27 Jan NORDIC FEATURES TO CATCH AT VFF
VFF Online is a perfect companion for anyone embracing the Danish coziness culture known as hygge this winter. These films pair nicely with fuzzy sweaters, Swedish meatballs, or a splash of akvavit.
Say “Skål!” to these Nordic selections.
Rannveig is frustrated within all aspects of her mundane suburban life. She’s stuck with a job she hates, and her marriage is stagnating. On top of that, she fights daily battles with her rebellious 18-year-old daughter, Agnes Joy, as she can’t face the possibility of Agnes growing up and leaving her behind.
Both Agnes and her mother are going through similar crises of identity. As Agnes tries to negotiate life as a teenager coming of age, her mother faces the realities of being middle-aged.
Things get more complicated when a semi-famous actor, Hreinn, moves in next door. Rannveig is instantly attracted to the new neighbour, but she seems not to be the only woman in her family who finds Hreinn irresistible…..
Set between the stunning towns of Akranes and Reykjavik, Agnes Joy is full of subtle beauties, from the vibrant Icelandic landscape to the emotional intelligence of the actors. It’s a universal and heartfelt depiction of family dynamics and teenage rebellion.
Beware of Children (Barn)
We often reveal our true colours during a crisis. In Beware of Children, Norwegian novelist and director Dag Johan Haugerud delivers an ambitious exploration of guilt, grief and communication issues.
Beware of Children chronicles the fallout of the accidental – or was it? – death of 13-year-old Jamie on a school soccer field, after he gets a beating by Lykke, his classmate. Lykke claims Jamie’s death was an accident, but nobody believes her.
To complicate matters, Lykke is the daughter of a prominent Labour Party politician and Jamie was the son of a local right-wing politician. Jamie’s father, Per Erik, is also secretly dating the idealistic and avowedly left-wing Liv, who is the school principal and who thus needs to deal with the fallout of the occurrence for her students. How could it happen – and how is it possible to continue living afterwards? Was it really only innocent play?
Following her VFF 2018 hit Sami Blood, director Amanda Kernell reveals her sophomore feature – a gripping and intense portrait of the lawless force of an imperfect mother’s love.
After a divorce, Alice (an excellent Ane Dahl Torp) lives in Stockholm where she works in a hospital. She has not seen her two children, Elina and Vincent, for a long time, as she awaits a custody verdict. When her young son, Vincent, phones her crying one evening and tells her he no longer wants to stay with his father, Mattias (Sverrir Gudnason, The Girl in the Spider’s Web), Alice hastily returns north from Stockholm and tries to establish contact with her two children. When Mattias does not allow her to see them, Alice takes action, abducting Elina and Vincent on an illicit charter trip to the Canary Islands. She is determined to reconnect with them and re-assert her role as mother and protector.
It’s Christmas time in Iceland, and as everyone gets ready for the holidays, a mysterious atmosphere falls upon the snow covered country revealing emotions of both joy and anxiety.
Director Rúnar Rúnarsson through 56 scenes, draws a portrait, both biting and tender, of modern society in the midst of preparations. In a school, a children’s choir is singing Christmas carols. In the middle of the countryside, an abandoned farm is burning. In a museum, a mother is arguing with her ex-husband on the phone. In a slaughterhouse, chickens are parading along a rail. In a living room, a young girl is making her grandmother try on her new virtual reality headset…
This magical mosaic of stories presents society itself as the protagonist, recalling a wealth of graceful and humane interactions. So let go of your expectations of the standard film narration and let the director’s vision bury itself deep within. That’s when the magic will happen and things will fall into place.
Games People Play (Seurapeli)
Director Jenni Toivoniemi makes her feature film debut with a bittersweet comedy about a group of thirty-something friends regressing to their teenage selves during a reunion weekend.
An old group of friends gathers at an idyllic seaside villa to celebrate a surprise birthday party for Mitzi – just like they used to do as teenagers. The weekend starts ominously when Mitzi, who is the dramatic focal point of the group, does not respond well to the surprise. Old rituals and new revelations rise to the surface making the group of friends reassess their past, their present and drink more Kossu (Finnish liquor).
Games People Play, featuring a brilliant cast ensemble including Laura Birn (also in this year’s Helen, Netflix’s The Innocents) and Christian Hillborg (Fleabag), is a delicious mix of delight and darkness resulting in a perfect heartwarming satire. If you are into strong characters and full-of-heart raw humour, you will love this film. Kippis!
Are robots going to take over the world and replace humans? Will your microwave be your best friend in the future? Or your worst enemy?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? If so, keep reading. If not, keep reading.
iHuman, is a documentary thriller that explores the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time – Artificial Intelligence. With a unique access to pioneers at the frontline of the AI revolution, it explores opportunities and challenges that it can bring and its impact on the global community. How is AI changing our lives? What role will play in the future?
iHuman will give you real chills and perhaps encourage taking that technology-free weekend to the cabin you have always dreamt of.
Journey to Utopia
Journey to Utopia, a heartwarming and brutally honest documentary, follows the footsteps of a family that gambles everything and decides to join the fight for the climate, but the reality of establishing the sustainable planned community turns out to be more difficult than anticipated.
Erlend Mo (the film’s director) lives the Scandinavian dream with his opera singer wife and three children on an idyllic farm in Norway. They are educated, open-minded and try to live as sustainable a life as they can. But that’s not enough. With feelings of climate emergency growing, they make a decision to take their sustainable life up a notch and move to a brand-new self-sufficient organic farming co-operative in Denmark called “Permatopia.”
As the challenges and sacrifices required for this new life add up, the Mo family’s unity and idealism are pushed to their breaking points. Will they be able to pull through it all together, and still find hope for a better future?
My Father Marianne (Min pappa Marianne)
Hanna, a woke 28 year old aspiring journalist, who strives for social justice is having no luck in convincing the top Stockholm media outlets to give her a chance.
After a list of job rejections and finding her boyfriend in bed with someone else, the defeated Hanna reluctantly opts to return to her little hometown of Alingsås to live with her parents and brother. She gets a definitely-not-a-dream-job at the local news station where she has to cover potato parades instead of the marches for equal rights she had hoped for.
Her world is soon turned even more upside down when her beloved father, a respected priest in the community, informs his family about his lifelong feminine side, wanting to come out as Marianne. None of her courses in gender studies have prepared Hanna for this, and she loathes Marianne for stealing her father from her. But for Marianne there is no return. At last, she must be who she really is.
Loosely based on author-journalist Ester Roxberg’s autobiographical novel My father Ann-Christine-the memory of a secret, My Father Marianne is at heart a universal story about maturing and expectations, but above all it’s a touching examination of a young woman’s relationship with her beloved father.