Top Nordic region pix at Cannes

Adam’s Apples
Original title: Adams æbler
Country: Denmark
Production: M & M Productions
Sales: Nordisk Film International Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: A bizarre comedy about Adam, a neo-Nazi doing community service under the supervision of a priest. Instructed to bake a pie using fruit from the church’s apple tree, he is thwarted by birds, worms and lightning strikes. Adam thinks they’re acts of God; the priest is not so sure.
Director Anders Thomas Jensen, whose writing credits include international hits “Mifune” and “Open Hearts,” assembles three of Denmark’s best-known actors — Ulrich Thomsen from “Festen” plus the “Green Butchers” pair of Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (the latter also starred in Cannes Camera d’Or winner “Reconstruction”) — for the kind of off-beat Nordic tale that often travels.

Dark Horse
Original title: Voksne mennesker
Country: Denmark
Production: Nimbus Film Productions
Sales: Trust Film Sales
Cannes: Un Certain Regard
Synopsis: Daniel is a graffiti artist in Copenhagen who makes his living spraying declarations of love onto the capital’s walls. Always one step ahead of the law, he leads a carefree life — until he falls in love with Fran … This is the long-awaited second film from Icelandic director Dagur Kari, who scored a festival and arthouse hit two years ago with “Noi albinoi.” The outsider theme gets a reprise, but this time the setting is not rural Iceland but urban Denmark.

Factotum
Country: Norway
Production: Bulbul Film, Stark Sales
Sales: Celluloid Dreams
Cannes: Directors Fortnight
Synopsis: Adapted from a semiautobiographical story by Charles Bukowski, the story of a guy whose dead-end job has only one purpose: to provide him with enough money to drink, gamble, screw and write stories no one wants to publish.
Bent Hamer’s “Kitchen Stories” was the hit of Directors Fortnight in 2003. Since then, he and New Yorker Jim Stark — who produced Jim Jarmusch’s early films — have been developing this Bukowski-based project. Starring Matt Dillon, the film had its world premiere on the opening night of the new Trondheim festival last month.

Fourteen Sucks
Original title: Fjorten suger
Country: Sweden
Production: Sorgenfri Entertainment, Film i Skaene
Sales: NonStop Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: No Nordic lineup would be complete without at least one children’s film. This one, aimed at the 14-plus demo crowd, is about teenage Emma who mixes with the wrong crowd but finally finds first love. Unveiled internationally in the “teens-and-young-adults” section of the Berlin Children’s Film Festival sidebar, this film — which boasts four directors — is a natural for Europe’s burgeoning specialist teen market. It opened in Sweden at the end of October and was a solid performer up to Christmas.

Frozen Land
Original title: Paha maa
Country: Finland
Production: Solar Films
Sales: Birch Tree Entertainment
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: A tale of disaffected youth focusing on a computer hacker who wants to change the world and a dropout who forges a 500-euro note.
Director Aku Louhimies made quite an impression on the Finnish scene with his first two movies, “Restless” (2001) and “Lovers & Leavers” (2002). New film, which is more episodic than straightforwardly narrative, has been sweeping up prizes at Nordic festivals and opened at No. 1 on the Finnish charts in January.

The Leap
Original title: Springet
Country: Denmark
Production: Dagmar Film, SF Film
Sales: SF Film
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: Told by doctors he is dying, 42-year-old Tobias struggles with the news while at the same time remembering when he was 13 and his girlfriend persuaded him to jump off the balcony of her father’s house.
Veteran director Henning Carlsen has made only a dozen movies since “Hunger,” which won a best actor award at Cannes in 1966. Renowned for his handling of big issues, Carlsen discovers a streak of dark humor in the biggest issue of all: death.

Manderlay
Country: Denmark
Production: Zentropa Entertainments13
Sales: Trust Film Sales
Cannes: In Competition
Synopsis: We pick up the story of Grace after her experiences in Dogville — the town and the movie — as she and her father head south out of the Rockies and into Alabama, where they witness the horrors and injustices of slavery. Undaunted by his failure to get Nicole Kidman to reprise her role, Cannes regular Lars von Trier has kept Kidman’s character, but cast “Village” star Bryce Dallas Howard. Isaach De Bankole, Willem Dafoe and Danny Glover also star in a tale unlikely to appeal to those who accused “Dogville” of being anti-American.

