and before long the Icelandic/Danish musician and visual artist became an adored cult figure in the Icelandic music scene, represented here by her young apprentices Mugison, múm, and Sin Fang of Seabear who pay tribute to the grandma’s irresistibly catchy, yet eccentric pop tunes.
Shot mostly on Super-8 and 16mm, Grandma Lo-fi was created over a period of seven years by three musicians and bourgeoning directors, capturing the most productive period in the life of Sigríður Níelsdóttir. In many ways Níelsdóttir is like a cartoon character. Poetic moves such as taking in broken-winged pigeons that in return sing along to her tunes, or transforming a cream whisk into a helicopter, all call for animated sequences that bridge the obscure space between her exemplary imagination and a delightfully peculiar everyday existence.
Grandma Lo-fi is a cinematic tribute to an amazing musician and to her boundless creativity.
62 min. In Icelandic and Danish with English subtitles.
About the directors
Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir (b. 1981) is a visual artist living in Reykjavík. She has designed album covers and music videos for artists such as Jónsi, múm, Seabear, Sin Fang, and more. Birgisdóttir created all of the animations in Grandma Lo-fi, which is her first feature film.
Orri Jónsson (b. 1970) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1996. Jónsson is a musician in the band Slowblow, which has scored feature films and released a number of albums. He is also a photographer and has exhibited at institutions including the Museum Folkwang in Essen and the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and recently released his photobook Interiors with Steidl (2011). Grandma Lo-fi is his first feature film.
Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir (b. 1977) is a musician and visual artist, who has had a crucial impact on the Icelandic art scene in the past 10 years. She co-founded the art collective think tank and record label Kitchen Motors and records and performs music under the name Kira Kira, with three albums released. Kristjánsdóttir makes her debut as a feature filmmaker with Grandma Lo-fi.
See also Kira Kira in CONCERTS section.
March 12 & 14
Directed by Olaf de Fleur Jóhannesson (Iceland, 2011). Set in modern day Iceland and realistically depicting its underworld, City State is a cool, hardboiled crime thriller. Sergej (Zlatko Krickic), a Serbian immigrant, vows revenge after losing his unborn child in an attack by a crime syndicate, thereby binding his fate with Andrea (Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir), a troubled policewoman, Margeir, a corrupt police officer (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) in love with a prostitute, and Gunnar (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), a crime kingpin who's losing his edge.
100 min. In Icelandic, English, Serbian, Russian with English subtitles.
About the director
Olaf de Fleur Jóhannesson (b. 1975, Búðardalur, Iceland) is a writer, director, and producer; he has been a dedicated filmmaker for over a decade. He founded Poppoli Picture – his own independent production company – in 2003 after having worked on several TV documentaries under another production company. Poppoli’s first production, Shining Star, brought him Best Documentary Feature at the 2004 Edda Awards. He won again in 2005 for the feature documentary Africa United.
In 2008 Jóhannesson wrote and directed his first feature film The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela; the film won him the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize in 2009. He released his second feature, The Higher Force/Stóra planið, in 2008 (screened at Scandinavia House in 2010). In 2011 Jóhannesson released the documentary Adequate Beings and two feature films, City State and the black comedy Polite People/Kurteist fólk. City State was nominated for 9 Edda Awards and won for Best Sound Design.
March 19 & 21
Directed by Simo Halinen (Finland, 2013). Maarit (Leea Klemola) is a beautiful, intelligent, and sexy woman – who used to be a man. Struck by the oddity of gender change, she is estranged from the daughter she fathered and from her previous life. When she meets and falls in love with Sami (Peter Franzén) – soccer coach, teacher, and family man – she finally feels like she can “fit in” somewhere. But Sami is soon put to the test. In a world that considers Maarit a freak, Sami is forced to confront his own deeply hidden prejudices. And as for Maarit, with or without Sami, she has to step into a brave new world where only she can determine her sense of belonging.
Open Up To Me is an intense psychological drama about sexual identity. In modern relationships nothing can be taken for granted anymore. There is no ready-made model for love. We have to create our morals. We have to draw lines, and sometimes, when our hearts tell us to, cross them.
95 min. In Finnish with English subtitles.
About the director
Simo Halinen (b. 1963) is a Finnish film and television director, screenwriter, actor, and author. He graduated from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 1995. Halinen released his first novel Idänsydänssimpukka in 2004 and a follow-up Lemmenomenia in 2008. His TV works include the TV film Minerva (1997), the mini-series The Girl with a Pig Tale (2004) and a three-part black comedy entitled Golden Retriever (2007). He wrote and directed his first full-length feature film Cyclomania in 2001, and in 2013 he returned with Open Up to Me, which was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize (2013).
