EPISODE 529: SCANDINAVIAN MOVIES, SORT OF

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13 Responses

  1. Juhani Kenttä says:

    David, you have at least one Finnish listener who’s been with you since 2007. Now, as far as Finnish cinema goes, I’m sad to say a huge bulk of it is very uneventful but you should definitely check out the recent The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki. I’d imagine a lot of my other favorites are pretty hard to find in your neck of the woods, save for Kaurismäki. Maybe one day I’ll send you guys some stuff.

  2. Stein says:

    Norwegian listener. Two comments.

    Firstly one of the reasons Norwegian cinema is not as prolific or known as our neighbors is our much briefer history of being part of the bigger international scene. Sweden and Denmark has been gaining international acclaim since the days of Victor Sjöström and Carl Theodor Drejer. Norway entered the stage in the mid to late 1990s. If you want to familiarize yourself with some Norwegian cinema I recommend the films of Joachim Trier, Erik Poppe, Bent Hammer and Hans Petter Moland. All of whom has also made Hollywood films, but far less hacky than our exports Tyldum and the Pirates 5 duo.

    Secondly; Liv Ullmann is Norwegian. Please stop perpetuating her Swedishness. They have Bergman, please let us keep Ullmann. We need her.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Now that I know Liv Ullmann is Norwegian, I will tell people that every chance I get.

      I’ve seen Louder Than Bombs and thought it was okay. I’ve only heard of some of the works by those other guys but I’ll check them out!

      – David

    • aaron says:

      I came here to mention Joachim Trier, as well. I am a big fan of Oslo, August 31st.

    • Alexander Miller says:

      Liv Ullmann directed some of Bergman’s scripts that were Faithless and Private Confessions, that might account for the Swedish confusion. Another offshoot from Bergman is Best Intentions, a biographical story on Ingmar’s parents, (like Fanny and Alexander, Face to Face, Scenes From a Marriage was released in a longer cut for tv) was directed by the Scandinavian Billie August who’s done some great stuff.

  3. Yonah Paley says:

    David. Good episode. I quite enjoyed the discussion of Scandinavian filmmakers.

    However, I was quite surprised that there was no mention of Victor Sjostrom, grandfather of Swedish cinema, and huge influence on Ingmar Bergman. Have you seen The Phantom Carriage? I highly recommend it.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! Between this and Alex writing about The Wind in his Criterion Prediction column, I need to put this director on my to-do list.

      – David

  4. FictionIsntReal says:

    I’ve only seen the original Swedish version of Let the Right One In, but I found this video essay interesting, as it argues the remake is the opposite of the original while also being nearly identical:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoIJzsyTxJg
    The director’s complaint was not that they were the same, but that his version was already good, and he thinks the only reason to remake something is if the original falls short somehow.

    I’ve only seen the English remake of Funny Games, and feel no need to watch it again or the supposedly shot-for-shot identical original, even though I would not have the same view of Gus van Sant’s Psycho.

  5. Ray (@RaySquirrel) says:

    After listening to this podcast I just had to listen to some Korprikaani.

    Their a folk metal band from Finland. They write a lot of songs about drinking.

    https://youtu.be/bc0sJvtKrRM

  6. Ari Gunnar Thorsteinsson says:

    Hi there!

    Icelandic listener living in Sweden – been listening since 2007.

    So – this was a weird listen!

    Iceland was a a very poor country until the post WWII years when the Marhsall Plan actually benefitted Iceland enormously. Iceland was also able to use Denmark’s weak position during WWII to gain independence. So the Icelandic cinema history is quite short, compared to Sweden and Denmark. Regular film production didn’t start until the early eighties. I think that the notable aspect of Baltasar Kormákur’s career is his continued work within the Icelandic industry. Between Contraband and 2 Guns he made the Icelandic feature ‘The Deep’, and after Everest he directed and starred in the thriller ‘The Oath’. So he hasn’t become a total Hollywood hack like Morten Tyldum.

    Other notable Icelandic films would include the works of Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, who had a great run in the 90s early 2000s with Children of Nature (got a nomination for best Foreign Language Film), Cold Fever (included supporting roles by Fisher Stevens and Lili Taylor) and Angels of the Universe; Dagur Kári who directed Nói the Albino and Virgin Mountain (which won the main prize at Tribeca in 2013); Of Horses and Men and Sparrows which both won prizes at Venice.

    When it comes to Sweden – another big name outside of Victor Sjöström which often is forgotten is Hasse Ekman. He was a very prolific director between the 1940s and 60s. He was often seen as a lesser director than Bergman given his more diverse filmography and generally lighter tone, but in the past few years his reputation has increased enormously. MOMA had a retrospective of his work last year.

    Oh, and A Man Called Ove was Oscar nominated this year. A huge blockbuster in Sweden, if not terribly loved critically.

    And Alicia Vikander is Swedish, not Danish. Scandic actors ofter appear in films from the other countries, often because of co-production demands. Liv Ullman was a good example, but Headhunters, like you mention is a Norwegian film but Nicolaj Coster-Waldau is Danish.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Thanks for all this background! I’ve been laboring under the delusion that Alicia Vikander was Danish for five years now.

      And it sounds like I’ve got to add Fridrik Thor Fridriksson to my list. I’ve heard good things about a number of those films.

      – David

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