Le Regard
Country: Norway
Production: Filmhuset Produksjoner
Sales: Filmhuset Produksjoner
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: An elderly photographer is confronted with his brutal past as he prepares a retrospective, and we flash back 50 years to when he worked for the French Army in Morocco. This is one the Norwegians are talking up on their Croisette terrace: a first feature by Moroccan-born Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, who has lived in Norway for the past 20 years. Film opened locally in March to good reviews but disappointing B.O. in the pipeline

Allegro
(working title)
Country: Denmark
Production: Alphaville Pictures
Sales: Celluloid Dreams
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: Returning to his native Copenhagen with an unusual case of amnesia, concert pianist Zetterstrom is led into a mysterious “zone” in the middle of the city and forced to confront his past. Possibly the most eagerly awaited Nordic follow-up of the year, “Allegro” is director Christoffer Boe’s first film since “Reconstruction,” which won him the Camera d’Or at Cannes two years ago. “Allegro” promises to be every bit as stylish and disconcerting, with echoes of the Godard movie after which the director and his partner have named their production company.

High School Teacher Pedersen
Original title: Gymnaslærer Pedersen
Country: Norway
Production: Motlys
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: A drama set in the Norway of the 1960s, when Marxism/ Leninism was all the rage … Still in pre-production, this is the new film by Hans Petter Moland, who had a hit on the arthouse circuit a few years back with “Aberdeen” and made a strong impression in the Berlin competition last year with the English-language Vietnamese diaspora epic “Beautiful Country.”

I’m the Angel of Death
Original title: Pusher III
Country: Denmark
Production: NWR Productions
Sales: Nordisk Film International Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: A black comedy in the best European tradition, in which Serbian drug lord Milo has simultaneously to prepare his daughter’s wedding, fight off a rival Albanian gang and show his face at all the requisite Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Sequels are a lot rarer in Europe than in Hollywood, so all the more reason to welcome the third in Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylish series of crime dramas. This is the director’s first Danish film since his North American debut last year with “Fear X.”

A Little Trip to Heaven
Country: Iceland
Production: Blueeyes Productions, Little Trip
Sales: Katapult Film Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: Holt (Forest Whitaker), an insurance investigator from the big city, finds himself in a small town investigating the mysterious death of a con artist who somehow had a million-dollar life insurance policy.
New film from Baltasar Kormakur, who first made a name for himself five years ago with “101 Reykjavik,” is an English-language take on the old story of a stranger turning over some small-town rocks to see what lies beneath. The movie — produced by Sigurjon Sighvatsson, one of the principals of former LA indie powerhouse Propaganda Films — was originally expected to be ready for Cannes.

Mother of Mine
Original title: Aaideistae parhain
Country: Finland
Production: MRP Matila Roehr Productions
Sales: Nordisk Film International Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: When Eero’s father is killed in the early days of WWII, his mother sends him to live in neutral Sweden. Set to work as a farmhand, Eero finds it hard to adjust but eventually becomes part of the family. Then, when the war ends, he is sent “home” again … This is the second feature by Klaus Haeroe, whose first film, “Elina” — Finland’s 2003 Oscar nominee and a multiple award winner on the children’s film circuit — told of another young Finnish child adrift in a Swedish-speaking community. Due for release at home Sept. 30.

Zozo
Country: Sweden
Production: Memfis Film
Sales: Trust Film Sales
Cannes: Market
Synopsis: Swedish director Josef Fares delves deeper into his Lebanese family background to explore the story of a young man whose life is turned upside down when he suddenly has to leave Beirut for the unknown shores of Sweden. This is the new film from Lukas Moodysson protege Josef Fares, whose “Jalla! Jalla!” was successful on the arthouse circuit, and whose follow-up “Kops” was a hit back home. Produced, as usual, by Memfis’ Anna Anthony and due out in Sweden in September.

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