March 26 & 28
Directed by Saara Cantell (Finland, 2012). Stars Above is set in three different time periods – 1942, 1978, and the present day – and follows the stories of three women from the same family across three different decades. During the war, Saima (Irina Björklund) takes in casualties on her farm, yet when she becomes close to one of them, rumors start to spread. Tuulikki (Meri Nenonen) moves back to the family farm hoping to start a new life with the man of her dreams – but how truthful has she been with herself? Salla (Elin Petersdottir) moves back home from Sweden, hoping to continue her hermit's life, only to meet someone trying to break down the walls she's erected around her emotions.
Full of revealing period detail, Stars Above offers a rich chronicle of the changing context of Finnish women's lives, picturing the encounters between people and the possibilities of choices and change.
105 min. In Finnish with English subtitles.
About the director
Director-screenwriter Saara Cantell has directed the children’s movie Unna & Nuuk (2006); several short films – including the award-winning Portrait/Potretti (2003) and What If/Mahdollisuus (2005); TV series – including Fairy Tales from Frontier/ Rajametsän tarinoita (2004); and dance films – including the award-winning A Tale of Shatters/Sirapalesatu (1995).
Cantell has also written screenplays for TV series, including Black Cat’s Passage/Mustan kissan kuja (2000). Her documentary short film Very Own/Ikiomaksi (2007) was nominated for the Prix Europa competition in 2008. Her feature film Heartbeats/Kohtaamisia (2010) received a Jussi award and the State Quality Prize in 2010.
Cantell graduated as a film director from the Department of Film at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 1996. She holds a Doctorate in the Arts and wrote her thesis on narrative short films. The director lives in Helsinki with her husband and three sons.
April 2 & 4
Directed by Mikael Marcimain (Sweden, 2012). Stockholm, late 70s. The model utopian society. Political neutrality and atomic power march hand in hand with women's liberation and the sexual revolution. But under the polished surface, other darker desires are eager to be fulfilled. Within a stone’s throw of government buildings and juvenile homes lies the seductive, glittery, and dirty world of sex clubs, strip shows, discotheques, and apartments used for illicit and profitable rendezvous. Call Girl tells the story of how young Iris (Sofia Karemyr) is recruited from the bottom rung of society, into a ruthless world where power can get you anything.
A political and emotional thriller with nerve and social conscience, Call Girl is inspired by thrillers from the 1970s like All the President’s Men, Three Days for Condor, and Serpico. Youth is seductive. Power is corrupt.
140 min. In Swedish with English subtitles.
About the director
Mikael Marcimain’s (b. 1970) professional high profile stems from directing Sweden’s highly acclaimed television series The Laser Man/Lasermannen (2005) and How Soon is Now/Upp till kamp (2007).
Marcimain started as an assistant director for SVT, where later he got the chance to extend his scope. His breakthrough came with the thriller TV-series The Grave/Graven (2004), for which he earned the Ikaros television award for Best Drama in 2004. Marcimain also worked as second unit director on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Call Girl is Marcimain’s feature film debut that has since won the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) after its world premiere in the Toronto International Film Festival's Discovery Program.
April 9 & 11
Directed by Kristina Lindström & Maud Nycander (Sweden & Denmark, 2012). Late in the evening on February 28, 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme and his wife walked home from seeing a film. Palme was fatally shot and killed by an unknown assassin. The murder was never solved.
Filmmakers Lindström and Nycander’s encompassing portrait of Palme began as a means to reassess the former prime minister’s legacy, separate from the drama and horror of his death. More than 26 years have passed since Palme was assassinated, but he remains a divisive figure in Swedish society. Outspoken, courageous, and an advocate for women’s rights, environmentalism, and the peace movement, Palme almost single-handedly changed global views about Sweden.
Palme’s decision to march with the ambassador from North Vietnam in Stockholm in 1968 prompted the United States to recall its ambassador in what many consider to be the nadir of relations between the two countries. In a Time Magazine article, the incident was reported thusly: “NO political figure in the Western world was more critical of President Nixon’s decision to resume the bombing of North Vietnam than Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme.” Palme compared the aerial attacks on Hanoi and Haiphong to “Guernica, Oradour, Babi Yar, Katyn, Lidice, Sharpeville, Treblinka.” Despite the political differences between the two nations, Henry Kissinger remained a deep admirer of Palme.
Nycander and Lindström’s film portrait offers an encompassing view both of the man and of his era with never-before-seen footage released by the Palme family. The film won two awards at the 50th Guldbagge Awards including Best Editing and Best Music (2013).
103 min. In Swedish with English subtitles.
VIEW TRAILER (partially subtitled)
About the directors
Kristina Lindström has created many of the visually innovative and award-‐winning programs which have been seen on Swedish Television (SVT), such as Elbyl, Kobra, among others. She has worked as a journalist and filmmaker, in addition to serving as a producer for Swedish Radio’s (SR) society editor. For the past ten years Lindström has been the head of SVT – Culture and Society/Kultur och samhälle; the program has repeatedly won the Stora Journalist prize and the Kristallen television prize.
