TIFF.22: Nordic cinema in focus | TIFF

TIFF.22: Nordic cinema in focus

18.05.2023 16:59

This year's Transilvania IFF.22 film list (June 9 - 18, Cluj-Napoca) will feature an impressive selection of Nordic cinema, produced under the aegis of Scandinavian Films, thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership between Transilvania IFF and the film institutes and embassies of the five countries in the region: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

The selection also includes a carte blanche offered to the Gothenburg International Film Festival that offered an extra recommendation for ten of the titles in the list.

Sweden: Dogborn (d. Isabella Carbonell, 2022) and Hypermoon (d. Mia Engberg, 2023).

Denmark: Apolonia, Apolonia (d. Lea Glob, 2022) and Empire (d. Frederikke Aspöck, 2023).

Finland: Four Little Adults (d. Selma Vilhunen, 2023) and Compartment 6 (d. Juho Kuosmanen, 2021).

Norway: Let the River Flow (d. Ole Giaever, 2023) and Munch (d. Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, 2023).

Iceland: Driving Mum (d. Hilmar Oddsson, 2022) and A Letter from Helga (d. Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, 2022)

Three debuts from Sweden make it to this year’s Transilvania IFF. Dogborn is the story of two brothers who are constrained to take up jobs that put their morals to the test. Premiering in Venice, the feature film will generate debates, but also the discovery of the acting talent of a local rap singer, here in her first role. The documentary-collage And the King Said What a Fantastic Machine (d. Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck) is an exhilarating foray into the history of the film camera, already awarded at Sundance and Berlin, and the hybrid documentary 100 Seasons (d. Giovanni Bucchieri, 2023) will also compete in the What's Up, Doc? competition. Not to be missed is Hypermoon, the poetic and personal documentary from an already established director who is not afraid to question herself in front of the camera, and the icing on the cake is director Ruben Ostlund's latest film Triangle of Sadness (2022), winner of the last year’s Palme d'Or.

Denmark brings to TIFF impactful documentaries, comedies, and genre films. Apolonia, Apolonia, winner of the IDFA Grand Prix, took 13 years in the making and paints a portrait of the fascinating artist Apolonia Sokol, turning it all the way into a wonderful declaration of love for creators of all kinds. At the opposite end of the genre, but similar in boldness and clutter of colour, Empire, a stylised period film, tells a story set in the heart of a Danish Indian colony. In the comedy department, the debut The Cake Dinasty (d. Christian Lollike, 2022), also in the official competition, takes humour to dangerous heights, while Mothers and Fathers (d. Paprika Steen, 2022) takes a caustically playful look at a group of parents actively involved in raising their children. Also featuring parents, this time stuck in a double reality that multiplies them and forces them to make tough decisions, is the debut Superposition (d. Karoline Lyngbye, 2023).

From Norway you can see Munch, the film that opened the Rotterdam Film Festival, a dizzying puzzle of four stories in four time-spaces with four different actors playing the famous painter. Let the River Flow, the big winner at the Gothenburg Festival, is the true story of a demonstration that started around a river and ended with a well-deserved peace for the Sami people. From Cannes 2022 there is Sick of Myself (d. Kristoffer Borgli, 2022), "a satire of terrible people doing awful things" (The Guardian). Add to that two dreamlike debuts, one in a stylish apartment and the streets of a small Norwegian town - A Human Position (d. Anders Emblem, 2022), and the other in a young woman's restless subconscious - Sister, What Grows Where Land is Sick? (d. Franciska Eliassen, 2022).

Iceland is represented by Driving Mum, the story of a taciturn man, his recently deceased mother and one of the most talented dog actors on a road trip peppered with dark humour, and A Letter from Helga, a touching love story set in the Icelandic fjords in the 1940s, which was multi-awarded by the Icelandic Film Academy. Northern Comfort (d. Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson, 2023), the anxious airplane adventure, opens this year's festival, and Mannvirki (2023), also part of the Smart7 section, is a fascinating experimental documentary about man's relationship with nature through the eyes of artist and director Gustav Geir Bollason.

Finland brings to TIFF Compartment 6, a film that has won over 20 awards at festivals around the world (including Cannes, Gothenburg, Jerusalem, and Sao Paolo), a story of a train journey through Russia, how you get to know a country through its people and how valuable friendships can come about in the most unexpected places. Four Little Adults, which won Best Actress at the Gothenburg Film Festival, is a new age comedy of manners about adults trying polyamory and that ends up taking all of their time. Rounding out the selection are Hit Big (d. Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää, 2022), the hard-drinking tale of a botched robbery; My Sailor, My Love (2022), the latest title from director Klaus Härö, who once again delivers a drama that will move you to tears; and the kaurismakian debut Family Time (d. Tia Kouvo), competing in the international competition.

Classic and cult films couldn’t be missing from this Nordic feast either. From Sweden, we'll revisit The Phantom Carriage (r. Victor Sjöström, 1921), screened as a cine-concert. From Denmark comes Lars von Trier's absolute debut, his graduation piece from the National Film School: Images of Liberation (1982), a drama set during World War II. The horror, emblematic of Norwegian cinema, Lake of the Dead (Kåre Bergstrøm, 1958) tells the story of a 100-year-old murder whose echoes reverberate to this day. Iceland is present with Murder Story (d. Reynir Oddson, 1977), a bizarre cult film that is bunuelian to the core, and Finland with the shocking naturalist masterpiece The Earth is a Sinful Song (d. Rauni Mollberg, 1973), in a remastered version. 

The Nordic focus also extends into related sections. In the Coming up Next section, the audience will be able to enjoy the final season of the Danish horror The Kingdom Exodus, directed by Lars von Trier, in its entirety; the first two episodes of the Icelandic miniseries Blackport (dir. Gísli Örn Gardarsson, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Nina Dögg Filippusdóttir), a comedy about fishing and politics inspired by real events; and all four episodes of the Norwegian dystopian satire The Architect (d. Kerren Lumer-Klabbers).

The EducaTIFF programme includes the Danish animation Rosa and the Stone Troll (d. Karla Holmbäck, 2023), the Finnish comedy The Hullabaloos! (d. Reetta Huhtanen, 2022), and the Norwegian teen film Dancing Queen (d. Aurora Gossé, 2023), the story of a girl who enters a dance contest to win a boy.


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Transilvania International Film Festival is organized by the Association for the Promotion of Romanian Cinema and the Association Transilvania Film Festival.