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Entries in Scandinavia (79)

Thursday
Sep282017

NYFF: Norway's Oscar Submission "Thelma"

by Jason Adams

Sometimes a critic can't help but interject him or herself into a review, and Joaquim Trier's Thelma is one of those times for me. Thelma tells the story of a young woman from a cripplingly religious family who goes off to college and starts having epileptic seizures that coincide with an awakening of same-sex longings. Meanwhile I'm the homosexual son of an epileptic and was raised in a speak-in-tongues Pentecostal church. Needless to say I felt Thelma, you guys.

So much that it's hard to divorce myself critically to see the forest for the dead birds dropping down among the trees. Trier gets so many precise details so right that I know from my own specific, particular life experience - the warm waves of excitement and guilt at discovering drink and swear-words when you first leave home; the way an epileptic seizure can be a sudden horrific tearing open of reality itself's seams -  that I'm more than willing to go along with anything he does, even when it is sometimes a hint too austere for its own good.

It's hard to say something that features a woman deep-throating a python - but you know, in a sexy way - remains austere, but Trier manages. He is Norwegian, after all. Thelma is an ice pond of a film floating over fiery little volcanic eruptions - like its protagonist (an exquisitely conflicted Eili Harboe) Thelma is Fire & Ice, Passion & Repression, a Freudian phantasmagoria strapped into a cool silk blouse.

Thursday
Sep142017

TIFF: Glenn Close is "The Wife"

our ongoing adventures at TIFF. An abdriged version of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad.

Film festivals nearly always provide curious dialogues between films that you weren't expecting. On the same day on the exact same screen at TIFF I managed to see two films about female writers and the male writers in their lives who take up all the oxygen (and praise) in the room. Who would have thought that a film about the origins of Frankenstein (just discussed) and a star vehicle for Glenn Close in Stockholm would have so much in common? 

THE WIFE (Björn Runge)
Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) is a longsuffering wife who would bristle at that very description. She's married to a famous novelist Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) and their homophonic names are no coincidence. The silver-haired couple have been together for nearly half a century and are inseparable if not quite interchangeable...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug032017

More TIFF Lineups: Midnight Madness and Platform

Another day another festival announcement. TIFF keeps adding to the festival. Even though they've reduced the number of films this year it's still SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM IN EACH SECTION. Herewith the Midnight Madness and Platform choices. Let us know which ones you're most curious about!

Gael García Bernal in the French film "If You Saw His Heart"

PLATFORM
This section of 12 films, which tends to focus on directors in early stages of their careers, is actually juried (though TIFF isn't known for awards really outside of "People's Choice" which tends to have a strong correlation to eventual Best Picture nominations at the Oscars).

“Platform is the place to look for the distinct stamp of today's most interesting directors as they establish their reputations.
- -Cameron Bailey, TIFF's artistic director

The three-person jjury for 2017's Platform are directors Chen Kaige (China), Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland) and Wim Wenders (Germany)

Beast (UK) A troubled woman becomes involved with a suspected killer in this debut from Michael Pearce [WORLD PREMIERE]
Brad's Status (US) Screenwriter Mike White returns to the director's chair for this story about a man (Ben Stiller) comparing himself unfavorably to friends while touring colleges with his teenage son [WORLD PREMIERE]...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May202017

Cannes Days 2-4: "Wonderstruck" and More

by Nathaniel R

One of our all time favorite movie couples reunited: Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes

After the fiasco of that opening press conference and the typical "underwhelmed" response to the opening night film, happier news. The first full day of screenings brought us news of Todd Haynes Wonderstruck which reunites one of the world's greatest auteurs with his earliest muse Julianne Moore, and other reportedly fine films. Read on for more!

Click to read more ...

Friday
May192017

Posterized: Thomas Vinterberg

By Nathaniel R

Vinterberg at the Oscars in 2014When we were first were introduced (not literally) to writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, who turns 48 today (Gratulerer med dagen!), in 1998 we thought "he ought to be in pictures!".

⇱ Just look at that mug!

The Dane auteur IS in pictures, at least spiritually, since he still makes Danish pictures inbetween his English language films and some of them are clearly pulled from his soul. His new film The Commune is a fictional story but the director did grow up in a commune watching the adults struggle with their decisions (The Commune has a key teenage character who is very observant).

So with that film in theaters in select cities and also on VOD (you can stream it for a price on Amazon) let's look back at his career to date via movie posters.

He's made nine features. How many have you seen? 

Click to read more ...

Friday
May192017

Thomas Vinterberg returns with "The Commune"

This review originally ran in September 2016 from the Toronto International Film Festival. With the film finally in theaters in select cities starting today (and available to rent on Amazon), we didn't want you to miss it...

Thomas Vinterberg first came to fame with the Dogme 95 masterpiece The Celebration (1998) which was an international success reaping Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Foreign Film. Oscar famously snubbed it during their long stretch of controversial years in the 90s and 00s where they regularly ignored major critical darlings eventually prompting reforms to the selection process in the late Aughts. Vinterberg was eventually nominated with another international success The Hunt (2012) and after his English language sleeper success Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) it's safe to say he's on quite a roll currently. 

For years people had suggested to Vinterberg that he make a film about commune life since he had grown up in one as a child in the 70s...

Click to read more ...