Top picks for the Scandinavian Film Festival 2105

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The Scandinavian Film Festival is on this weekend and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek. Here are a couple of recommendations.

Scandinavian film festival Here is Harold
Scandinavian film festival Here is Harold

Underdog

The film I saw last week was called Underdog. It’s a slow paced human drama depiction of life centred on Dino (Bianca Kronlof), a 23 year old Swedish immigrant struggling to find work. After continually drawing a blank at the Employment Centre she overhears a wealthy ex-sportsman struggling to find time to pick up his youngest daughter … an opportunity ensues.

candinavian Film Festival Underdog
Scandinavian Film Festival Underdog

The desperate ex-sportsman overlooks Dino’s bedraggled appearance and takes her up on the offer. Dino soon finds herself helping out around the house, getting close to the two young girls in the family, and even getting invited to social functions, all while the ex-sportsmans wife is working overseas. Life seems good for Dino, she may even be able to move out of her hedonistic sharehouse, until one day the wife returns and Dino receives a letter that could change her life.

Underdog touches on class, the balance of power between Sweden and Norway, dominance and second chances. For me it was a bit predictable in some parts, however there was an interesting ending which left me pondering about …

  1. How you never know who may be watching on from behind the scenes. Who may step up to lend you a hand or pay it forward.
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  3. If you had to give up everything and move on who would you give your most prized possession to? Would it be someone everyone expects or someone else?

I’m really looking forward to Here is Harold.

Billed as a comedy about Harold, a 40 year old furniture shop owner whose livelihood is threatened when an IKEA store opens next door. When he loses his business, his home and his wife’s health starts to deteriorate it’s the last straw. He heads off to kidnap the founder of IKEA. From what I’ve seen it will be a hilarious David and Goliath story where the head of IKEA may be quite happy to be kidnapped.

Scandinavian Film Festival Here Is Harold
Scandinavian Film Festival Here Is Harold

At the other extreme is The Absent One a gritty story billed as a ‘noir mystery’ which sounds about right from the short I saw. If you survived The Keeper of Lost Causes in the 2014 Festival you’ll want to see this one. It’s the second adaptation of the Danish Department Q novels. I did enjoy the previous film but warn you that it probably wont be for the faint hearted.

Scandinavian Film Festival The Absent One
Scandinavian Film Festival The Absent One

The film focuses on Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his partner Assad (Fares Fares, who received the Danish Oscar for his performance).

They manage the cold-case division of the Copenhagen police department. The burb says ‘ after a desperate appeal to Morck about the unsolved killing of his own teenage children, an ex-cop commits suicide. This leads the detective pair on a twisted mission to discover what really happened in the 1990s at one of the country’s poshest boarding schools’.

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Two others that look interesting are Out of Nature and The Grump (especially since it reminds me of last year’s brilliant 100 year Old Man) but if I watched them all I’d be spending the whole weekend ensconced in a small dark space, and the last time I did that I was a month out from being born.

For more information go to Scandinavian Film Festival. The festival runs at Luna until the 29th.

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