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2006/04/15

超人の最新北欧映画紹介

 かつて筆者も尋ねたこともあるNew YorkはuptownにあるScandinavia House社。そのHPで見つけた最新の北欧映画20本。

Recent Films from Scandinavia

Scandinavia House’s popular winter/spring tasting menu of the best and newest of the Scandinavian cinema-smörgåsbord begins this year with a bang. This February, recent Swedish film productions lead the way with auspicious debuts, comedies that scare the living daylights out of you or make you laugh out loud, drama with chilling implications or new possibilities, and docu-drama where the borders between fiction and reality become uncomfortably vague. All are expertly and imaginatively directed and feature the high acting standards we have come to expect from the ever-evolving and highly-regarded Swedish cinema. The series continues through June 2006 with films from Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. Special thanks to the Swedish Film Institute.

Dalecarlians (Masjävlar)Dalecarlians

Wednesday, February 1, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 4, 3 pm

Written and directed by Maria Blom (2004). With Sofia Helin, Kajsa Ernst, and Ann Petrén.

This debut film from a director well known for her considerable successes in the theater is distinguished by fine performances and a strong sense of place—in this case the Swedish province of Dalecarlia. Three sisters who grew up together in a small village meet again to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday. As the celebration gets underway, old conflicts are brought to life, things get out of hand, and pretty soon it’s not only the cat who’s in trouble. 98 min.

Completely Mad (Komplett galen)Completely20mad

Wednesday, February 8, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 11, 3 pm

Directed by Lea Farmlohde (2005). With Görel Crona and Rafael Edholm.

Two actors, a married couple, rehearse Strindberg’s play Miss Julie, and one of them even makes a film about it. Is this method acting in the extreme or complete madness? Totally irreverent and willfully ridiculous, Edholm, who directs the film under a pseudonym and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, takes us on a unique journey from cold slaughterhouses in Stockholm to hot hotel rooms in Spain. "Acting is for real, acting hurts," says Crone in this fictionalized close-up of marriage and work-probably with more than a touch of truth. 90 min.

Harry’s Daughters (Harrys döttrar) Harrys20daughters

Thursday, February 16, 6:30 pm, February 18, 3 pm

Written and directed by Richard Hobert (2005). With Lena Endre, Amanda Ooms, and Jörgen Langhelle.

One of Sweden’s most internationally acclaimed contemporary directors shows his expert hand in this taunt, well-written, claustrophobic drama with psycho-thriller elements. The powerful bond linking two sisters (Endre and Ooms at the peak of their game) starts to unravel when their mutual pregnancies take an unexpected turn: one child dies, and the surviving child seems to become a catalyst for the strange forces that soon engulf them. The relationship between a man, his two daughters, and their husbands change in disturbing and scary ways as their perception of reality is shattered. 106 min.

Illusive Tracks (Skenbart)Illusive20tracks201

Wednesday, February 22, 6:30 pm & Saturday, February 25, 3 pm

Directed by Peter Dalle (2003). With Gustav Hammarsten, Magnus Roosmann, Anna Björk, Gösta Ekman, and Lena Nyman.

A huge success at home in Sweden, this comedy/thriller, expertly directed by Dalle and featuring members of the Swedish acting elite, is subtitled "a film about trains." The black and white film is an exceedingly well-done 1940s pastiche about a writer on a train journey to Germany right after the end of WW II on a mission to help the Germans start over; but first he helps his friends on the train. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry; or be scared out of your wits! 100 min.

Frozen Land (Paha maa)Frozen20land

Wednesday, March 1, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 4, 3 pm

Directed by Aku Louhimies (Finland. 2005). With Mikko Leppilampi, Jasper Pääkkönen, Petteri Summanen, Pamela Tola, and Matleena Kuusniemi. In Finnish with English subtitles. 130 min.

With intersecting stories a la Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, the main narrative follows Tuomas, a young computer hacker who wants to make something of his life and marry his girlfriend Elina, a young student activist. His best friend Niko leads a more hedonistic life in a world of drugs and alcohol. When Niko forges a 500 euro note, a chain reaction of fateful events is set in motion. Episodic and fast-paced, the film’s depiction of contemporary Finnish society is both realistic and dramatically satisfying.

