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Martin Scorsese Honors Scandinavian Cinema in Marrakech

Nicolas Winding Refn, Mads Mickelsen and Noomi Rapace were part of the delegation on hand in Marrakech

Nicolas Winding Refn (“Only God Forgives”),  Mads Mikkelsen (“The Hunt”), Noomi Rapace (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”), Lisa Langseth (“Hotell”), Susanne Bier (“In A Better World”), Tobias Lindholm (“A Hijacking”) and Baltasar Kormakur (“The Deep”)  were among the star-packed delegation of Scandi helmers, thesps and producers to hit the Marrakech film festival’s center stage for a tribute hosted by jury president Martin Scorsese.

“I’m genuinely honored to be introducing this tribute to Scandinavian film because in essence, when you’re talking about Scandinavian cinema, you’re talking about the richest veins of cinema all the way back to its beginning,” Scorsese said. “Ingmar Bergman for me is one of the pioneers of cinema; he’s one of the filmmakers around of the world who showed us a way to a new kind of cinema, one that explores emotions and ideas and inspired a whole new generation of filmmakers in many ways,” said Scorsese, also mentioning Victor Sjostrom and Carl Theodor Dreyer as founding fathers of cinema.

Refn, who gave a master class today, received the award given to Scandinavian cinema from the hands of Scorsese and said that “ironically, we’re five different countries who speak five different languages, but when it comes to cinema we have one voice.”

“The essence of Swedish cinema stems from its singular tone and literature,” said Patrik Andersson, producer at B-Reel, a leading Stockholm-based producer whose credits include “Hotell” and the upcoming Wild Bunch-repped thriller “Gentlemen and Gangsters.” “It’s a tone that can be both stark, authentic and very humane, so when international producers want to shoot a murder mystery they often envision it taking place in Sweden.”

Langseth and her producer Frida Jonason at B-Reel provided Marrakech auds with the highlight of the evening when they shared a kiss onstage. After the ceremony, Langseth and Jonason told Variety that kissing in front of the cameras while knowing the ceremony was being broadcast on Morroco’s most-watched TV channel was a “political act” to protest the recent arrest of a boy and a girl who posted a picture of themselves on Facebook. The two teens are now facing two years in jail for violating public decency.

Film commission officials from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland — which play a key role in nurturing local talent and finance homegrown fare — were also on hand at the festival’s ceremony.

Headed by Melita Toscan du Plantier and co-organized by artistic director Bruno Barde, the Marrakech Film Festival screened more than 40 Scandinavian films as part of the tribute.

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