Thursday, 25 August 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Scandinavian Films


This week's theme made it even clearer to me that I haven't seen or can find any Finnish films. The only one I can name is Rare Exports but I was a tad too scared to see it. I was hoping to find more when I went to Helsinki earlier this year but all the posters were for British or American films. On the last day I did see one poster on the bus, on a small screen, a poster for a Finnish film. I recognised the name when I was picking my films for Edinburgh but it was not meant to be as it on when I couldn't see it.

I've included some films that are Scandinavian that I've seen at festivals that I thought should be included.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Easy Money - Sweden
Swedish-American Joel Kinnaman is JW, a aspiring student at the School of Economics, a numbers guy. He falls into the wrong crowd, eager to be a part of the elite. He starts working for drug dealers, working their numbers. There is also the story of  on the run Yugoslavian mafia boss Radovan Kranjic and the hitman who has been hired to kill him, Mrado Slovovic and his young daughter. All these characters collide with drastic consequences. Hate to say it, but if this was in Hollywood's hands, it would be run of the mill action, but in the hands of Jorge Daniel Espinosa, the film is an excellent and exciting thriller. Also Kinnaman is a stand out, he should go back to doing Swedish films. Unfortunately this film is heading to remake town and its starring Zac Efron #terriblecasting

Troll Hunter - Norway
Every now and then, particularly if I see something odd I'll just yell TTTRRROOOOOLLL! in a terrible Swedish accent. Filmed like a documentary and plays on the 'found footage' genre, but its better, more, exciting. Somehow I think the Norwegians have got it just right. Picking a fable like creature that is native to Scandinavia but making it universally appealing. Three students hoping to make a documentary about the strange animal attacks joins up with Hans, a Trollhunter. He has been working to keep trolls away from humans for years but trolls have been leaving their territories. It's a great film and oh my the trolls are hideously scary too.

Princess - Denmark
Proving that animation is definitely not just for children, this part 2D animated/part live action tale of revenge is dark, very dark. Thure Lindhardt lends his voice to August, a missionary who returns home to find that his sister, a former porn star died from a drug overdose leaving her 5 year old daughter behind. August adopts her and together they take revenge on those who ruined his sister's life with lots of violence and destruction. Brilliantly animated, with scenes that are so horrible but in 2D are quite beautiful. But must stress that I found this dark but because I liked the characters, I could watch this more than once. 

Festival Picks

These are recent films from BFI Film Festival and Edinburgh Film Festival, Norway's The Wave and Iceland's Homecoming (English title).


13 comments:

  1. My Scandinavian viewing is woefully small and I haven't seen any of these though I've heard of Easy Money and saw The Wave mentioned earlier today. Those would be the two of these that I'd seek out but they all sound interesting in their various ways.

    As I said my knowledge of Scandinavian films is very limited so my choices this week are very Bergman-centric, both Ingmar and Ingrid.

    Wild Strawberries (1957)-Lovely reverie about looking back at life and the memories that come unbidden. Approaching 80 Dr. Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström), a retired doctor and professor, a remote man with a cold demeanor is traveling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree. Originally intending to fly he decides to drive instead accompanied by his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin), a journey of a day. Along their way the people they meet and stops they make, including the doctor’s childhood summer home, lead him to evaluate the man he was and the one he has become. My favorite Bergman film.

    A Woman’s Face (1938)-Ingrid Bergman plays Anna Holm, a woman whose facial disfigurement has led her to become a blackmailer out of bitterness. The ruthless leader of a gang, she has no compassion for anyone until one of her victims turns out to be married to a renowned plastic surgeon giving Anna the opportunity to change her life. However the long tentacles of her former accomplices don’t want to let her go. Solid drama was remade a few years later by MGM with Joan Crawford.

    Sawdust & Tinsel (1953)-As a ragtag circus troupe makes its way through the bleak Swedish countryside conflicts arise between the members of the group. When they arrive in the town where owner Albert’s ex-wife lives he seeks reconciliation leading to bitterness from his present mistress who becomes involved with an actor with designs of his own leading to misery for all. Dark and unsettling but that’s Bergman for you.

    Honorable Mention-Cries & Whispers (1972)-Heavy, heavy Ingmar Bergman drama of recrimination and the acrid damage caused to relationships by long buried resentments. Two sisters gather at their childhood home to await the death of the third desperately ill sister. While they fail to reconnect to each other or their mortally ill sibling their maid seems to be the only person in the house who is capable of offering comfort and empathy. Color is used heavily to convey the oppressive mood of the picture although sometimes too much so, by the end you feel like you’ve been living inside a tomato for ninety minutes. Still an intricate, interesting drama.

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    1. I haven't seen any classic Scandi films - I've not seen any of Ingmar Bergman's films but Ingrid I've seen a couple of hers.

      I've not see or heard of these picks apart from Wild Strawberries. Cries & Whispers sounds good although the colour overload warning might be a bit too much for me. As for Ingmar, I will get round to seeing his films. The one I want to see most is The Seventh Seal.

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  2. I haven't even heard of these films but the first one sounds good and you're right, Zac Ephron would be terrible. The troll movie sounds quite good even though I scare very easily.

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    1. There are some remakes I like, for example TGWTDT was good, but if Zac plays Kinnamin's role, it would be a huge mistake. Don't worry I do too - its not scary, just a bit jumpy.

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  3. I was interested to watch Troll Hunter (and kind of forgotten about it now). Seeing it on your post now reminds me why I wanted to in the first place. Great picks!

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    1. Thank you! Glad I reminded you - its a great film.

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  4. Troll is awesome, haven't seen the other too but Easy Money sounds good and I like Joel Kinnerman as an actor. Also I liked how you picked The Wave, don't expect that to be on too many lists.

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    1. I think Norwegian disaster films could be on the rise :)

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  5. Joel Kinnaman was so bad in Suicide Squad that I'm not sure if I want to see him in anything else lol. I really want to see Troll Hunter though.

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    1. I thought it was quite good - did what he could that kind of role. He's very good in Easy Money :)

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  6. I love watching Zac Efron - I have a crush on him since HSM days - but I agree that he would be terrible for that role.

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    1. Efron doesn't seem to have developed as an actor yet, but I don' think this is the role for him.

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    2. I think he's fine at doing comedies, just haven't seen him in much action/dramatic roles.

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