Mosku - The Last of his Kind (Mosku - lajinsa viimeinen)Mosku

Wednesday, March 8, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 11, 3 pm

Directed by Tapio Suominen (Finland, 2003). With Kai Lehtinen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Uula Laakso, Petter Sairanen, Rauno Ahonen, and Kari Lahti. In Finnish with English subtitles. 100 min.

Mosku, a forest vigilante who has learned wilderness survival skills from his father, volunteers to go on patrol when reindeer thefts become alarmingly common in the borderlands between Finland and Russia. With just one rifle and five cartridges he manages to free countless reindeer. As his reputation grows, he meets Mari and they start a life together. But then Rupipää shows up at the inn run by Mosku and Mari. The two men have been enemies since childhood and have had countless showdowns—and now they meet again…

Fata MorganaFatamorgana

Wednesday, March 15, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 18, 3 pm

Directed by Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio. In Finnish and Chukchis with English subtitles. 57 min.

In their matchlessly poetic and beautifully realized style, Lapsui and Lehmuskallio’s new film give voice to the Chukchis, an indigenous people whose livelihood is provided by the sea. The preface to this exquisitely crafted film says: “He stands facing the sunrise. The day is dawning. Every morning the messenger bird pecks a tiny hole in the edge of the vault of heaven, and from the hole dawn seeps through. The bird makes the hole larger, so that the sun can come out from its hiding and light the earth.” Lapsui and Lehmuskallio are especially popular and well regarded by Scandinavia House audiences since they presented their earlier films on the Sámi people there in the spring of 2002, and their new work will not disappoint. (Shown on digital video.)

Gourmet ClubGourmet20club

Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 pm & Saturday, March 25, 3 pm

Directed by Juha Wuolijoki (Finland, 2004). With Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Kari Ketonen, Michael Badalucco, Antti Litja, and Aarno Sulkanen. In Finnish with English subtitles. 65 min.

A very funny comedy about a doctor-played with deadpan bravura by Björkman-who belongs to a small, exclusive dinner club. Five wealthy upper-class men take turns providing the main course, wagering as to who can identify a mystery exotic ingredient. The doctor gets a bit desperate when a gambling habit catches up with him, but, never short of ideas, he resolves to use a truly shocking mystery ingredient to fool his colleagues and get the till. When the mystery meal has a surprising and powerful effect on the members, he gets more than he bargained for. (Shown on digital video.)

All films are courtesy of The Finnish Film Foundation except Gourmet Club, for which we thank Snapper Films.

Villa ParanoiaVillaparanoia_foto_rolf_konow

Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 1, 3 pm

Written and directed by Erik Clausen (Denmark, 2004). With Sonja Richter, Frits Helmuth, Erik Clausen, and Sidse Babett Knudsen. In Danish with English subtitles. 106 min.

A satire, psychological drama, and comedy rolled into one. Anna, a young unemployed actress, makes ends meet by looking after Valentin, the elderly father of Jørgen, a businessman she meets while acting in a commercial. Valentin’s mental faculties appear to be declining, but when Jørgen gets a little too eager to settle his father’s estate, it turns out that Valentin isn’t quite as feeble as he and the hospital staff thought. Soon Anna needs all her acting skills to find out what Valentin is hiding. This terrifically entertaining story reflects on life today in Denmark, which the director calls “a land of material wealth and mental poverty.”

Accused (Anklaget)Anklaget_foto_ole_kragh_jacobsen
Wednesday, April 5, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 8, 3 pm

Directed by Jacob Thuesen (Denmark, 2005). With Troels Lyby, Sofie Gråbøl, Paw Henriksen, Louise Mieritz, and Ditte Gråbøl. In Danish with English subtitles. 103 min.

Jacob Thuesen’s extremely strong feature film debut is distinguished by unforgettable performances by the three lead characters: a father, mother, and daughter. This devastating drama was written with keen psychological insight and hair-raising dramatic truth by the prolific Kim Fupz Aakeson. The life of a likeable family man and swimming teacher suddenly takes a dramatic turn when one day he is arrested and charged with a serious crime. As his whole world falls apart, only his wife stands by him. Thuesen also directed the award-winning 1996 documentary Under New York and is a renowned film editor.