Maud Nycander has years of experience as a documentary filmmaker, with a dozen films to her name. Previously she has made several historical documentaries and has a great deal of experience with giving new life to archived material. Her film The Nun/Nunnan (2007) won the Prix Italia and a Guldbagge (the Swedish Film Academy Award). Nycander’s most recently shown work has been the attention-getting film Restricted Facility/Sluten avdelning (2010) – a TV mini-series documentary about a psychiatric ward in a large hospital in Stockholm; it was nominated for a Kristall award in 2010.
April 23 & 25
Directed by Annette K. Olesen (Denmark, 2013). In this remake of Tom Hedegaard’s 1977 political thriller of the same title, geophysicist and political commentator Mia Moesgaard (Trine Dyrholm) is pressured into stating that she would not be surprised if citizens took action against the risky oil drillings in Greenland, or even turned to violent protest. Her statement soon triggers Rasmus (Kim Bodnia), a former Olympic marksman, who decides to make her words come alive. He gives Danish politicians an ultimatum: “Stop drilling in the Arctic or I will start taking lives!” Before she knows it, Mia is drawn into his master plan.
94 min. In Danish with English subtitles.
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 Berlin International Film Festival (2004). In 2004 she directed In Your Hands/Forbrydelser, which was selected for the main competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. For her work on The Shooter, she received an honorary award at the São Paulo International Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize at the Valladolid International Film Festival. Olesen has also directed the drama Little Solider/Lille soldat (2009), which screened at Scandinavia House in 2011; and a number of episodes for the hugely popular TV-series Borgen (2010), which screened at Scandinavia House in 2012.
April 30 & May 2
Directed by Tobias Lindholm (Denmark, 2012). The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbor when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship’s cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and the engineer Jan (Roland Møller), who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death.
With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars, a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company and the Somali pirates.
99 min. In Danish with English subtitles.
About the director
Tobias Lindholm made his directorial debut with the tough prison drama R (2010; co-directed by Michael Noer). As a scriptwriter Lindholm has worked with Thomas Vinterberg on the acclaimed drama Submarino – winner of the Nordic Council Film Prize (2010; screened at Scandinavia House in 2012) and The Hunt/Jagten (2012; screened at Scandinavia House in 2014). Since 2010 Lindholm has written several episodes for the internationally-acclaimed and BAFTA-winning TV-series Borgen.
May 7 & 9
In the last twenty-five years the history of Faroese cinema has only consisted of a handful of feature films. However, in recent years a creative pool of filmmakers has established itself to redefine a stronger, more progressive voice in the cinematic community for the Faroe Islands. This evening places the spotlight on these Faroese filmmakers and their work.
May 14 & 16
Directed by Daniel Dencik (Denmark, 2013). A real adventure film for the 21st century: on a three-mast schooner packed with artists, scientists, and ambitions worthy of Noah or Columbus, we set off for the end of the world – the rapidly melting massifs of North-East Greenland. On this epic journey brave sailors encounter polar bear nightmares, Stone Age playgrounds, and entirely new species.
In their encounter with new, unknown parts of the world, however, the crew of scientists and artists are also confronted the existential questions of life. Curiosity, grand pathos and a liberating dose of humor come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity. A film conceived and brought to life on a grand scale – a long forgotten childhood dream lived out by grown artists and scientists.
90 min. In English and Danish with English subtitles.
About the director
Daniel Dencik (b. 1972, Sweden) is a director, editor, and scriptwriter. He studied film editing at the National Film School of Denmark, graduating in 1999. His editing work includes Into Eternity: A Film for the Future (2010), Noi the Albino/Nói albínói (2001; screened at Scandinavia House in 2009) and Five Obstructions (2003).
Dencik made his documentary film debut with Moon Rider in 2012. Also a writer of poetry and short stories, his latest book Through Disasters/Via katastroferne (Gyldendals Forlag, 2012) was nominated for Politiken’s 2012 Literature Prize in Denmark.
Special thanks to the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, the Icelandic Film Centre, the Norwegian Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, Nordic House in the Faroe Islands, Corinth Films, Magnolia Pictures, and Chezville.
Ongoing, 5 – 10 pm (Last seating @ 9 pm)
$31 per person ($27 ASF Members)
Pairing top-notch Scandinavian cinema and music with fine Nordic cuisine, Smörgås Chef @ Scandinavia House continues its popular Dinner & a Movie prix-fixe 2-course dinner menu. Available from 5 to 10 pm (the last seating is at 9 pm), this ongoing offer features a selection of favorite dishes including herb-roasted chicken, cured gravlaks and Swedish meatballs, and includes one admission to that evening’s film screening.