• 41st Gothenburg Film Festival 2018
  • 41st Göteborg Film Festival 2018

41st Gothenburg Film Festival 2018: A round-up

The Gothenburg International Film Festival for 2018 concluded couple of weeks ago. The largest film festival in Scandinavia had close to 450 films from 80 countries this year. The 10 day festival was managed in splendid fashion by the Team including the volunteers who help in every little detail for the attending audience irrespective of their knowledge of the Swedish language. It should also be added the festival does not restrict itself to films but has seminars, live music performances, art exhibits, etc.

While I could not attend the seminars or the music performances I thoroughly enjoyed the Master class session by Oscar winning hometown girl, Alicia Vikander who spoke about the linguistic challenges that she faced while starting her career in Hollywood and the UK. She also was candid about humungous effort behind shooting in various virgin locations across the world and underplayed the glitz and glamour associated with the Film industry.

Across the 10 days, I got the opportunity to view films that various countries had sent in as their submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar along with some splendid selections as part of the Nordic competition. Here are few films from the ones I watched that really caught my eye.

Holiday 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Holiday (Danish, 2018)

90min | Denmark | NORDIC COMPETITION | Isabella Eklöf


A spectacular debut from Isabella Eklöf, where both implicit and explicit sexual violence is showcased in the most brutal fashion. The character arc of the lead lady played exquisitely by Victoria Carmen Sonne is fantastic and Lai Yde as the drug lord gives audience the shivers every single time he appears on screen.

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24 Frames 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

24 Frames (Iranian, 2017)

114min | Iran | MASTERS | Abbas Kiarostami


The final film of the Master, Abbas Kiarostami has him explore his fascination with photography further as he brings to life the moments before and after a still-photograph is captured. It has 24 sequences about 4 minutes each dealing with a different emotion. The film is funny, poignant and mesmerizing at the same time.

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Checkmate Turup 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Checkmate (or) Turup (Hindi, 2017)

72min | India | FIVE CONTINENTS | Ektara Collective


From filmmaking committee, Ektara Collective comes Turup (Checkmate) that wonderfully dovetails religious and casteist tension amidst the locally popular game of Chess. The game fits in brilliantly as a metaphor in this 72 minute long tale which explores the travails of the Muslims and Dalits in a pro-Hindutva neighbourhood in the city of Bhopal in central India. That the film manages to make an impact with a mix of professional theatre actors and non-professional ones, within such a short run-time, is fascinating.

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Foxtrot 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Foxtrot (Israeli, 2017)

113min | Israel | MASTERS | Samuel Maoz


The Grand Jury Silver Lion winner from Venice, Foxtrot, unravels in three separate episodes. The film deals with parenting and the pointlessness of the war & captures the monotonous life of young soldiers efficiently. The film does meander in the final episode but the tension if the first two episodes and the way the three episodes come together like a jig-saw puzzle makes it a worthy watch.

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Euthanizer Armomurhaaja 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Euthanizer (or) Armomurhaaja (Finnish, 2017)

85min | Finland | NORDIC LIGHT | Teemu Nikki

This Finnish film is one of a kind as it deals with pet animal euthanization. It manages to shock and move with equal ease and has a sterling performance by Matti Onnismaa. The antagonist, Jari Virman is not far behind as he manages to portray a bullied adult with some terrific body language. The awkward yet cute love story between Matti and Hannamaija Nikander is written and enacted in superb fashion. The delectable soundtrack makes this a cinematic experience to savour.

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Forget About Nick 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Forget About Nick (English, 2017)

110min | Germany | MASTERS | Margarethe von Trotta


An excellent international comedy set in New York that has two ladies, Katja Riemann and Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Armistice in Westworld) top form. Their constant bickering followed by the eventual patch-up due to Maria’s daughter (played enchantingly by Tinka Furst) creates plenty of hilarious sequences and ends in a convenient feel-good climax.

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Sweet Country 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Sweet Country (English, 2017)

113min | Australia | INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION | Warwick Thornton


A gripping tale of a chase over the unforgiving Australian outback as an aboriginal farmer and his wife who are accused of murdering Harry, a white cattle farm owner, give Sergeant Fletcher & his team very little chance of finding them. The tragic ending reinforces the situation for the aborigines in 1929 Australia. The film has captivating cinematography and powerful performances by Hamilton Morris and Bryan Brown.

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The Divine Order Die göttliche Ordnung 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

The Divine Order (or) Die göttliche Ordnung (German, 2017)

96min | Switzerland | FIVE CONTINENTS | Petra Volpe


A truly marvellous film from Switzerland that brings out the Women’s fight for the Right to Vote in the country. The patriarchal family dynamics that the protagonist Nora, (played expertly by Marie Leuenberger) faces have been written and performed admirably. The Vroni character (played by Sibylle Brunner) is so full of life (especially the vaginal design discovery scene) and her remembrance in the climax brings a splendid completion to the film.

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What Will People Say Hva vil folk si 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

What Will People Say (or) Hva vil folk si (Norwegian, 2017)

106min | Norway | NORDIC COMPETITION | Iram Haq


A stunning film set in Norway surrounding a Pakistani immigrant family headed by the father, Adil Hussain in a hugely challenging role. However, the best performer of the film has to be Maria Mozhdah who plays the first-generation Norwegian kid struggling to match the values of her Pakistani family. The film is not for the weak-hearted given the horrors the female protagonist goes through. The emotions which writer-director Iram Haq has managed to bring out on screen without ever being manipulative is breath-taking. A Must Watch indeed!

