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Scandinavian Film Festival: Nordic noir, breathtaking dramas and quirky comedies

The Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival spotlights two special presentations: Nordic noir in the form of The Purity of Vengeance and the centrepiece, Iceland’s success story from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, A White White Day from director Hlynur Palmason.

A visually and emotionally arresting cinematic masterpiece, A White White Day lingers long after viewing and is evidence of the talent and emerging strength of Icelandic film directors.

Two serendipitous forces are portrayed with insightful pathos in a story about unconditional love and mysterious splendour.

Bitter former police chief and disgruntled widower, Ingimundur (Ingvar E. Sigurðsson), channels his grief into renovating a house while thrust upon caring for his admiring grand-daughter. Set amidst the isolated beauty of the vast Icelandic landscape, this darkly humorous drama is devoid of Hollywood formula, captivating with experimental narrative structure through the use of quirky jump-cuts and original visceral montage under a music score that is stripped bare and haunting.

Cinematically breath-taking with a focus on the uninhabited landscape – featuring snow, fog and ice – the cool “white” theme is enchanting in its Scandi minimalism of natural beauty. But the sad story continues: after two years having passed from his wife’s fatal accident, Ingimundur discovers the painful realisation that his partner may have been having an affair. His emotional inner-turmoil is charged with anger as he struggles to come to terms with the passing of the great love of his life and his hatred for her deceit.

Another narrative layer is intertwined as the essence of this poignant drama: the delicate relationship between Ingimundur and his free-spirited grand-daughter. She is sweet, affectionate and independent, enjoying the isolated landscape and time she spends away from her family. Finding solace, doting on his favourite family member, we witness a playful, humourous and raw relationship that is inspiring and heartfelt. Ingimundur, however, is in danger of “falling off the rails” as he is forced to face his pent-up grief to face up to his true self. Inner and external beauty are two serendipitous forces portrayed with insightful pathos in a story about unconditional love and mysterious splendour.

A must-see on the big screen; spellbinding and unforgetabble.

Annette McCubbin


The Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival features 21 films from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland; 17 July – 7 August at Palace Cinemas’ Cinema Paradiso (Northbridge) and Luna on SX (Fremantle).

For updates and more information visit www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com.


The Festival Program:

The popularity of modern Scandinavian mysteries that have swept the globe has been led by author Stieg Larsson. To commemorate the man who brought noir to the masses, this edition of the festival will present STIEG LARSSON: THE MAN WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE an insight into the author’s meticulously researched and politically charged archives. The documentary reveals a man who was determined to protect the endangered principles of democracy and freedom at any cost.

In accompaniment, the festival presents a retrospective of the tremendously successful Millennium Trilogy Swedish films: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009), THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009) and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST (2010).

Unmissable highlights included in the festival come from Norway, SONJA – THE WHITE SWAN, Sundance award-winning director Anne Sewitsky reunites with a stunning Ine Marie Wilmann for this engaging portrayal of Norwegian Olympic figure skating champion-turned Hollywood movie star Sonja Henie.

From Sweden – edgy Sci-fi ANIARA is a starkly beautiful piece of cinema wrought with emotion.

From Denmark – rising talent Ulaa Salim’s first feature SONS OF DENMARK (Danmarks sønner) was nominated for best Nordic film at the 2019 Göteborg Film Festival for its compelling prediction for a dangerous future where different forms of extremism collide
From Iceland – the essential and harrowing addiction drama LET ME FALL
From Finland – THE VIOLIN PLAYER (Viulisti) is the impressive directorial debut from award-winning Finnish playwright Paavo Westerberg.

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