By Rica Arevalo
Scandinavian cinema is becoming a global cultural brand. In the early 1910s, Denmark was the first country to gain prominence in film production and distribution. Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland followed suit. These Nordic countries prioritize the movie workers’ welfare such as giving state subsidies, forming national film institutes, and providing regulations that would benefit their film workers. Respected filmmakers Ingmar Bergman or Carl Theodor Dreyer were the leading pioneers of this alliance.
To get a taste of contemporary films from this region, a big welcome is the Scandinavian Film Festival that will take place from April 28 to May 3 at the SM Lanang Premier, Davao City and at the FDCP’s Cinematheque Davao, organized by the Embassy of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
Among the titles are Darling (2017), Winter Brothers (2017), and The Two of Us (2018).
Every “star” has her rise and fall and how she faces the greatest trials makes her succeed or fail in life. World-class ballerina Darling (Danica Curcic) goes back with her choreographer-husband Frans (Gustaf Skarsgård) to Copenhagen to play Giselle in the Royal Danish Ballet. At first, all is sweet between the two lovebirds. But when Darling gets a hip injury, eventually damaging her ego, her insecurities go overboard.
A new, promising talent but inexperienced Giselle is selected—played by Astrid Grarup Elbo who is in her first film debut as Polly and in real life, also a member of the Royal Danish Ballet.
In some scenes, he plays with his rifle while watching a British training video, making us wonder if he will just snap and massacre people.
She trains Polly but destroys her physically and emotionally. Her husband becomes cold and tries to leave her. Darling pleads, “I’m the one who’s broken.” It is not love at first sight for us to like Darling but the film’s open ending makes us understand her roller coaster life.
The Winter Brothers is helmed by Icelandic filmmaker Hlynur Palmason. What is the feeling of isolation and being unloved? Emil (Elliott Crosset Hove) works in a limestone mine with his brother, Johan (Simon Sears). He is fascinated with Anna (Victoria Carmen Sonne) who he stalks and steals her underwear. The chilly dark workplace calls for booze which Emil concocts and supplies his co-workers. One worker gets hospitalized and everyone blames him for the near-death situation. He gets stoned and even jobless when it was discovered that he stole chemicals from his workplace.
In some scenes, he plays with his rifle while watching a British training video, making us wonder if he will just snap and massacre people. His brawl with his brother will also make one conclude there is an impending tragedy. Palmason does not spoon feed his audience, letting us experience Emil’s loneliness alongside a baffling storyline. The Winter Brothers won the Bodil Award for Best Danish Film.
The documentary The Two of Us, directed by Emil Næsby Hansen, is something to look forward to. Shot in Copenhagen, it follows Skjold, 17, and Isabel, 18, in a celebration of youth, love, beauty, and the choices one makes to let your heart grow.
The two friends have no labels yet they are each other’s first love. Hansen saw the two in Instagram. He hung out with them for six months before filming their on-and-off relationship. The ins and outs of a teenage relationship is what we see in this raw, contradictory, 62-minute documentary.
Indeed, love is rough, experiencing joy and pain are in the same intense level as the two teenagers unravel their relationship. The two broke up but are still together, realizing that they aren’t so good at breaking up. Will they move on? After The Two of Us, we all move on.