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Scandinavian Film Festival 2021

Australia's annual showcase of Nordic cinema returns to Sydney with a lineup of films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
By Sarah Ward
November 16, 2021
By Sarah Ward
November 16, 2021

Normally when the middle of the year hits — when Australia's weather is at its frostiest, aptly — the annual Scandinavian Film Festival rolls into cinemas around the country. In Sydney, that timing coincided with lengthy lockdowns, so the fest is bringing back its Nordic noir-heavy lineup for another spin before the year is out.

Kicking off on Tuesday, November 23 and running through until Wednesday, December 16, the returning showcase of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway cinema launches with a must-see new entry in the Scandi-noir genre. Hailing from Denmark, opening night's Wildland stars Sidse Babette Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) as the head of a family crime syndicate. She's charged with looking after her teenage niece and, in a movie that instantly brings Australia's own Animal Kingdom to mind, the latter soon learns more about the family business.

Also on this year's Scandinavian Film Festival lineup: Knudsen again in Copenhagen-set psychological thriller The Exception; masterful and engaging Norwegian film Disco, about an evangelical dance champion who finds her faith tested; and surreal mother-daughter drama Psychosis in Stockholm. Or, for fans of Nordic cinema's big names, relationship drama Hope co-stars Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl), musical comedy A Piece of My Heart sees Swedish-born actor Malin Akerman (Rampage) back on home turf, and The County hails from Icelandic filmmaker Grímur Hákonarson — who directed Rams, which was remade in Australia last year.

Other highlights include Icelandic box office hits Agnes Joy and The Last Fishing Trip, the latter of which has been compared to The Hangover; Finnish biopics Helene and Tove, about painter Helene Schjerfbeck and visual artist and author Tove Jansson, respectively; and Tigers, which tells the true tale of former Inter Milan player Martin Bengtsson. Or, there's also Diana's Wedding, which isn't actually about that Diana — plus closing night's 50th anniversary-screening of The Emigrants starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann.

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