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Contents 4 Feature film The King’s Choice Interview with actors Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen and director Erik Poppe



BIFF Documentary

Film Festivals

14 - Til mĂĽnen med bestefar 16 - Arctic Superstar 22 - The Islands and the Whales 26 - Ambulance

28 - Lithuanian Shorts at the Encounters Film Festival 30 - The Toronto International Film Festival




New Nordic Films


36 - Heartstone 42 - Drone 48 - Autumn Lights 54 - The Giant 60 - Wolf and Sheep 62 - I Love You: A Divorce Comedy 66 - The Reunion 3

70 - Ambulance 72 - Arctic Superstar 74 - Autumn Lights 76 - Flowers of Evil 78 - Heartstone 80 - In the Blood 82 - Love and Fury 84 - Til mĂĽnen med bestefar 86 - The War Show 88 - Wolf and Sheep


The King’s Choice Anders Baasmo Christiansen & Jesper Christensen. Image source:

The King’s Choice Article & interview by Emma Vestrheim


Cinema Scandinavia / The Bergen International Film Festival

Directed by Erik Poppe, The King’s Choice is the biggest film

Anders Baasmo Christiansen, stays with his father as they travel

release in Norway this year. Selected as Norway’s contender

through Norway. Much of The King’s Choice follows this chase,

for the Academy Awards, The King’s Choice is also another in

with the Royal Family and the government travelling first to

a long line of war related films to come from Scandinavia in

Hamar, and then taking residence in Nybergsund and working

the last two years. While at risk of falling into the category of

in nearby Elverum. It was here that the German ambassador to

‘yet another war film’, Poppe’s skillful directing adds a unique

Norway, Carl Bräuer, which The King’s Choice gives almost as

quality to this World War II drama, and the result is a masterful

much screen time as Haakon, travels to speak to Haakon about

retelling of some very dramatic days in Norway’s history.

appointing Quisling prime minister. Bräuer suggested that

Haakon follow the example of the Danish government and his

The German occupation of Norway began on the 9th

of April 1940 after German forces invaded Norway, which had

brother, Christian X, who had surrendered almost immediately

declared itself neutral. Prior to the invasion, Vidkun Quisling,

after the previous days’ invasion, and threatened Norway with

the leader of Norway’s fascist party, had tried to persuade Adolf

harsh reprisals if it did not surrender. Haakon told Bräuer that

Hitler that he would form a government in support of the

he would abdicate before appointing Quisling and rejected the

occupying Germans, but Hitler was unreceptive to Quisling.

deal. Haakon told his cabinet:

However, on the first day of the occupation, Quisling burst into the NRK studios and made a radio broadcast that declared

I am deeply affected by the responsibility laid on me

himself prime minister, something he did on his own initiative.

if the German demand is rejected. The responsibility

This didn’t please the German authorities, who initially wanted

for the calamities that will befall people and country is

the original government to remain in the country. Not knowing

indeed so grave that I dread to take it. It rests with the

anyone better, Hitler supported Quisling and gave the orders

government to decide, but my position is clear.

for the King of Norway, Haakon VII, to declare Quisling the

prime minister. This is the story that The King’s Choice revolves

It would conflict with all that I have considered to be

around: The king’s resistance to this German occupation.

my duty as King of Norway since I came to this country

The King’s Choice primarily follows King Haakon VII,

For my part I cannot accept the German demands.

nearly thirty-five years ago.

played by Jesper Christensen, and the efforts he made to protect his country from occupation. Haakon VII was originally a

The German’s reacted by bombing the village that Haakon was

Danish prince by the name of Carl of Denmark, but he became

occupying. Before the bombing, Haakon and the government

the first King of Norway after the 1905 dissolution with Sweden.

had fled into a forest and were saved from the attacks, though

He quickly won the respect and affection of the Norwegian

the town of Nybergsund was destroyed. They continued further

people, and is today regarded as one of the greatest Norwegians

into the mountains towards Molde on Norway’s west coast, and

of the 20th century for his courage during the German invasion.

then took a British cruiser to Tromsø, where they stayed until

The King’s Choice begins by making it clear that

they were able to evacuate to the United Kingdom on the 7th of

Norway was largely unprepared when the Germans invaded.

