As fall knocks on the door the prestigious New York Film Festival gives the audience the most exciting and inspiring movie highlights of the year. Now in its 56th edition Sweden’s Oscar contender “Border” (“Gräns”) made the cut. There is lots of buzz surrounding it.

The unforgettable “Border” crosses many kinds of borders like no other Swedish film in recent memory. Adapted from a short story by “Let The Right One In” writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, the director Ali Abbasi creates a deeply layered film about love, fear of the other and the mystery of identity.
The focus is on Tina (played by a fantastic Eva Melander), a border agent who uses her invaluable ability to sniff human emotions to catch smugglers. Tina has spent all her life struggling with her looks and “otherness” but when a man confronts her she is forced to meet a new reality.
Filled with nuanced intelligence and calm, “Border” mixes everyday realism with fantastic Nordic folkloric in the most credible way. Not only does it open ideas and discussions about what it means to be a human being, it is so insanely well told, with its beauty and braveness, that if feels like watching the birth of a new kind of storytelling, yet wrapped in a familiar realistic package.

The New York Film Festival also launched highly anticipated films like Alfonso Cuaróns masterpiece “Roma” (which must be seen on a big screen), Pawel Pawlikowski’s beautifully passionate “Cold War,” Yorgos Lanthimos hilarious tragicomedy “The Favourite” and Barry Jenkin’s striking follow up to Oscar winner “Moonlight” titled “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
These films will likely feast on Oscar glory, but the diverse festival also puts a spotlight on a variety of documentaries, the peaks of world cinema, American indies and experimental voices. Many of the highpoints offer intense movie experiences like Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy As Lazzaro”, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Palme D’or winner “Shoplifters”, Jia Zhangke’s “Ash Is The Purest White” and Gan Bis “Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut “Wildlife” and French master Claire Denis sci-fi “High Life” with Robert Pattinson are also worth the attention. Other standouts are the crazy Portuguese satire “Diamantino” and the banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s “3 Faces.”

The festival also celebrates Ingmar Bergman’s legacy. In this year marking the 100th anniversary of Bergman’s birth, German director Margarethe von Trotta pays tribute in “Searching for Ingmar Bergman” - on how he opened up cinema after the war, liberated women on the screen and his enormous influence on filmmaking of today.
Whether or not current filmmakers are inspired by the late Swede, the films screened at The New York Film Festival, with “Border” as a top notch, proves that great filmmaking is alive and kicking.
“Border” opened in theaters on October 26.

Niclas Goldberg