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Sheikh Jackson 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Sheikh Jackson (Arabic, 2017)

93min | Egypt | FIVE CONTINENTS | Amr Salama


A heart-warming and quirky tale from Egypt that brings out the religion vs pop music debate where Michael Jackson enjoyed a cult following in the underground. The film does take a while to get going and is unsure of whether to follow its quirks or its emotions. The non-linear screenplay too harms the flow of the film. However, the film ends pretty well with the emotional encounter between the father and son.

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The Day After Geu-hu 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

The Day After (or) Geu-hu (Korean, 2017)

92min | South Korea | MASTERS | Hong Sang-Soo


The prolific South Koren filmmaker, Hong Sang-soo comes up with a smartly written and performed infidelity tale! Made at a low budget with minimal characters like most of his works, the film manages to engage due to the performances of Min-hee Kim & Kwon Hae-hyo and of course the witty writing.

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Euphoria 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Euphoria (English, 2017)

104min | Sweden/Germany | NORDIC COMPETITION | Lisa Langseth


Lovely film that brings out the relationship between two contrasting sisters. The fact that the audience were able to relate to the struggle of both sisters talks volumes of the performance by the leads and the efficient writing by Lisa. Filled with interesting characters who all have their own sorrows, the film is a poignant tale about embracing death gracefully. Hats off to Alicia, Eva and Charlotte Rampling!

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The House by the Sea La villa 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

The House by the Sea (or) La villa (French, 2017)

107min | France | MASTERS | Robert Guédiguian


From France comes the leisurely paced ‘The House by the Sea’ which lures you in with the breath-taking sea-facing idyllic town that has the old inhabitants who still reminisce about the times gone by when their kids were young and living with them there. The writing is such that the audience are bound to fall in love with all the characters even if they are slightly snobbish. The heart-warming ending with the train on the bridge is a Winner!!!

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The Charmer 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

The Charmer (Danish, 2017)

100min | Denmark/Sweden | NORDIC COMPETITION | Milad Alami


The struggles faced by an Iranian immigrant worker in finding a Danish partner to help him secure a Citizenship is portrayed in “The Charmer”. The film travels into the rom-com genre mid-way where we see some wonderful chemistry between the leads Ardalan Esmaili and Soho Rezanejad. Proceedings takes a serious turn when one of Esmail’s sezual encounters turns out to have drastic consequences. A well-written third act closes the loop effectively.

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Granny Ajji 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Granny (or) Ajji (Hindi, 2017)

105min | India | FIVE CONTINENTS | Devashish Makhija


The rape-revenge drama pulls you in & gives a lump in the throat feeling for the most part yet the long drawn out Third act hampers the film’s overall impact. However, it still needs to be lauded for the terrific performances by the kid, Sharvani and the granny, Sushama Deshpande who radiates revenge in her every gaze.

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Pomegranate Orchard 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Pomegranate Orchard (Azerbaijani, 2017)

90min | Azerbaijan | FIVE CONTINENTS | Ilgar Najaf


An incredibly moving tale about how the returning of the prodigal son who returns after 12 years affects a small family who manage their own pomegranate orchard. Spectacular frames and fluid camerawork by Ayhan Salar adds to the beauty of the humane drama on show exemplified by immaculate performances. The little kid’s closeness to his grandfather and the tragic climax due to his eyesight as well as the state of the orchard is bound to melt even the most hardened of souls.

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Lady Bird 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Lady Bird (English, 2017)

94min | United States | GALA | Greta Gerwig


A coming-of-age film that has Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in fantastic form as they elevate a familiar plot line of a kid wanting to leave her hometown for studying in a more modern city while the family struggles financially. Ronan’s friendship with Beanie Feldstein is so life-like and their relationship arc has been handled excellently by writer-director, Greta Gerwig. Larry McPherson also excels in the vital role of the depressed yet loving dad.

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The Disaster Artist 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

The Disaster Artist (English, 2017)

98min | United States | GALA | James Franco


A hilarious film directed, produced and performed by James Franco based on a true story about perhaps the most disastrous film ever made. The film does take some time to get going with the sequences before Tommy and Greg head to LA proving particularly elongated. However once they start the ‘film’ and Seth Rogen joins on set things get really funny with Tommy’s strange accent being the centre of ridicule. James and Dave Franco are the pillars of the film and in the midst of all the commotion they do manage to effectively bring out the plight faced by upcoming artists in the harsh Hollywood atmosphere.

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Phantom Thread 41st Gothenburg Film Festival

Phantom Thread (English, 2017)

130min | United States | GALA | Paul Thomas Anderson


Paul Thomas Anderson comes up with a Gothic romance-drama on the relationship dynamics between dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (played immaculately by Daniel Day Lewis) and his muse turned protectress Alma (a fabulous Vicky Krieps). The film is a brilliant character study delving into the obsessive state of a talented mind. Starting off as an eccentric romance, the plot traverses into the psychology of the two characters, later turning into a Hitchcock-ian thriller. The meticulously crafted scenes illustrate how both become interdependent on each other. Exquisite performances by both the leads and Lesley Manville as Cyril (Woodcock’s sister) turn this into another masterful creation from Paul Thomas Anderson!

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Column written by Anand Sethuraman.

2018-02-18T19:30:55+00:00 2018|Perspectives|0 Comments