June 1940. During Norway’s five years under German control,

The first wave of German attackers were stopped with the

many Norwegians surreptitiously wore clothing or jewellery

Oscarsborg Fortress near Oslo sank the German flagship

made from coins bearing Haakon’s H7 monogram as symbols

Blücher. The sinking of this ship killed over 1,000 soldiers and

of resistance to the German occupation. The King’s monogram

crew, and delayed the Germans. The Royal Family, as well as the

was also painted and otherwise reproduced on various surfaces

government, were able to flee Oslo during this time. The Crown

as a show of resistance to the occupation. The Norwegian Royal

Princess of Norway, Märtha, played by Tuva Novotny, flees with

Family returned on the 7th of June 1945 after the Germans were

her children to her native Sweden, but is not welcomed there.


Many Swede’s felt she had put Sweden’s neutrality in jeopardy,

and some even recommend she accepts the Germans and returns

though there will, of course, be some discussion about the

with her three-year-old son, Prince Harald (the current King

films portrayal of history in the media. Erik Poppe spent years

of Norway), so he could be proclaimed King by the Germans.

researching the history, and his obsession for details shows in

This wasn’t an option for Märtha and she accepts an invitation

the film. Poppe is no stranger to war dramas – his last film being

by President Roosevelt to go to the United States, where she

the English-language A Thousand Times Goodnight – and he

takes up residence in the White House and remains there for

is incredibly careful in how he portrays high tense situations.

much of the war. Her husband, Crown Prince Olav, played by

Originally a press photographer covering local news and

The King’s Choice is incredibly true to the story, even


Article & interviews by Emma Vestrheim Image: The Islands and the Whales (2016)

Documentary at BIFF


Cinema Scandinavia / The Bergen International Film Festival


Norwegian documentary

Til månen med bestefar David Alræk

Having lead a life full of adventure and invention, Kåre has always been an inspiration to his grandson David. Today Kåre lives in a nursing home and due to dementia his memories are fading. His story, however, is far from gone. By editing the old home recordings Kåre made over the last sixty years together with his own footage, Alræk creates a story that spans three generations and documents a life that was lived to its fullest. And even with these memories gone, Kåre’s joy and lust for life remains intact.

Cinema Scandinavia: What made you decide

contracts with the people who are going to appear in the

you wanted to create a documentary about your

movie, so I had to be like “here, family! Sign this!” that’s very


absurd but they were supportive of it. They were the first people to see the documentary, actually. I’ve been showing

David Alræk: This started nine years ago. I talked about the project and the fact I wanted to do it with my family, who were very supportive. They knew this footage and they thought it was great. Also, my grandfather was actually the person who gave me my first camera so I felt like it was a nice connection. It was rather weird getting funding because you have to have


them the footage as I work through it. I also showed it to my grandfather as it’s his footage. He hadn’t seen it in forty-fifty years so he was eager to see it. Has he been involved in the process? Absolutely.

Cinema Scandinavia / The Bergen International Film Festival

You mentioned he gave you your first camera.

decided that ten years ago my grandfather wrote him this long

What is your film-making background?

letter saying that “you cannot be a hairdresser! You’re going to end up gay!”

I went to film school in Lillehammer and got a Bachelor degree in documentary making. I was finished in 2008 and

How long did it take you to go through the

after that I made my first full-length documentary. It aired on

archival footage?

national television, NRK, and after that I started a production company that produced this movie. We’ve done various types of productions; television, documentary, photography and I also like to edit and direct. I’ve been involved in a number of art projects, like stage art. This documentary, Til månen med

There were two different types of archives. There was the 8mm which was actually very fun to see because we didn’t have sound, so we’d put on some classical music and it was very beautiful, poetic even. It didn’t take long to go through those

bestefar, is my second full-length documentary as a director.

film reels – maybe five hours. Then he had these digital CVS

Many audiences take with them a story about the

was so boring because the quality is not very nice to look at.

tapes from the 80’s and 90’s. There were so many tapes and it

effects of Alzheimer’s. Did you do research into the documentary?

Is it easy putting your personal life on screen?

Actually no and that’s an interesting question because this

It’s very personal in a way, but this isn’t my first personal film.

might seem strange but what interests me isn’t the illness or his mental state. I was more interested in his life, and, to me, people may see it differently but this project is not about Alzheimer’s or getting sick but it’s more about a person who took a lot of space in my life and was living a great life, like we all do, but then losing it. That can be cancer, it could be another time of illness, or it could be someone who took space in your life then left you. I was more interested in life and how he lived his life. It’s hard to ignore the illness of course because that’s how life went for him. But this documentary is more a

My first documentary was about how I was raised, which was at the Rudolf Steiner School. My parents had an alternative way of thinking so they sent me to that school. In Sweden today there is a community that lives on the rules of the Steiner philosophy. So it’s very spiritual and religious. I wanted to go and speak to those people who grew up like I did. The two people the documentary follows is very much about them, but it has this close connection to me.

