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From way up north

Maike Müller
Maike Müller

With ’80s music, droll comic-book goblins, and a mom who goes to war, four films from Scandinavia present unusual stories.

From way up north

The Scandinavian films at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN this year are each very different from the other: funny, dramatic, and altogether wonderful. Most dramatic of all is ERNA AT WAR. In this Danish film by Henrik Ruben Genz, a mother assumes a man’s identity and goes to war in order to look after her son at the front. This is an unusual perspective on the turmoil of World War I, starring Trine Dyrholm and Ulrich Thomsen.

TOVE, a Finnish-Swedish co-production by director Zaida Bergroth, looks into the past as well. The film explores the life and times of artist Tove Jansson, whose children’s books about troll creatures called Moomins were popular throughout Europe. But that’s not the only reason her life was fascinating. Bergroth focuses on the artist’s insecurity and her openly lived bisexuality in an irrepressibly creative way.

 

Aha Online 03

A-HA - THE MOVIE

Apestar Online 02

THE APE STAR

Erna I Krig Online 01

ERNA AT WAR

 

Also creative — and animated — is THE APE STAR by director Linda Hambäck, which is being shown at the Kinderfilmfest. Adapted from the award-winning children’s book by Frida Nilsson, this lovingly designed animated film from Sweden is the enchanting tale of an unconventional love shared by two outsiders. A human star is also hidden behind the wonderful animation: actor Stellan Skarsgård lends his voice to one of the characters.

The documentary A-HA – THE MOVIE by directors Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm is anything but sketchy. This German-Norwegian co-production traces the eventful history of the band a-ha. As pop music of the ’80s resounds throughout the open-air cinema, the personal growth of the four musicians is brought into focus. With unparalleled access to the band and using never-before-seen archival footage, this film tells of a legendary rise to fame, of timelessly great music, the dark side of success, and the eternal struggle for friendship.

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