Films that give perspectives


Despite the many prizes and critical acclaim, Swedish film does not attract a lot of audience in its home country at the moment. However, in my work of putting together Nordic film programme for a Finnish audience, the Swedish film has a lot to offer. Movies that have barely been featured in cinemas in Sweden are appreciated and perceived as fresh and thought-provoking in the right context.

Here are some tips on Swedish films from the past few years. Each of them provides new perspectives; something that cinema audiences are not often pampered with. These films are small productions and two of them are the first feature films of their respective director. For this reason, the audience may need some extra help to find the films. These are films that touch and leave a mark. They are especially suitable for situations with the possibility of a discussion after the screening.

MEDAN VI LEVER (Dani Koyaté, Sweden 2016)

This is a universal story on a changing identity. What is “home”, when one has lived in several different places? What is “home” for a generation, what is “home” for the next one? In this film, we meet main characters that give us a perspective that we are not so used to seeing in Nordic films. We meet Kandia, an African woman who decides to move back to Gambia after 30 years in Sweden. Her son, born and raised in Sweden, does not share the same longing. He travels to Gambia too, in order to make his mother return home. How will these two people experience their former home country?

The movie won the category “Best movie made by an African abroad” in the renowned African Movie Academy Awards 2017. This is the first Swedish-language film by Dani Koyaté. He lives in Uppsala but is originally from Burkina Faso.

JORDGUBBSLANDET (Wiktor Ericsson, Sweden 2017)

The film tells the story of the 15-year-old Wojtek who has come from Poland to Sweden together with his parents to work as a strawberry picker. Working in a farm, he becomes friends with the farmer’s daughter Anneli. The two start meeting each other in secret, despite of the substantial status difference between the pickers and the locals. The film is a love story, but also a realistic and therefore unpleasant examination of how we interact with each other, and how different starting points and prospects we have. Jordgubbslandet is one of the most acclaimed films of the year in Sweden. It has, among others, been compared to Roy Andersson’s breakthrough film En kärlekshistoria.

AEROBICS – A LOVE STORY (Anders Rune, Sweden 2014)

The film deals with the right to love someone. What are the limits for self-determination? Does physical impairment imply loss of the right to love? Aerobics – A Love Story is a story of Maria and Janne and their love, which is met with questioning and prohibition. Maria is physically impaired and Janne suffers from depression, but together they find love and happiness. However, Maria’s sister is responsible for Maria, and she fears that Maria will be taken advantage of. Therefore, she stops the couple from continuing their relationship. It is hard to know what is right, and what is a violation of the rights of the other person.

WRITTEN BY: Mikaela Westerlund, Executive Director for Walhalla rf, which promotes the Nordic film in Finland; Project Ambassador for the Nordic Culture Fund.

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