Australia's Scandinavian Film Festival Is Marking Ten Years of Showcasing Nordic Cinema with a Packed 2024 Lineup

Spend winter watching movies from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, including a retrospective dedicated to Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 24, 2024

A decade ago, Australia's film festival circuit caught a winter chill. Thanks to both the Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival, the country's cooler months were already a prime time for checking out cinema's latest and greatest from around the world, but the Scandinavian Film Festival levelled up the idea. Do you feel welcomely frostier if you're watching flicks set in and hailing from icy climes while the weather is cold? At this excuse to head to the pictures, yes, yes you do.

Focusing on movies from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the Scandinavian Film Festival has spent the past ten years highlighting both the region's big names and its emerging talents. In 2024, cinemagoers are in for the same format; however, every film fest fan knows that no two iterations of any film fest are ever exactly the same. When it tours the nation between Wednesday, July 17–Wednesday, August 14, this year's event has everything from straight-from-Cannes newcomers to a retrospective dedicated to two of the area's biggest icons on its lineup — plus a span of genres from historical dramas and romances to detective tales and sci-fi epics.

Making stops in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, and Byron Bay and Ballina, the festival will kick off with The Riot, which relives an IRL battle by miners in the second-largest workplace in Norway against dangerous conditions at the start of 20th century. Still on period-set tales, Stormskerry Maja is the Scandinavian Film Fest's centrepiece flick, with the Finnish movie about a peasant woman married off to a fisherman bringing the book series by Anni Blomqvist to the screen.

Also making the leap from the page to cinemas is Boundless, the latest in Denmark's Department Q franchise, which is no stranger to this festival thanks to past entries The Keeper of Lost Causes, The Absent One and Conspiracy of Faith. From Everest, Adrift and Beast filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, there's also Iceland's Touch, a romantic drama that adapts the novel of the same name, and hops across continents and decades.

Elsewhere, When the Light Breaks similarly hails from Iceland — hitting Australia direct from opening Cannes' Un Certain Regard, in fact — alongside thrillers Cold and Natatorium. From Sweden, 2004's King's Game gets a sequel in Kingmaker, Hammarskjöld — Fight for Peace spins a true Cold War tale and Hunters on a White Field heads off on a weekend away in a forest. And Norway's contribution also spans closing night's Songs of Earth, a documentary about the country's wilderness that boasts Wim Wenders (Perfect Days) as an executive producer.

The feast of Danish cinema includes Nordic noir Sons starring Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen as a prison guard, the Trine Dyrholm (Mary & George)-led Birthday Girl and the World War II-set Before It Ends with Pilou Asbæk (Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom). Or, there's also sci-fi Eternal, about a climate change scientist and a singer falling in love when a fissure splits the ocean floor — and The Promise, about a woman in her car trying to save her nephew's life.

2024's Scandinavian Film Festival's retrospective spotlight is shining on the great Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman, heroing their collaborations, which means screening Autumn Sonata, Persona, the OG Scenes From a Marriage (not the recent American remake) and Cries and Whispers. The fest is also looking backwards with a 35th-anniversary session of Leningrad Cowboys Go America from Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki (Fallen Leaves).

Scandinavian Film Festival 2024 Dates:

Wednesday, July 17–Wednesday, August 7 — Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Adelaide
Thursday, July 18–Wednesday, August 7 — Palace James St and Palace Barracks, Brisbane
Friday, July 19–Wednesday, August 7 — Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Penny Lane, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema and The Astor Theatre, Melbourne
Wednesday, July 24–Wednesday, August 14 — Palace Norton St, Palace Moore Park, Palace Central and Chauvel Cinema, Sydney
Thursday, July 25–Wednesday, August 14 — Palace Electric, Canberra
Thursday, July 25–Wednesday, August 14 — Luna Leederville, Luna on SX and Palace Raine Square, Perth
Friday, July 26–Wednesday, August 14 — Palace Byron Bay and Ballina Fair Cinemas, Byron Bay and Ballina

The Scandinavian Film Festival tours Australia in July and August 2024. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the festival's website.

Published on June 24, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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