When working on Til månen med bestefar, it

was helpful having an editor who could see it in a different

picture of a great man and the fade out.

way. I became very aware of myself and how I wanted to be

The film really highlights how unique a character

ourselves through others and he was doing this in his own

he was, and it feels as though he was a prominent

way. He’d give my grandmother the camera and come out with

and outspoken member of the family.

no shirt on and show off his muscles. Just like getting a lot of

portrayed. Also a subject I wanted to show is why we portray

likes on Facebook. But overall I really wanted to put myself Absolutely, he took up a lot of space in our lives. He’s been a very funny character doing lots of weird stuff and we laugh at him quite a lot. He had this strange thing about him where

into it. I’ve had a lot of questions about a movie about myself. But in the end I believe it’s a film about my grandfather, and I’m lucky enough to be along for the ride.

he was both rather wealthy and also hated spending money. If we went to the store he would pick up shrimp and hide it in his pockets. He did things in his own way. He was also very clear about what he wanted in life. For example, he really wanted me to have a steady job that could earn a lot of money, attributes that were important for him. He wanted me to be an air traffic controller, or a lawyer. He’d sit me down and tell me “David, you have to stop with this film stuff. You’re never going to succeed. You’re never going to earn money! You’re never going to find a girlfriend, you have to find a real job!” Also my little brother is a hairdresser and then when he

Film details Til månen med bestefar / No English title (unofficial English title is To the Moon with Grandfather) / Written & directed by David Alræk / Produced by Elisabeth Kleppe for Sjau / Local premiere at the Bergen International Film Festival in September 2016. No international release has been announced.

At this years Bergen International Film Festival, David Alræk won the New Talent prize as a director.

Image source: Sjau


Heartstone The new Icelandic film causing waves at international film festivals is Heartstone, is the first feature film from director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. Set in a remote fishing village in Iceland, teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood. Cinema Scandinavia spoke to Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson and producer Anton Máni Svansson about Heartstone.


Cinema Scandinavia / New Nordic Films

Cinema Scandinavia: How did this story come into

onwards the goal was to get this story made, and to be able


to do it properly. So we ended up putting all our energy into two more short films with a coming-of-age theme, to prove

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson: Many years ago when I was in art school I was searching for a story to write, and then I had a dream about my childhood friend who passed away when we were teenagers. It was a very symbolic and beautiful dream and it made me want to look into that period of my life,

to financiers that we were ready to make Heartstone come alive. That plan worked beautifully and we were so fortunate as to have our short film Whale Valley premiere in the Official Competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. After that, everything started rolling and Guðmundur was able to focus

which Heartstone is inspired from.

on developing his story into a shooting script with support

Anton Máni Svansson: When me and Guðmundur started


from national film funds as well as the Cannes Cinéfondation

collaborating on a low budget short film, a long time ago, he presented me with the 1st draft of Heartstone. I was hugely impressed by this amazing 1st draft and from that point


Article by Emma Vestrheim




9.5 9.5 4


9.5 9.5

10 7

Cinema Scandinavia / Reviews

Directed by Simen Braathen Produced by Stig Andersen for Indie Film

Nils Rune Utsi, better known as Slincraze, is a

Slincraze’s sweet mother, and to his entourages on-

hardworking Sami rapper who dreams of one day

camera appearances, the documentary is incredibly

breaking through and making it big. Despite his talent

enjoyable to watch. Director Simen Braathen has made

and ambition, he has everything against him. He

an excellent documentary, based on his research into

comes from a tiny, almost abandoned village outside

how hip hop is used in various cultures. If there is one

Kautokeino, far above the Arctic Circle in Norway,

image you take away from this documentary, it’s the last

and he raps in Sami, a language only 20,000 people

concert when the audience is dressed in traditional Sami

understand. Slincraze is the focus of Arctic Superstar, a

costume and headbanging to Slincraze’s music. We get a

documentary that follows Slincraze’s struggles to break

new and rather refreshing insight into this culture, and it

into the industry and prove that the Sami language is

really is a welcome change to documentary.

unique, interesting, and best heard through rap.

