This fall at Scandinavia House, experience Nordic comedy at its darkest with “Svart Humor”! “If there’s a dead body in Denmark, someone is going to make a joke about it,” director Anders Jensen once said; Nordic comedies are as known for their deadpan, dry wit as for their occasionally noir subject matter, celebrating the “svart/sort” (dark) side of life’s hilarities.
On September 27, see The Grump: In Search of an Escort (dir. Mika Kaurismäki, Finland, 2022)! The Grump’s (Heikki Kinnunen) everyday life working on his farm in rural Finland has been rolling along, albeit troubled lately by memories of his big brother Tarmo, who moved to Germany years ago.
When one day The Grump crashes his beloved 1972 Ford Escort, the car is hauled off to the junkyard; no other car will do, so he sets off in search of the nearest model — which happens to be in Germany.
After a robbery and an injury, the Grump finds himself reunited with his estranged sibling. As the two continue the hunt for the vehicle amid numerous disagreements, they also begin to understand their shared history of loss, leading them on a touching (if cantankerous) journey of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Director Mika Kaurismäki:
“I like tragicomedies where something that you look at closely may seem very sad, and when you look from farther away, it can be very funny. I didn’t want to try to be funny in the film. The situation and the character were already amusing, and I tried to work against that to strike a different tone… I wanted to portray the protagonist not as a stupid, old-fashioned guy, but as one who has his own values.”