Norwegian Film Festival Celebrates Local Pics in Global Mix

With a program of 75 films from 25 countries, the 44th Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund, which opened Aug. 20, is now filling the cinemas in the West Norwegian town (the Edda multiplex, the Festiviteten and the Maritim Theatre) with a selection that festivalgoers have dubbed the “Nordic Cannes.” The festival is also screening films that were launched on the Côte d’Azur: Woody Allen’s  “Café Society,” Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta,” Cristi Puiu’s “Sieranevada,” Hirokazu Koreeda’s “After the Storm,” Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things to Come,” and Italian director Stefano Sollima’s “Suburra.”

“I am particularly pleased with the three Norwegian entries in the main competition – Norwegian directors Vibeke Idsøe’s “The Lion Woman,” Benjamin Ree’s documentary “Magnus,” and Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken’s “Cave” — and also with the films in the Nordic Focus,” said festival and program director Tonje Hardersen. Swedish actress-turned-director Pernilla August will be here with her second feature, “A Serious Game” (“Den allvarsamme liken”), adapted from Swedish author Hjalmar Söderberg’s 1912 novel, and Danish actress Sofie Gråbøl will present Danish director Jesper W. Nielsen’s “The Day Will Come” (“Der kommer en dag”), where she stars with Lars Mikkelsen. “I am also looking forward to seeing again my Cannes favorite this year, German director Maren Ade’s ‘Toni Erdmann,’ but we also showing English-language productions such Stephen Frears’ ‘Florence Foster Jenkins,’ with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in the leads, and new genre films, lilke Colm McCarthy’s ‘The Girl with All the Gifts,’ ”she said.

“I think this is the most varied festival program Haugesund has had for years,” added assistant program director Martin Øsmundset. “I am especially excited about the selection of strong genre pictures, which could almost make up a special sidebar.” Among those are S. Craig Zahler’s “Bone Tomahawk,” a cannibal Western, “The Girl with All the Gifts” is a fresh twist on the zombie genre, and Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Swiss Army Man” is a desert island movie about a hopeless man who is stranded gets a new zest for life when he befriends a dead body.

Besides the Nordic Focus – which also includes Danish director Bo Mikkelsen’s thriller “Sorgenfri” (“What We Become”), Finnish director Tiina Lymi’s “Off the Map” (“Äkkilähtö”), Icelandic director Óskar Jónasson’s “In Front of Others” (“Fyrir framan annad folk”), “Swedish director Måns Månsson’s “The Yard” (“Yarden”) – the festival is screening four French features in the French Touch, such as Xavier Giannoli’s “Marguerite” (which is loosely based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins) and Anne Fontaine’s “Agnus Dei”  (“Les Innocentes”).

Two films have been selected for Culinary Cinema screenings – which are followed by a special dinner at the Scandic Maritim Hotel: German director Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen,” and Michael Winterbottom’s “The Trip to Italy.”

Pictured above: “A Serious Game”

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