Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Fine films from our friends in the north
The success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo started a world-wide craze for Scandinavian crime fiction which continues to escalate. TV shows such as The Killing and The Bridge have become international hits, the books of Jo Nesbo and Jussi Adler-Olsen are constantly atop the best sellers list, and films like Headhunters and Easy Money have become cult favourites. Given Australlia's appetite for film festivals in general, it's only natural that we should now have our own Scandinavian Film Festival.
Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares in The Keeper of Lost Causes
The inaugural festival is about to kick off around the country at the home of all good film festivals, Palace Cinemas. I personally am delirious that the film adaptation of Adler-Olsen's The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first in his celebrated Department Q series, is among the titles on offer.
The story centres on jaded detective Carl Morck who has been relegated to a basement at Copenhagen police headquarters, where he's given a folder full of long neglected unsolved cases to keep him out of harm's way. He's provided with an unskilled assistant in the form of Syrian immigrant Hafez El-Assad. Assad's attentiveness and eagerness to please more than compensate for Morck's glaring inadequacies. Together they are the classic odd-couple, with their clashing of cultures and personalities proving a comedic goldmine amidst the grim police procedurals.
The book has been adapted to the screen by Nikolaj Arcel, who also adapted The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, further raising hopes that this will replicate that film's success. Last year in Denmark The Keeper of Lost Causes was the highest grossing movie of the year, beating all the Hollywood blockbusters.
Reputedly the funniest man in Sweden, Robert Gustafsson stars in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
It's not all about crime though. The festival will open with the Swedish blockbuster The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, an absurdist comedy based on the hugely successful international bestselling novel by Jonas Jonasson. It centres on the farcical antics of Allan Karlsson (played by popular Swedish actor/comedian Robert Gustafsson), a 100-year-old man with an eventful past. The film has made over 20 million dollars in Sweden, a phenomenal achievement.
Also on offer is I Am Yours, a complex drama about a Pakistani-Norwegian woman's struggle to launch a career as an actress while maintaining joint custody of her child. It stars Amrita Acharia from Game of Thrones and Ola Rapace (ex-husband of Noomi Rapace).
Ola Rapace and Amrita Acharia in I Am Yours
If, like Martin Scorsese, you're a fan of Easy Money, you'll be pleased to know that all three films in the trilogy will screen at the festival. Joel Kinnaman, who has gone on to star in the U.S. version of The Killing, and played Robocop in the latest reboot, features prominently throughout the trilogy.
All up it promises to be an eclectic and highly entertaining slate from our friends in the north. You can see the full line-up of films at the festival's official website.