Director Susanne Bier is Danish but has many ties to Swedish film. Photo: SFI
Welcome to Sweden.se’s relaunch of the movie blog. I’m your host, Chris Gardner. Last year I covered the short film festival that took place in Uppsala and shared my thoughts on this site. However last year the blog wasn’t as easy to find. You kind of had to have Indiana Jones with his bag of sand to find it but this year it’s much easier and you have to agree that the blog area is looking great so if film isn’t your only cup of tea you’ll easily find some more interesting reading here at Sweden.se.
I will be covering the Uppsala short film festival this year as well but other than that I will be sharing my general thoughts about mostly Swedish film, mixed with some movie news. Hopefully there’s enough juice out there to make a good movie smoothie.
Last Thursday the director Susanne Bier from Denmark was here in Stockholm to do a Q&A (Questions & Answers) and answer presented by Cinemateket over at Filmhuset. This “Inside the Actor Studio” inspired bit was hosted by Johanna Koljonen, a Finnish journalist. I found the fact that a Danish person was interviewed by a Finish person in Sweden pretty amusing. I was the only one that found that funny.
Susanne Bier is a director that has done some remarkable work. Ever since her debut with Freud Leaving Home (Freud flyttar hemifrån) in 1991 her name has been a stamp of quality. Over the last years she has directed Brothers (Bröder), After The Wedding (Efter Bröllopet), Open Hearts (Älskar Dig För Evigt) and Things We Lost In The Fire, which was her Hollywood debut.
In all her films she puts most focus on one thing and one thing only, the human emotions. This is probably why most of her films reach both critics and the audiences. During this Q&A she was asked why she likes to do so many close ups. Her reply was that she thought the human face is the most interesting thing to shoot. When asked about what she thinks of other films she hopes that a lot more of the Nordic filmmakers will stop shooting in a style she calls “Nordic naturalism”. It’s too cold, boring and judgmental in her opinion. Focus on the acting, the emotions. Too many filmmakers are busy thinking about the frame so the characters get lost. This is why I use a crappy monitor Susanne Bier says with a smile on her face.
Mikael Persbrandt plays one of the leads in the movie In A Better World (Hämnden). Photo: Nordisk Film
She couldn’t talk about her latest film, In a Better World (Hämnden) because we were all going to see it after the Q&A but she said that she was really proud of it and she should be. The film is Denmarks choice for the Oscar later next year and it only took the film three weeks to turn a profit according to the production company Zentropa. You can see the trailer here. I’m sorry but I couldn’t find one with subtitles.
So what do I think of In A Better World? The film is a real powerhouse of emotions. It’s a violent movie without the violence. I haven’t seen anything like this coming out of Sweden or Denmark in the last few years. The story revolves around two families with their sons being best friends and this friendship will put a lot of things on the line. I really can’t explain more without spoiling something so all I got to say is if you have the chance to see it, do it. The storylines are pretty complex and the acting is fantastic. I sat on the edge of my seat during most parts of it and that was ages ago I remember doing that.