Rolling off a strong year for Scandinavian filmmaking, the virtual 44rd edition of the Goteborg Film Festival will kick off with Zaida Bergroth’s “Tove,” which will compete alongside Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” and Ninja Thyberg’s “Pleasure,” among other Nordic pics.
Telling the story of one of Finland’s most beloved and inspiring artists, “Tove” broke box office records in Finland last year in spite of the pandemic, and now ranks as the highest grossing Swedish-language Finnish film in the last 40 years.
“Tove,” which is also Finland’s Oscar candidate, will be one of the seven films vying for the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film. The lineup comprises “Another Round,” one of the most prominent titles in Cannes 2020’s official selection, and “Pleasure,” which is set to world premiere at Sundance, as well as Ronnie Sandahl’s “Tigers,” Lisa Jespersen’s “Persona Non Grata,” Itonje Søimer Guttormsen’s “Gritt” and Magnus von Horn’s “Sweat.”
Goteborg will close with the European premiere of Frida Kempff’s “Knocking,” a nerve-wrecking psychological drama.
Ruben Östlund, the Palme d’Or winning helmer of “The Square,” who ranks as one of Europe’s most celebrated auteurs, will receive the 2021 Nordic Honorary Dragon Award. Östlund, whose upcoming film “Triangle of Sadness” is expected to unspool at a festival later this year, will give a masterclass on Feb. 4 as part of the tribute.
Running online from Jan. 29 to Feb. 8, this year’s unusual edition will show a total of 70 films from 39 countries.
“In such a special year we are truly grateful that filmmakers and right holders trusted us to shine a spotlight on their movies,” said Jonas Holmberg, Goteborg festival’s programmer. “We’re eager to show these films and our mission will be to create an event for each film, as well as some excitement,” added Holmberg.
“With theaters closed and so few films released, it’s important for us at Goteborg to stir some joy and engage audiences, which is why we’ll do daily podcasts with filmmakers and conferences, among other initiatives,” said the artistic director. Holmberg said he and his team were able to follow a flurry of virtual festivals and they got a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t work, so they designed Goteborg’s program accordingly.
Each film will have a screening with a fixed slot, with four new premieres per day. “We have a small program so we want to make sure we properly highlight each film,” said Holmberg.
“In a normal year, we present a vast program of 350 films to give a panorama of films around the world. This year, it’s impossible to have the same depth, but we managed to put together a really strong lineup,” said Holmberg, who added that 47% of films in the program are directed by women.
The international competition, meanwhile, includes “Beginning” by Dea Kulumbegashvili, “Never Gonna Snow Again” by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert, “Night of the Kings” by Philippe Lacôte, “Quo Vadis, Aida?” by Jasmila Žbanić, “Slalom” by Charlène Favier, and “The Macaluso Sisters” by Emma Dante.
The Ingmar Bergman competition for best first film comprises “Gagarine” by Jérémy Trouilh and Fanny Liatard, “Liborio” by Nino Martínez Sosa, “Mama” by Li Dongmei, “Limbo” by Ben Sharrock, “The Last Bath” by David Bonneville, and “The Salt in Our Waters” by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit.
The Nordic documentary competition includes “A Song Called Hate” by Anna Hildur, “Aalto” by Virpi Suutari, “Be My Voice” by Nahid Persson, “Flee” by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, “Into the Fog” by Maciej Kalymon,” and “Radiograph of a Family” by Firouzeh Khosrovani.