The Scandinavian Film Festival is showing the top films to have come out of Scandinavia over the last year at Palace Cinemas all over Australia. We spoke exclusively with CEO of Palace Cinemas, who went to Cannes Film Festival to select some of the films, to find out more about the festival.
What is unique or special about the Scandinavian Film Festival?
It’s an opportunity to see these fantastic films and this enormous film-making talent from the Northern Hemisphere that otherwise wouldn’t be shown here at all. The only place to see Scandinavian films is at the Scandinavian film festival and the Scandi’s make great films.
How do the cinematic techniques or story lines differ in Scandinavian Film?
They’re different from films in the rest of the world. It’s fascinating to think that different countries have a different film-making style, it’s almost like an accent. Here is Harold is the opening night film, and watching it you find yourself really involved in the main character’s life. The way they do character development is probably the best in the world – the way the audience comes to know who the hero or antagonist is and how deeply you feel for that character.
In a number of the films – e.g. Homesick – days later I would find myself thinking about the characters in the film like the way you think about old friends. That to me demonstrated the power of their character development and that to me is distinct about Scandinavian cinema.
Can you give us an overview of some of the diverse films featured at the Scandinavian Film Festival?
There is an amazing documentary Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words. Ingrid Bergman was an amazing female leader during a time when there was a lot more sexism. She went on to break several glass ceilings first in Sweden then in the United States and in Europe. That’s a fantastic documentary about a very powerful woman and her amazing life.
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s a modern film, Out of Nature, where you’re following this guy who gets to the point where he just bails and runs into the forest on this epic hiking trip. It’s like a gateway into the male psyche, it’s a really interesting film.
A beautiful film is Homesick, which is really tender and thought-provoking. It’s about estranged family members and their relationships and how they come together. I also recently saw Young Sophie Bell; this film is just brilliant. It’s a coming-of-age story of two ladies who following graduation then start to move off in different directions – one moves off to Berlin and the other stays at home. And then there’s a tragedy, something happens, and it’s about the process of renewal or rejuvenation and coping and the relationships.
What criteria did you use to choose the films?
Out of the hundreds of films that are produced in Scandinavia, we’re looking for roughly the top twenty – so the festival is the creme de la creme of Scandinavian film production over the last year. We’re looking for a variety of voices and countries. Essentially we wanted variety and quality.
How can people best choose which films to watch?
There’s a booklet that features all the films – you can look at images, read the synopses and see some critical responses to the films. You can also look at website for all of the details of the films.
The Scandinavian Film Festival is showing from 8-26 July at all major cities around the country. There are discount tickets available for movie club member and seniors. It is also great value to purchase a 5 or 10 film pass, which also simplifies the incredibly difficult process of choosing which of these stunning films to view.
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