Overall, Arctic Superstar is a downright feel-

good documentary about a man with high ambitions

The history of the Sami people in Norway is

complex. In the twentieth century, the Sami were forced

despite having everything against him. The documentary

assimilation at the hands of the Norwegian government.

shows that in order to get ahead you need courage, and

Sami culture barely survived this period, which in

Slincraze is the embodiment of this courage. A must-see

Norwegian is referred to as Fornorsking.

at film festivals.

Arctic Superstar touches on the political and

socio-cultural issues surrounding the Sami, but this

Previous Screenings

is not the focus of the documentary. Here we follow

19th January - World premiere at the Tromsø

the very talented Slincraze as he tries to make it in the

International Film Festival in Norway

industry, despite having everything against him. He

19th September - Helsinki International Film Festival

appears to be very professional and tough, like most

in Finland

rappers, on stage, but behind the façade hides a man

24th September - Bergen International Film Festival in

who had a difficult childhood with bullies. His friends


are sure to point out that Slincraze began as a way to fight the bullies through music, and now those very bullies are in the front row of his concerts.

What makes Slincraze so likeable is his passion

for the Sami language and culture. Despite the fact most people can’t understand his rap, he’s eager to perform in the language and promote his very special culture. Slincraze tells us that rap is not too far from Joik, the Sami form of song. He is proud of the language and

Upcoming screenings

wants to serve as inspiration for other young Sami.

2nd November - NRK 1 kl. 22:15

Arctic Superstar has a lot of soul, personality,

and is by far one of the best music documentaries to

2nd-6th November - Nordic Film Days Lubeck in Germany

come from Scandinavia. Not only is Slincraze’s music really good (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like rap music), but Slincraze and his posse are likeable and quite funny. From their experiences at a hippy musical festival to the various interviews with


Article by Emma Vestrheim


Iceland / United States of America / France

Feature Film

4 4



10 77

Cinema Scandinavia / Reviews

Directed by Angad Aulakh Produced by Angad, Aulakh, Árni Filippusson, Ashley M. Kent & Guy Kent for Mystery Productions Starring Guy Kent, Marta Gastini & Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson

Surreal, dreamy and obscure, Autumn Lights is an

the narrative is too limited, and instead we spend most

American-Icelandic-French mystery thriller set in the

of those minutes watching the very slow development of

remote Icelandic landscape as an outsider is forced

David and Marie’s relationship. Any side story that could

into a strange world that surrounds jealousy, obsession

have an effective influence on the narrative is only ever

and loneliness. Heavily inspired by the work of Ingmar

mentioned in brief.

Bergman, Autumn Lights sets out to achieve a similar

Overall, Autumn Lights is a surreal and truly

look, creating a heavily stylised chamber drama that

bizarre film of an American in Iceland, both in terms

American director Angad Aulakh has taken from

of narrative and of film theory. Putting the logic to

various art, photography and film influences.

the screen, Aulakh has set out to make a film heavily

inspired by the auteurs he admires, and while Autumn

The story follows David (Guy Kent), an

American photographer adrift in a remote Icelandic

Lights is beautifully surreal, dreamy and obscure, the

community. After discovering a deserted crime scene,

narrative will struggle to keep the attention of audiences.

David is implicated in a local investigation and forced to remain in the area for longer than expected. It is during his time that he crosses paths with Marie, a beautiful and intriguing Italian woman, and her Icelandic husband, Johann. They live in a luxurious contemporary mansion in the middle of nowhere, and hold expensive dinner parties with their equally upper-class friends from Reykjavík, which they mention is around two hours away. David becomes fascinated with this couple and their rather strange lifestyle, and as this fascination intensifies, he slowly finds himself entangled in their mysterious lives.

Autumn Lights is a very beautiful film. The

Icelandic landscape becomes a major character as it traps this group of people between the mountains and forces them to confront and obsess over one another, as there is quite literally no one else there. The world David finds himself in is certainly strange, and this is mostly thanks to the world Aulakh and Kent create. Where Autumn Lights struggles is in the narrative. The crime scene David discovers is sloppily addressed, and it’s seldom mentioned after he is told he has to remain in Iceland. But more importantly, it is his relationship with Marie that forms the majority of the

Upcoming screenings

films narrative. The film is trying to show an outsider

21st October - Los Angeles and New York special

trapped in a strange world, but David’s character is too

cinema screening plus available on-demand

similar to the Europeans he finds himself surrounded by

21st October - Canadian release date

in order to be effective. He too is dreamy, surreal, and in

4th November - Icelandic release date

a way European himself. For a one-hundred-minute film


Cinema Scandinavia issue 16 preview