Scandinavian cinema has always had a steady presence in UK cinemas, be it through the films of Ingmar Bergman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or recent hits like Let The Right One In and In A Better World. Starting on Monday, London hosts its second Nordic Film Festival, designed to celebrate independent Scandinavian cinema.
The festival opens with a short noir animation series, Odboy and Erordog Suite, about a boy and his dog. Its retro computer game animation married to nightmare visuals look intriguing even before factoring in that it will be soundtracked live by The Pearls Before Swine Experience quartet. The screening will be following by a gala opening party attended by director Marcus Fjellström. On the more mainstream end of the spectrum is Per Hanefjord’s The Hidden Child, another in a long line of taut Scandi-crime adaptations, this time from a novel by Camilla Läckberg in which a woman, following her mother’s death, discovers some dark family secrets waiting to come back and haunt her.
Those looking for older gems of Scandinavian cinema need look no further than the melancholy 101 Reykjavic, or early Nicholas Winding Refn’s early film, Bleeder, where a husband finds his violent urges rise to the surface after his wife falls pregnant and featuring an early appearance from Mads Mikkelsen.
For an area so well-known for its musical output, it will come as no surprise that there’s a large musical component to this year’s festival. The Valtari Mystery Film Experience is a result of Sigur Rós’ challenge for filmmakers to create a visual response to their album, Valtari. A series of shorts from a number of esteemed filmmakers, including Ramin Bahrani and John Cameron Mitchell should prove more than enticing to fans of both the band and independent cinema.