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Underdog (Svenskjävel): Scandinavian Film Festival - Film Review

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by Jen (subscribe)
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A human drama that touches on themes of class & immigration
Underdog, swedish movie, movie review, film review, scandinavian film festival, palace cinemas, Bianca Kronlöf!
Image © Anagram Film, Cinenic Film, Fixafilm, Hummelfilm & Storyline Studios

Svenskjävel (Underdog) actually means Swedish Bastard. Thought I'd look it up and that's the translation according to Google. This 97 minute long Swedish/Norwegian film with English subtitles is one of the Scandinavian Film Festival's special events. Starring Swedish-Finnish actress and comedian Bianca Kronlöf, along with 2 other main characters Henrik Rafaelsen and Mona Kristiansen, it will screen at the Palace Cinema Como on Friday 10 July at 6.30pm followed by a Q&A session with lead actress Bianca Kronlöf herself. General admission prices apply. It will screen 3 more times on Sunday 12 Jul 2:15pm, Tuesday 14 Jul 1:30pm and Saturday 25 Jul 6:30pm



With newbie director Ronnie Sandahl at the helm, this drama has won 'Best New Director' at the Chicago Film Festival in 2014 and the Critic's award for 'Best Film Debut' at the Zurich Film Festival also in 2014.

With barely enough to survive financially and living in shared accommodation, 23 year old Dino dreams of a different life. She sits week after week at an employment office that does not seem to be much help.



Having fled the mass unemployment of her home country in the hope of a better life in Oslo, she finally gets sent to help out in the restaurant of an ex sportsman. She is however of no use to him as her hand is in a cast. Noticing how well she connects with his little girl, she lands a job as a housekeeper in his home where he lives with 2 daughters while his wife works away in Africa.

Playing easily with his young daughter, Dino also forms an easy connection with Steffen's teenage daughter, Ida, who is going through body and food issues. A shy misfit, she is fascinated by Dino and looks to her as a role model. Dino's easy manner makes it easy for Ida to open up to her.



In a reality far from her own, these few sultry summer weeks sees Dino in an odd love triangle, an unpredictable struggle for affection as well as dominance. This film puts a personal slant on the shifted power between Sweden and Norway where the Swedes have become the underdog of the Norwegians. This is clearly demonstrated in conversation when Dino is invited to a dinner Steffaen is having with his friends.

Underdog, swedish movie, movie review, film review, scandinavian film festival, palace cinemas, Bianca Kronlöf!
Palace Cinema Como Media Launch. An introduction to the film & festival; the food; the guests and film critic, film journalist and radio broadcaster Peter Krausz in profile


Though engaging, this is a very slow moving film with a lot of ponderous moments. Dino at times was a little too passive for me. If you're not really aware of the political undertones about the see-sawing power balance between Scandinavia's 2 biggest economies at the time, it's probably not something that will be immediately apparent. It's subtly woven into this tender human drama which has more than one underdog in this emotionally engaging love triangle. It's a 7 out of 10 for me.

Underdog, swedish movie, movie review, film review, scandinavian film festival, palace cinemas, Bianca Kronlöf!
Swedish-Finnish actress and comedian Bianca Kronlöf will be in Melbourne for a Q&A session after the film has screened at the Palace Cinema Como


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*Jen was invited as a guest
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Why? Part of the Scandinavian Film Festival screening at the Palace Cinemas in Como and Brighton
When: Scandinavian Film Festival runs from 9 to 26 July 2015
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