| More on Swedish films coming up in the next few weeks in the East and West: http://tinyurl.com/y5pnsw5 |

In 2009, Swedish film was awarded 150 prizes around the world, more than ever before, and could be enjoyed at hundreds of film festivals, in movie theaters, on TV and on DVD.
Ten Swedish films participated in the Berlin Film Festival’s official program, making Sweden the Nordic country with most films at the festival ever. Among the films shown were Lucas Moodysson’s “Mammoth” and Fredrik Edfeldt’s debut film “Flickan” (“The Girl”), which was rewarded with two honorable mentions. At the Cannes Film Festival, two Swedish shorts were shown, Johannes Nyholm’s “Drömmar från skogen” and Patrik Eklund’s “Slitage”. It was the second time both directors participated in Cannes. “Slitage” won the Canal+ Award for best short in Cannes, it was also shown at Sundance and the short film festival Clermont-Ferrand. “This is Alaska” by Gunilla Heilborn and Mårten Nilsson participated in two film festivals, Clermont-Ferrand as well as Rotterdam. And of course everybody knows what a triumph “Män som hatar kvinnor” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) has caused all over the world. For a movie listing, see http://dragontattoofilm.com. Four Swedish films were shown at the Venice Film Festival, something that has not happened in over 30 years. Among them were Erik Gandini’s controversial documentary “Videocracy” and Jesper Ganslandt’s much touted “Apan” (“The Ape”). Both these films can also be seen at the Toronto International Film Festival, scheduled to take place September 9-19.
Having at least one Swedish film seen at the leading international film festivals (that means those in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Amsterdam, and Clermont-Ferrand) is one of Svensk Filmindustri’s goals. However, marketing film abroad is a costly affair, and the Swedish Film Institute therefore grants support for those films that have been picked for the important festivals.
For more information on Swedish film: www.sfi.se


Nordstjernan’s own film expert Niclas Goldberg has taken a closer look at two of the most exciting new films to come out of Sweden. Fredrik Edfeldt’s debut “The Girl” (“Flickan” in Swedish), which Goldberg compares to Lasse Hallström’s 1985 masterpiece “My Life as a Dog”and another debut film, “Burrowing (“Man tänker sitt”) from Henrik Hellström and Fredrik Wenzel.

The Girl
Once in a while, a film comes along with a sense of absolute magic and perfect timing. "The Girl" ("Flickan" 2009) is one of the most electrifying films that has come out of Swedish cinema in many decades and joins the same prestige as Lasse Hallström’s "My Life as a Dog" (1985) and Roy Andersson’s "A Swedish Love Story" (1970). At only 9 1/2, our heroine, nameless, red-haired, a pale faced loner, with an intense gaze and a potential sixth sense, is portrayed by the ever present Blanca Engström. The actress manages to bring this interpretation of childhood solitude into spellbinding cinematic pureness. After being told she is too young to travel with her parents and brother to Africa, the girl is left alone with a selfish aunt during the summer. Irresponsibly, the aunt leaves with a man, and our girl proudly takes care of herself - telling no one: the house feels big, the grown ups are weird, the summer landscape is rich – the girl sees more than she really understands.
Shot in Upphärad, Trollhättan and set in 1981, the debut director Fredrik Edfeldt and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema ("Let the Right One In" 2008), captures both the Swedish rural summer mood and a child’s imagination with a camera eye for lyricism, realism and visual details such as Bob’s orange lemonade, tadpoles, crisp bread crackers and a long red hair transformation. Not to mention Abba’s "Voulez-Vous" from a new angle. Their great achievement is to give the film a rapturous quality. Flawlessly keeping you afloat with rhythm and lulling you into a sense of apocalyptic undertones or simply just into a girl’s receptive mind.

Watching "Burrowing" ("Man tänker sitt" 2009) is at once a peculiar yet frightening experience. It is, however, in its own amazing way hallucinating. Inspired by Thoreau, this hypnotic yet haunting Swedish film debut from Henrik Hellström and Fredrik Wenzel follows some outsiders in a villa community closed by a surrounding forest in Swedish Falkenberg.
Accompanied by 11-year old Sebastian, a freckled, not-your-average boy, the film is a non-linear collage of sequences that brilliantly links the characters to nature. Sebastian cannot really understand what is going on in daily life although his insight to life itself is maturely challenging. Jimmy, a young father, is wandering around with his baby, changing diapers at a parking lot and aimlessly walks through the forest. The Pole Micha has lived in Sweden for 30 years catching fish in the brook, while the young man Anders’ insomnia affects his behavior. These people don’t really belong here, or perhaps anywhere – the flawless gardens, hollow “fika”-conversations and other social conventions – their actions are one moment hopeful, the next disturbing and then hopeful yet again. Their sensitive minds suggest leaving carefulness to seek adventure. The amateur actors deliver authentic performances with small gestures, the sacral music adds bliss to the atmosphere. This film about human communication, spiritual intercurrence and social alienation is nailed into the romantic nature tradition of Swedish cinema - dazzling and innovative.