From July 17 to August 7, Palace Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX will be home to the much loved Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival 2019. Showcasing the best cinema from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden the festival gives us a unique opportunity to experience the wondrous cinematic eye of our friends in the north. More than just Nordic Noir (although there’s a lot of that as well), the festival offers us a wide range of genres, from science fiction to period pieces, crime dramas to rom-coms. Here’s five films that caught the eye of our Film & TV Editor DAVID O’CONNELL. For a full program and screening times, check here.
The Purity of Vengeance
Nordic Noir has been a defining genre of the region, and the Department Q series is one of the greats of the genre. The Purity of Vengeance is the fourth and final installment, and reunites actors Nikolaj Lie Kaaas and Fares Fares in this Danish box office shattering conclusion. The festival will also screen the three previous installments in the series, The Keeper of Lost Causes, The Absent One, and The Conspiracy of Faith, if you need to catch up on Department Q.
Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire.
Speaking of Nordic Noir, Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire, will look at the life of the author of the stunning Millennium series. However this look will concentrate on his work to protect democracy, by charting and exposing the machinations of far-right movement. As an accompaniment to this documentary, the festival will also show the Millennium trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest).
OK, this one is a bit of a hard sell, having divided critics, but is certainly something different to the rest of the fare at the festival (along with the near future sci-fi of Sons of Denmark). Based on the poetry of Nobel laureate Harry Martinson this science fiction film offers a touch of the void in a couple of different ways. A luxury transport fleeing from a dying Earth is thrown off it’s course to the Mars colony. Trapped in space and desperate for a means of correcting course, the passengers of Aniara must confront the possibility of disaster. A brutal examination of society in a microcosm, when faced the pressures of extinction, this sounds grim, but fascinating.
To prove it’s not all grim and gritty, Aurora gives us a taste of rom-com, as a commitment phobic party girl and an Iranian refugee agree to help each other in an unconventional way. In parts both sharply satirical and surprisingly tender, this Finish film should put a wicked smile on viewer’s faces.
A White, White Day
Two years after his wife dies in a tragic car crash, a former police chief in a small rural town begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. Hlynur Pálmason’s A White, White Day is one for those who like their humour well on the dark side.