on the 2019 Scandinavian Film Festival

The Scandinavian Film Festival is hitting Palace Cinemas screens once again, bringing a taste of Nordic (more than noir) to Aussie cinema screens.


We sat down with it's festival spokesperson, Emma Vestrheim, to talk about the festival, Scandinavian film, and much more. 


Jacob: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship with the Scandinavian Film Festival.

Emma: I am originally from Melbourne, but am currently living in Norway, to pursue my interest in Scandinavian Film. I was writing for my website Cinema Scandinavia, and that’s sort of how the Scandinavian Film Festival heard about me and they asked if I could talk about all the films. I also teach at the University of Oslo about Scandinavian film, and so the relationship with the Festival is a logical one. 

Jacob: What do you think makes Scandinavian Film so different?

Emma: What makes Scandinavian film different is the way they make their films, because all Scandinavian films are funded by the Government. In order to receive this funding they both have to, of course, sell tickets and they have to reflect the culture of the region. So you always find these films blend popular genres (quiet Americanised) with Scandinavian art films, so you get Nordic noir like the Millennium trilogy where they used the crime drama to talk about real issues in Sweden at the moment. They're also not afraid to critique themselves, which I think is quiet unique.

Jacob: What excites you about this year's Scandinavian Film Festival program that Palace Cinemas is running?

Emma: Well every year the Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival always shows a really good overview of what’s been happening over here in the last 12 months. You don’t just get those typical skin-diving art films or crime series that we used to, but you also get a variety of genres, so its varied.

Jacob: Are there any films that you think are pertinent political topics at the moment?

Emma: One of the emerging genres would be science fiction. We haven’t seen much science fiction from Scandinavia but in the last two years they have started using the genre and they use the genre to highlight issues related to the environment or climate change.

Jacob: There’s also a bit of a focus on the program this year on the Millennium trilogy and on the documentary about the author. What sort of context do you think being able to see that documentary provides to that trilogy?

Emma: Well I think it’s really important because I think everyone’s either seen a version of the Millennium films or read one the books and it sort of breaks down Sweden as this utopian society and reveals the fact that Sweden can be quiet corrupt; its not as equal as it would like to imagine. This comes from the author Stieg Larsson, who wasn’t just a book writer but was also an investigative journalist and he researched, in particular, the resurgence of the extreme right wing in Sweden and throughout Europe. So he used his journalism to help write his books and if you have that background of his life you can see the Millennium trilogy in a whole new context.

Jacob: What is the one thing you would like people to take away from coming to the festival, or that you hope that they take away?


Emma: I hope it would be that, from this tiny little region that maybe some people may not be able to locate on a map, there is this amazing dedication to the film industry and that they care about the films they make and how they are portrayed abroad.

The Scandinavian Film Festival is playing at Palace Cinemas in July and August.

For more information, and to explore the rest of the amazing Scandinavian Film Festival Program, click the banner below.

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