Scandi film festivals brings contemporary Nordic films to Czech cinemas

In addition to film screenings, the Scandinavian film festival includes lectures, discussions, concerts, and exhibitions about current topics.

Ioana Caloianu

Written by Ioana Caloianu Published on 12.01.2023 11:30:00 (updated on 14.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Nordic culture connoisseurs and fans of Scandinavian movies can mark their calendars, as the ninth edition of the Scandi Film Festival, a showcase of contemporary films from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, is coming to Czech cinemas between Jan. 18 and 25. Over 34 cinemas across the country, including Prague's Edison Filmhub and Cinema City Slovanský dům, are taking part in the festival. 

Organizers say the chosen films have been successful at festivals or have been received well by local audiences and film critics. “We select films that are diverse in genre and at the same time stimulate discussion about current social topics,” the festival’s website said. 

Additionally, the films are accompanied by discussions on the position of the individual in society, emerging extremism, and populism, as well as feminism, the environment, and the life of minorities.

A cornucopia of film genres

The opening film of the ninth edition of Scandi in Prague's Lucerna cinema is the historical narrative drama “The Emigrants” by Norwegian directed by Eric Poppe. It looks at a Swedish family searching for a new home in North America. The movie, which deals with timeless topics such as roots, belonging, and protecting children, features Swedish pop sensation Tove Lo. 

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The lineup also includes two Scandinavian horror films. Finnish director Hanna Bergholm's debut “Hatching” sees a 12-year-old girl befriend a creature that hatches from an egg. In the Norwegian film “Possession,” a rural priest decides that a new church should be built on top of an old Sami burial ground, setting in motion an unfortunate chain of events. 

Comedies will also be well-represented at the festival. Some of them, like “Sick of Myself, “ from Norwegian director Kristoffer Borgli, use dark humor to tackle difficult topics like toxic relationships, while others, like “Everybody Hates Johan” from Norwegian director Hallvar Witzø, is a romantic comedy about a loner’s attempt to win over the love of his life. 

The festival will also present science fiction in the form of the Swedish drama “UFO Sweden,“ inspired by an organization of the same name that investigates mysterious phenomena and manages the world’s largest UFO archive – Archives for the Unexplained in Sweden. 

A retrospective of Nicolas Winding Refn will give viewers a chance to see the Danish director’s Pusher trilogy. The first of these, 1996's "Pusher," in addition to being Refn’s debut introduced audiences to one of the most charismatic Scandinavian actors of his generation, Denmark's Mads Mikkelsen.

More than just Bergman or Nordic Noir

Film Europe's creative director Dominik Hronec says that the current edition of the Scandi film festival is “the most balanced vintage we've ever released.” Speaking about the “beauty of Scandinavian film,” Hronec says that it rests upon its “genre and generational democratization.”

“For a long time, it's not just been Bergman, Dogma 95, or Nordic Noir, but a variety of film works that manage to win the heart of the arthouse audience and a slot in the main Cannes competition, Oscar nominations, worldwide distribution, but also show times in multiplexes,” Hronec said in summary. 

The full program is available on the festival's website. Films are typically screened with English subtitles.

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