Young Andersen (Unge Andersen)Andersen2

Wednesday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. & Saturday, April 15, 3 pm

Directed by Rumle Hammerich (Denmark, 2005). With Simon Dahl Thaulow, Henning Jensen, Lars Brygman, Puk Scharbau, Per Oscarsson. In Danish with English subtitles. 110 min.

Award-winning director Rumle Hammerich’s powerful film tells the story of an encounter that fundamentally transforms the life of the young poet H.C. Andersen. A modern narrative set in a historical framework, it is the story of a crucial encounter between the vulnerable 18-year-old Andersen, full of hope and ambition, and Mr. Meisling, a cynical school principal. This is the contribution of Nordisk Film and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation to the international celebration in 2005 of the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth

OvercomingOvercoming

Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 p.m. & Saturday 22, 3 pm

Directed by Tómas Gislason. With appearances by Bjarne Riis, Ivan Basso, and Sastre Peron. In Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, with English subtitles. 106 min.

This is a fast-paced, heart-stopping real-life drama that provides profound and penetrating insights into the hermetically sealed world of professional cycling. The film follows former professional rider and Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis and his new Team CSC as they strive for the impossible: to become the world's best and win the Tour de France. A tour-de-force documentary by Gislason, who has previously worked as an editor for Lars von Trier.

With grateful thanks to The Danish Film Institute.

UnoUno_5

Wednesday, April 26, 6:30 pm & Saturday, April 29, 3 pm

Co-directed by Aksel Hennie and John Andreas Andersen (Norway, 2004). Written by Aksel Hennie. With Aksel Hennie, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Floberg, and Liv Bernhoft Osa. In Norwegian with English subtitles. 103 min.

Uno reveals the seedy underside of Oslo as it examines one young man’s confrontation with the warring aspects of his own life. David has few prospects for his future as he navigates a life spent hanging around with pretty criminals at an inner city gym and cares for his terminally ill father and mentally handicapped brother. When a crisis arrives, David has to decide what is most important to him, and if he can take a chance and rebuild his life. Writer and co-director Hennie, who also delivers a sterling performance as David (one of several strong performances in the film), has created an affecting vision of an unexpected urban landscape. Special thanks to TLC Releasing.

My Jealous Barber (Min Misunnelige Frisor)
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 6, 3 pm

Directed by Annette Sjursen (Norway, 2004). With Gard Eidsvold, Bjørn Sundquist, Hildgunn Riise. In Norwegian with English subtitles. 90 min.

Sjursen’s subtle and affecting debut feature—co-written with Lars Saabye Christensen and based on his popular novel—is a low-key, compassionate comedy. Bent is a young man who takes comfort in routine and stability: he never misses work, always has his hair cut at the same hairdresser across the street, and brings dinner to his elderly father every day. When Susie, an aroma-therapist with bad short-term memory, moves into the neighborhood, his stable and predictable life is completely uprooted. Bent reluctantly becomes fascinated and decides to make some changes in his life.

Too Much Norway (Alt for Norge)Prins20harald201939

Wednesday, May 10, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 13, 3 pm

Directed by Rune Denstad Langlo and Sigve Endresen (Norway, 2005). In Norwegian with English subtitles. 90 min.

Marking the centennial of Norway’s independence as a country in 2005, this astonishing and humorous film look at what it means to be Norwegian. Illustrator, causeur, artist, writer, and humorist Odd Børretzen leads a guided tour through the brief history following the dissolution of the union in 1905. Using terrific archival footage and revelatory commentary, the film provides an image of the “typical Norwegian” character navigating modern challenges with great seriousness and observes the small nation’s attempts to win power and glory by conquering ever more masses of snow and ice. What will it mean to be Norwegian 100 years from now? How do we regard ourselves, and how do others regard us?

Import / ExportForside

Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 20, 3 pm

Written and directed by Khalid Hussain. With Talat Hussain, Iram Haq, Bjørnar Listher Teigen, and Assad Siddique. In Norwegian and Urdu with English subtitles. 100 min.

