Publicity image for Daniel. photo by Martin Dam Kristensen

Scandi festival presents highlights of Scandinavian cinema

True tales, period dramas, a documentary, and a controversial erotic drama highlight the sixth Scandi festival

The sixth edition of Scandi, showcasing Scandinavian films, runs January 9 to 12 at the Lucerna, Edison, Atlas and Evald cinemas in Prague. Some but not all of the screenings are English-friendly.

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The main section is premieres, with six recent films. The festival opens with Queen of Hearts (Dronningen / Srdcová Královna), a Danish erotic drama about a lawyer who seduces her teenage stepson, and then has to make tough decisions. It won the he 2019 Nordic Council Film Prize.

Out Stealing Horses (Ut Och Stjäla Hästar / Jít krást koně) won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. An old widower, portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård, reflects on his youth in a rural area. Hans Petter Moland directed the film, which is based on a 2003 Norwegian novel by Per Petterson.

Both Queen of Hearts and Out Stealing Horses were submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, but did not make the short list. Final nominations 92nd Academy Awards have not yet been announced.

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Finnish director Zaida Bergroth’s latest feature Maria’s Paradise (Marian paratiisi / V mariině ráji) takes place in the 1920s, with a young member of a charismatic cult meeting a local street girl in Helsinki and starting to question her beliefs.

Two films, Daniel (Ser Du Månen, Daniel / Vidíš měsíc, Danieli) and The Perfect Patient (Quick / Dokonalý pacient),are based on true stories, and the final film, Fat Front (Pěkně tučná sebeláska), is a documentary.

The drama Daniel tells the exploits of Danish freelance photographer Daniel Rye, who was held hostage in Syria for over a year along with other foreigners including American journalist James Foley.

A Swedish legal scandal is at the heart of The Perfect Patient. A man named Thomas Quick confesses to multiple murders, but may himself be the victim of manipulative psychiatrists. A journalist look into the affair that many would like to see hushed up.

The documentary Fat Front follows four activists in the fat acceptance movement, as they try to support inclusivity. The film has an optimistic tone, but also shows the women’s daily struggles.

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Other sections in the festival include Flashbacks, Comedies, and Women on the Warpath. The latter category is inspired by last year’s Icelandic hit Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð / Žena na válečné stezce), which will be shown again. Many of these films have been seen in previous festivals or in Czech distribution.

A complete schedule can be found at the festival website.

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