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Nordic Documentary Films

Skrevet den 07-09-2018 22:36:50 af Tue Steen Müller

Nordic Documentary Films

Diversity is the word to characterize this selection of Nordic documentaries. Veterans and young talents, classical documentary language as well as so-called hybrid storytelling including fiction and animation in the documentary narrative.

The selection shows that the documentary environment in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark is based on tradition; there is an audience, there is good funding through film institutions. To put it a bit solemn and maybe elitist: In the Nordic countries documentaries are considered as a tool for debate, information and an artistic expression in democratic societies.

Ah, fuck off, legendary Jörn Donner would say to these lines, a true provocateur, who 85 year old makes a follow-up to his Finland-film from 1971, “Fuck Off 2” is the title, where he sends a sometimes sarcastic love declaration to his country, a journey he calls this personal essay, with songs written by another legendary Finn, the composer M.A. Numminen.

Where the visual side of Donner’s film is straight forward documentary mixed with reportage, the Icelandic “Innsaei” (“The Power of Intuition”) is a personal essay including animation, a film full of original visual solutions, that demonstrates how rich the documentary language is today. No limits from the side of Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir and Kristin Ólafsdóttir.

The Norwegian “69 Minutes of 86 Days” by Egil Håskjold Larsen combines emotion and information in its journey with a 3 year old child’s from Greece to Uppsala in Sweden. The girl is wonderful in her way of dealing with her refugee situation and the classical approach to documentary filmmaking works here: Don’t ask your characters to do anything, don’t put any questions, be there, be with them, observe…

As it is beautiful to follow the mayor in the small Swedish Ydre, when he goes with a small gift to couples, who have added a new citizen to the depopulated community. With a baby. The documentary, full of humour, gives the information and interpretation of the universal problems of Ydre, but has also a side where myths about the existence of Giants and trolls are visually brought to life in the beautiful nature of the small gem in Sweden. Malla Grapengiesser, Alexander Rynéus and Per Bifrost have made the film together, Grapengiesser also being the producer and the two males doing the camera work. Title: Giants and the Morning After.

Finally the Danish contribution, “Bad Circumstances” by Max Kestner, experienced director, like all film directors in this series a true auteur with his own “handwriting”, takes to the detective genre to carry the story together with an essayistic touch, still with an observational camera style and a fascinating main character, the amateur historian, who wants to find out, what happened to the Danish adventurers and scientists, who died in Greenland in the beginning of the 20th century.

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