The first authentic film from the Pakistani community in Oslo, this is a warm and generous comedy exploring cultural differences. Jan, a 25-year old Norwegian and aspiring rock musician, is in love with Jasmin, a Pakistani-Norwegian woman who is perfect for him in every way, except for the fact that she is engaged to another man. Her parents have promised Jasmin in marriage to a cousin on his way over from Pakistan. While Jasmin loves Jan too, she believes in the customs of her culture and will only marry someone of her family's choosing. The wedding is imminent, and all seems hopeless. But Jan loves Jasmin and is determined to win her by becoming the man of her family’s dreams. The multi-talented Khalid Hussain became well-known in Norway when he wrote the book Paki at age 16.

Africa UnitedAfrica20united

Wednesday, May 24, 6:30 pm & Saturday, May 27, 3 pm

Directed by Olaf Johannesson (Iceland, 2005). In Icelandic with English subtitles.
93 min.

This lively documentary tells the upbeat story of Zico, a man with a dream. He came to Iceland from Morocco ten years ago to seek his fortune but is now bankrupt, desperate, and depressed. He decides to bring life to an amateur soccer team called “Africa United” and recruits immigrants from all over Iceland. Players originally from Morocco, Nigeria, Columbia, Serbia, Kosovo, Gambia, and Guinea gather to help realize Zico’s ambition to take the team into semi-professional play. The film takes us on an enchanted journey of ambition and aspiration with a soccer-crazy coach and his no less colorful ensemble of players. This film is presented in Danish with English subtitles. Courtesy of Bavaria Film.

Dark Horse (Voksne Mennesker)Dark20horse

Wednesday, May 31, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 3, 3 pm

Directed by Dagur Kári (Iceland/Denmark, 2004). With Jakob Cedergren, Tilly Scott Pedersen, and Nicolas Bro. In Danish with English subtitles. 109 min.

A winning tale about a loser, his friend, and the girl they both love. The story is the oldest in the movies, the style elegantly modern and deadpan a la early Jim Jarmush, and the performances delightful. Carefree, lazy Daniel occupies himself painting grafitti and getting fined. “Morfar” (Grandpa), his best and only friend, is an overweight, delusional would-be soccer referee who works in a sleep clinic. When they meet the equally kooky Franc, the question is if any of these childlike dreamers can grow up and change enough to live up to (some of) the demands of contemporary life. The winner of many awards at festivals since its Cannes debut, Dagur Kari’s follow up to his much-lauded Albino Noi does not disappoint.

Eleven Men Out (Strákarnir Okkar)1120men20out201

Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 10, 3 pm

Directed by Róbert I. Douglas (Iceland, 2005). With Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir, and Arnaldur Ernst. In Icelandic with English subtitles. 85 min.

In this compassionate but lighthearted comedy/drama, the main character “comes out” in the first scene to a local newspaper covering his soccer team’s poor performance. Finally, there is some news! This news might help press coverage, but now he must contend with the reactions of his team mates, his father (the coach), his son, his ex-wife, the world—and they are not amused. Soon he, the former star player, is benched at most matches, so he calls it quits and joins a small amateur team made up of men like himself. What happens when a team of gay guys tries to play soccer in the straight world of Icelandic fishing culture machismo is beyond hilarious as well as meaningful and emotionally satisfying.

Screaming Masterpiece (Gargandi Snilld)Screaming

Wednesday, June 14, 6:30 pm & Saturday, June 17, 3 pm
Written and directed by Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon. With Björk, Sigur Rós, and Múm.
In Icelandic and English with English subtitles. 87 min.

Subtitled “1000 Years of Icelandic Popular Music,” this rock documentary is indeed music history as it attempts to answer the question “Why is Icelandic music so HOT”? This powerhouse film captures the energy of the hottest indie music scene on the planet in Iceland’s cool capital Reykjavík, but it also journeys through the country’s breathtaking landscape and back centuries to Viking times in search of its roots. Throbbing with musical energy and fast-moving images, it features masterful performances from Iceland’s international superstars while also providing an insider look at a multitude of fabulous bands in the local clubs. Courtesy of Katapult.

With grateful thanks for the kind cooperation of The Icelandic Film Centre.

All films are subtitled in English.

Film Tickets: $8 ($6 ASF members).ASF members may make phone reservations by calling (212) 847-9746. Non-members may purchase tickets in person at Scandinavia House before screenings or up to one week in advance of screenings (Monday - Saturday, 12-6 pm).

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