Berlinale has been on TV and news a lot lately, but it was not the only film festival that has happened in Europe this month. In Gothenburg, Sweden, another film festival had been taken place. Here, I would like to introduce Gothenburg Film Festival.
Gothenburg is the second biggest city in Sweden after Stockholm.
In Gothenburg, the festival is held from the end of January to the beginning of February every year. It is one of the biggest film festivals in the Nordic countries, and it showcases the latest Nordic films along with International ones. The festival would be very exciting for those who are interested in Nordic films.
One of the focuses of this year’s festival was Sápmi (in English, it is known as Lapland). Sápmi is the region which stretches over northern part of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, and most inhabitants are Sámi people. Over the centuries, Sámi people have suffered from discrimination and prejudice.
Amanda Kernell is a Swedish film director whose father is a Sámi. Her first feature film, “Sami Blood (original title: Sameblod),” has screened at the festival this year. The film has also screened at Tokyo International Film Festival in 2016. It is about a 14-year-old Sámi girl, Elle Marja, who lived in north part of Sweden in the 1930s. She leaves her family and hometown behind to go to a Swedish school and to live like them. (The film explains that Sámi people were not allowed to go to the same school as the Swedish people at that time.) It is a very striking and shocking film, especially for us (Japanese people) who know very little about them. There are a lot to learn from it.
Most of the films screened at the festival were feature films, but short films were also present there. This year, there were 9 short film programmes featuring the latest Swedish short films, and there were also short film programmes on Nordic shorts and Sámi shorts.
I will always love you, Kingen / Amanda Kernell / 30 minutes / Sweden and Denmark
“I will always love you, Conny (original title: I will always love you, Kingen),” a short film directed by Amanda Kernell is one of the highlights from short films screened at the festival. Unlike “Sami Blood,” the film doesn’t deal with the issue of Sámi people – the film is a human drama illustrated against the beautiful landscape of Sweden in winter.
Conny’s girlfriend is pregnant, and she is about to deliver the baby. He drives her to the hospital in the snow, however he runs away when he drops her at the hospital. Not only his girlfriend’s family, everyone in town knows what he did – will he be forgiven?
Syskon / Aurora Alänge / 39 minutes /Sweden and America
Contrary to “I will always love you, Connie”, “Siblings (original title: Syskon)” directed by Aurora Alänge, captures beautiful landscape in Sweden in summer. With the beautiful landscape in the back, the film depicts the difficult relationship between brother and sister, Emilia and Adrian.
Emilia is an introverted girl and Adrian is a very social boy – you could say that their personalities are completely the opposite. Their parents left them alone one summer so that they can improve their relationship, however they keep fighting and things don’t seem to be going well between them.
Quite often, people take their siblings for granted and they tend to forget to respect them – they think whatever they do, their siblings would forgive them because it’s their brother or sister. However it doesn’t seem to be the best way to treat your siblings, as can also be seen from Emilia and Adrian. Will they be able to fix their relationship?
In the film, Emilia and Adrian goes to a Midsummer Party. Midsummer is a day in June when people celebrate summer. The party in the film is a very colourful and cute – it makes you feel that you want to join such party!
Both short films are relatively long for short films (“I will always love you, Conny” is 30 minutes long and “Siblings” is 39 minutes long). There is no universal rule how long a short film should be, and each film festival makes its own guideline. Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia only screens short films less than 25 minutes long and these two films don’t meet their requirements unfortunately. However, this year there were so many short films nominated for the Academy Awards which is longer than 30 minutes. This could be said as the trend of short films produced recently.
When Gothenburg Film Festival was about to end, another short film festival has started in Clermont-Ferrand, a little town in France surrounded by volcanos.
In Europe, there are always film festivals all year round. It’s quite cheap to travel around Europe, and it’s possible to go to another country and / or city for film festivals. Europe is a wonderful place for film lovers!
—–This report is written by a volunteer writer supporting SSFF & ASIA—–
ライター情報 岡村友梨子 Yuriko Okamura