Magazine article Screen International

Gothenberg Closes in Style

Magazine article Screen International

Gothenberg Closes in Style

Article excerpt

The closing night ceremony at the 35th Gothenberg International Film Festival (GIFF) last night was a cheerful affair livened up by brassy host Shima Niavarani a Swedish hybrid of Bernadette Peters and Bette Midler who had a whipsmart sense of humour (in English, no less) and a powerful singing voice.

Taking place at the Clarion Post Hotel in the centre of the city, the ceremony ended the 11-day festival which featured the best of new Nordic cinema as well as a large international programme. I had never been to the festival and was impressed by the clear focus of each section, the stunning Draken cinema - named for the Golden Dragon Awards synonomous with GIFF - and the popular Nordic Film Market which took place in the final weekend.The festival had one of the best trailers I'd ever seen - in which a family assembles to visit the baby dragon they have in a basket in the spare room. I never tired of seeing the CG-animated dragon yawning cutely, while remnants of its fiery breath burned and sizzled around the house.The eight new Nordic films themselves in the Dragon competition - which competed for a SEK1m prize - were for the most part strong. Axel Petersen's Avalon (Sweden) had already played Venice and Toronto last year, but this was a Nordic premiere and its amusing and disturbing portrait of aging amoral playboys in the resort town of Bastad was well-received. As was Teddy Bear (Denmark), which was fresh off a best director (world cinema) win in Sundance for Mads Matthiesen. The unlikely story of a 38 year-old bodybuilder trying to escape his mother's tyranny who travels to Thailand to find love benefits from a subdued performance by the gigantic Kim Kold, whose biceps alone filled the Draken screen to quite startling effect.I already reviewed Company Orheim (Norway), Arild Andresen's devastating exploration of how alcoholism and abuse tears a family apart, which falls into a classic Scandinavian tradition of tortured family drama but is no less good for that. Another picture of troubled childhood, albeit somewhat lighter, Jens Lien's Sons Of Norway (Norway) follows a punk teen in the 1970s with a radical communist father who is almost too liberal and progressive. The witty film had its world premiere at Toronto and this screening was a Swedish premiere. …

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