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Posted by admin on Jan 15, 2023
Welcoming Alicia Vikander, Ruben Östlund, Göteborg Announces Festival Lineup

Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival announced Tuesday lineup for its 46th edition, with “Danish Girl” star Alicia Vikander and double Palme d’Or winning director Ruben Östlund among attendees.

The biggest festival in Scandinavia, Göteborg opens with the world premiere of Abbe Hassan’s “Exodus” on Jan. 27. Its closing film is “Camino” by Birgitte Stærmose.

The festival will screen 250 films during 10 days. “Exodus” will compete for the title of Best Nordic Film – and a prize sum of SEK 400 000 ($38,000) – alongside “Godland,” IFFR opener “Munch,” “Ellos eatnu – Let the River Flow,” “Unruly,” “Four Little Adults,” “Copenhagen Does Not Exist” and “Dogborn,” already shown in Venice.

In the Nordic Documentary Competition, the audience will get to see “Hypernoon,” “The King,” IDFA winner “Apolonia, Apolonia,” “Bong Thom” (“The Brother”), “Labor” and “Monica in the South Seas.” 

“Nordic countries are opening up for discussion about their role in colonial history. It’s something that’s very visible in this year’s program,” artistic director Jonas Holmberg told Variety.

“‘Empire’ is a story about the last slaves in the Danish West Indies, ‘Ellos eatnu – Let the River Flow’ about the relationship between the Norwegian state and the Sámi minority. ‘Godland’ reflects on Denmark’s colonial history,” he stated, also singling out Mika Taanila and Sami van Ingen’s “Monica in the South Seas,” exploring the legacy of Robert Flaherty and his family.

“Previously, the Nordics didn’t consider themselves to be ‘guilty’ [of any wrongdoings]. Now, artists are starting to reflect on these issues.”

Apart from delivering a packed program, the festival will also continue its tradition of surprising the audience. After sending emergency nurse Lisa Enroth to a faraway island as part of The Isolated Cinema experience back in 2021, Göteborg will enlist the help of one Ruben Östlund, recently named its new honorary president. 

During a This Is Cinema! initiative and the screening of “Triangle of Sadness,” Östlund will try to direct the audience as well. But in order to buy a ticket, the viewers will need to answer some of his questions first. 

“It’s a dream for many people, to be directed by a two-time winner of the Palme d’Or,” joked Holmberg.

“Some of these questions are about your viewing habits, your best and worst cinema experiences. Others are more personal: How much money you earn, who are you voting for, when was the last time you cried.” 

“When we reached out to him, asking him to take up this role, one of the things we talked about was the role of the cinema. What does it actually mean, to see a film together? What responsibility do we have, as audience members? This is something he wants to address and I think it will be very interesting.”

Changing audience behaviors are very much on the festival’s radar, as exemplified by its annual Nostradamus Report. But the event also tries to engage the audience on a political level, be it through its continuous support of Ukrainian filmmakers or by welcoming Iran’s Zar Amir Ebrahimi to head the Nordic Competition jury. 

The “Holy Spider” star will lead a demonstration in support of Iranians who have been imprisoned, such as Taraneh Alidoosti, star of “Subtraction” by Mani Haghighi. Alidoosti has since been released.

“When the war broke out, we wanted to help. What we could do was to support more Ukrainian films, in terms of distribution and development, and to invite filmmakers to have a residency here in Göteborg,” said Holmberg.  

Now, the festival will welcome two of them back: Antonio Lukich, set to introduce “Luxembourg, Luxembourg” and join the Nordic Competition jury, and Eva Dzhyshyashvili, behind “Plai. A Mountain Path,” as well as dedicating this year’s Focus Section to the concept of Homecoming.  

“It also played into us inviting local filmmaker Jan Troell, who will receive the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award. He made ‘The Emigrants,’ which in Sweden is the fundamental story about leaving home and finding a new one,” says Holmberg.  

The fest also announced Tuesday the jury for the 2023 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for best TVseries screenwriting, consisting of Danica Curcic, Nebojša Taraba, Wanda Bendjelloul and Leif Holst Jensen. “As Long as We Live,” “Blackwater,” “Carmen Curlers,” “The Invincibles” and “Kids in Crime” comprise the nominees.  

Finally, Alicia Vikander will grace the gala premiere of the films produced by the students of educational program Alicia Vikander Film Lab 2022.  

“When she was appointed an honorary fellow by the Sten A. Olsson Foundation for Research and Culture, her response was: ‘Let’s do something with this money.’ It’s her way of giving back to the city she came from,” notes Holmberg, hoping the project will continue beyond its three-year plan. 

“In order to stay relevant, festivals have to change. They are not only dedicated to screening films anymore. We also want to engage people.” [Source]

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