The 18th Scandinavian Film Festival L.A., this Saturday & Sunday


The 18th Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. (SFFLA) will continue on January 21 and 22. Here is the complete program of this weekendl.

Saturday, January 21
1:00 Heartstone (feature)
Hjartasteinn, (Iceland), 2016, 129 minutes, Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson
n a remote fishing village in Iceland two teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.

3:30 An Empty Space (short)
Tühi ruum, (Estonia), 2016, 10 minutes, Ülo Pikkov
A 10-year old girl longing for a puppy as a birthday present, gets instead a father she had no idea was alive.  Documentary based, Pikkov tells a story about a very long-standing dream that kept him alive though many years and actually will comes true only now through this film.

4:00 Mother (Oscar entry)
Ema, (Estonia), 2016, 89 minutes, Kadri Kõusaar

This “Fargo-like” comic crime mystery set in small-town Estonia centers on Elsa, the mother and full time caretake of Lauri, a teacher who has been in a coma since being shot under suspicious circumstances. Köusaar cunningly navigates a script that slowly pieces together the truth behind Lauri’s shooting through his visitor’ confessionals to the comatose protagonist. The film has all the ingredients of a satisfying mystery: secret love affairs, nosey policemen, missing money, and the works.

6:30 The Commune (feature)
Kollektivet, (Denmark), 2016, 115 minutes, Thomas Vinterberg
The new film from Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, The Celebration), focuses on a middle-aged professional couple in 1970s Denmark who decide to experiment with communal living by inviting a group of friends and random eccentrics to cohabit with them in a sprawling house. Erik and Anna are a professional couple with a dream. Along with their daughter, Freja, they set up a commune in Erik’s huge villa in the upmarket district of Copenhagen. With the family in the center of the story, we are invited into the dream of a real commune. We participate in the house meeting, dinners, and parties. It is friendship, love and togetherness under one roof until and earth-shattering love affair puts the community and the commune to its greatest test.

Sunday, January 22
1:00 A Holy Mess (feature)
En underbar jävla jul, (Sweden), 2015, 108 minutes, Helena Bergström
Two young men, Simon and Oscar, both in their 20s, have been a couple for three years. Together with their girlfriend, Cissi, they have bought a house in Bromma, outside Stockholm. One room has top priority: the nursery, because Cissi is nine months pregnant. But who is the father – Simon or Oscar? Nevertheless, come what may, they are going to start a family. They haven’t revealed the secret to their families yet, but they realize that they cannot keep it hidden anymore, and what time could be better to disclose the truth than Christmas night – the feast of tolerance, the day when everybody loves one another and is pleasant to each other, the birthday of Jesus.

2:45 Awesome Beetles (short/animation)
(Latvia), 2016, 3 minutes, Indra Spronge
A nearly impossible story, supported by a catchy melody, guides us through the ABCs- from Awesome Beetles to Yellow Zebra.

3:00 Dawn (Oscar entry)
Ausma, (Latvia), 2015, 90 minutes, Laila Pakalniņa
Based on a Soviet propaganda story about Young Pioneer (the Soviet equivalent of a Boy Scout) Morozov, who denounced his father to Stalin’s secret police and was in turn killed by his family. His life exemplified the duty of all good Soviet citizens to become informers, at any expense. In our film, 75 years later, we call him little Janis. He is a pioneer who lives on the Soviet collective farm “Dawn”. His father is an enemy of the farm (and the Soviet system) and plots against it. Little Janis betrays his father; his father takes revenge upon his son. Who then in this old Soviet tale is good and who is bad? This film reveals that a distorted brain is always dangerous. Even nowadays.

5:00 LIttle Wing (feature)
Tyttö nimeltä Varpu, (Finland), 2016, 100 minutes, Selma Vihunen
Vihunen’s was previously at SFFLA with her 2012 short Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? which garnered an Oscar nomination. In her feature Little Wing draws on personal experience with the story of a 12 year old girl who, frustrated by her mother’s erratic behavior, sets out on an impromptu quest to find her birth father, in a sharp and touching portrait of adolescence. The film was referred to as “the most underrated film at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

7:00 The King’s Choice
Kongens nei, (Norway), 2016, 133 minutes, Erik Poppe
On the 9th of April 1940, German troops invade Oslo. The king of Norway is faced with a choice which will change his nation forever. The Kings Choice is an epic film about the real events which turned a brave man into the peoples king


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