Scandinavian Film Festival

Whether you're after the latest 'Department Q' mystery or a documentary about the Norwegian wilderness, this film festival has something for you.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 24, 2024


Do you feel frostier if you're watching flicks set in and hailing from icy climes while the weather is cold? Brisbanites can head to Australia's Scandinavian Film Festival to find out. Focusing on movies from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, this fest 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 festival fan knows that no two iterations of any film festival are ever exactly the same.

Hitting Palace James St and Palace Barracks between Thursday, July 18–Wednesday, August 7, this year's Scandinavian Film Festival 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. The fest is kicking 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 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).


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