Plot: At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.
Note:Dogme #1. In my opinion, the first movie following the Dogme rules was just great. No special effects, no big stars just a simple and pure movie. It was also the first time I felt nauseous after watching a movie. Not because It was bad but because it was so heavy and emotional. I think it is a great movie and it is one of my all time favorite movies.
Plot: A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing, or dead, for forty years by a young female hacker.
Note: I thought it was an amazing movie with a fascinating story. I really loved this flick and this girl Noomi Rapace gave a very strong perfomance. It is easily one of the best of the movies to come out in 2009.
Plot: Lilja is 16 years old. Her only friend is the young boy Volodja. They live in Estonia, fantasizing about a better life. One day, Lilja falls in love with Andrej. He is going to Sweden, and invites Lilja to come along and start a new life.
Note: I thought it was such a heartbreaking story. There is absolutely no redemption here and when you watch this flick, you wonder what does a guy feels when he goes to see such an underage prostitute. How can they enjoy themselves? Anyway, the directing and acting are just awesome and if you don't mind getting depressed while watching a movie, it is definitely worth a look.
Plot: When a bus breaks down in the desert, the passengers decide to stage "King Lear."
Note:Dogme #4. It is one of the least known of the Dogma movies but it is actually one of the best (the best is "Festen"). It takes place in a desert in Africa where a group of tourists get stuck. They try to survive and most of them get eventually nuts. I think it is a great and fascinating movie featuring Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Plot: A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.
Note: I haven't seen many movies by Bergman so I am not a fan of his work but this masterpiece left a big impression on me. The directing, the story and the acting, above all by Max van Sydow, is nothing short of amazing. Probably one of the most thoughtful movies ever made, it is definitely a must see for any decent movie lover.
Plot: Oscar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl who turns out to be a vampire.
Note : I guess it is an acquired taste but, in my opinion, it the most original and striking vampire movie made in the last 20 years. Yeah, it is that good but it goes beyond that as it explores the teenage anxiety with lots of sensibility.
Plot: Two brothers must negotiate changing roles and shifting family dynamics when one is sent to war in Afghanistan.
Note: Actually, I had some mixed feelings about this movie. What bothered me was that the story starts with two stereotypes and ends with two stereotypes. But the directing is very good and efficient and above all the acting is just really awesome. Who thought that Connie Nielsen could be such a great actress? Definitely worth a look.
Plot: The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.
Note:Dogme #2. The main issue here is that the whole thing seems honestly rather pointless to me. But even though it was not entirely successful, I thought this flick was still really interesting. As usual, Lars von Trier manipulates the viewer and he manages to make this flick still rather fascinating.
Plot: As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.
Note: Honestly, it was not as good as the first movie but the whole thing remains still pretty amazing. I really liked it. The directing and acting are very good and so different and refreshing compared to Hollywood thrillers. Anyway, it is a very good flick and it is definitely worth a look.
Plot: Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court.
Note: Again, it is not as good as the 1st one but still pretty damn entertaining. Too bad you barely see anything from Noomi Rapace (3/4 of the movie she is in a hospital and then in jail). Still, it remains a fascinating trilogy.
Plot: A neo-nazi sentenced to community service at a church clashes with the blindly devotional priest.
Note: When you watch a movie and the least crazy character is a neo-nazi, you know you're watching a weird movie... This movie mixes drama and comedy at the same time and I was sometimes laughing my ass off when a priest was really slaugthered by this neo-nazi character.. Weird, weird, weird... But in a good way. Unfortunately, the end was not really strong but still it is a very intriguing movie.
Plot: A manager of an orphanage in India is sent to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he discovers a life-altering family secret.
Note: I thought it was pretty good. The cast and especially Mads Mikkelsen gave very good perfomances and the directing was nice aswell. However, even though the story was interesting and involving, it was not really fascinating. Still, it is a very good flick.
Plot: Two criminal investigators arrive in a town in the north of Norway to help the local police solve the murder of a young girl. A second murder sets the investigators off on an intense race where the stakes are as high for them as for their quarry.
Note: I'm not sure which one I prefer between this movie and the remake by Christopher Nolan. Even though, the plot is obviously similar, the style between those two movies is completely different. Anyway, this is a fascinating story, the directing is pretty good and Stellan Skarsgard gives a very good perfomance.
Plot: It is about an engaged couple that is torn apart after the man is paralyzed in an accident, and the woman falls in love with the husband of the woman who caused the accident.
Note: the acting was pretty amazing and all the 4 actors (Mads Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Paprika Steen) gave some impressive performances. The only issue for me would be that they were too many storylines. Still, I really liked this emotional and heavy drama.
Plot: The film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and slowly starts putting his life back on track.
Note: Even though I wasn't really blown by the whole thing, I thought it was pretty good. It has such a peculiar style. It is very quiet, with few dialogs and based more on silence and body language. It is a drama which still manage to make you laughs at rather unexpected moments.
Plot: The title characters are children in the exuberant and colorful Ekdahl household in a Swedish town early in the twentieth century. Their parents, Oscar and Emilie, are the director and the leading lady of the local theatre company. Oscar's mother and brother are its chief patrons. After Oscar's early death, his widow marries the bishop and moves with her children to his austere and forbidding chancery. The children are immediately miserable.
Note: This one belongs definitely in the catergoy 'misundertood masterpiece'. Basically, it is not really my cup of tea. It is very bleak and there are loads of weird stuff and symbolism. In spite of all that, It is really well done and quite fascinating. Maybe I'll rewatch again in the future to make up my mind for good.
Plot: Kresten has moved from his parents farm on a small Danish island to Copenhagen in order to pursue his working career. When his father dies he has to move back to the farm, where nothing much has happened since he left. He places an add in the local newspaper to get help running the farm and taking care of his retarded brother.
Note:Dogme #3. Honestly, the story is not original whatsoever and rather predictable. But thanks to the refreshing rules of the Dogme, some competent directing and some definitely good acting, it is a good flick and I really enjoyed it.
Plot: Several lonely hearts in a semi-provincial suburb of a town in Denmark use a beginner's course in Italian as the platform to meet the romance of their lives.
Note:Dogme #12. Most of the Dogme features are rather heavy dramas but not this one. Here, they decided to make a romantic comedy following the Dogme rules and the end result is actually rather satisfying. Like all the romantic comedies, the whole thing is not really original but there is definitely a refreshing feeling to it and I just really enjoyed it.
Plot: A boy and his brother don't get along well. In order to let her ill mother rest, they're separated and sent each one to different relatives.
Note: Before becoming a known figure in Hollywood, Lasse Hallstrom made some small intimate movies in his homeland, Sweden. This flick is a good example and probably his most internationally known. There are some very good perfomances provided by the children involved.
Plot: Thirty-year-old Hlynur still lives with his mother and spends his days drinking, watching porn and surfing the net while living off unemployment checks. A girl is interested in him, but he stands back from commitment. His mother's Spanish flamenco teacher, Lola, moves in with them for Christmas.
Note: How on Earth did Victori Abril ended up playing in a Icelandic production?!? How on Earth did I end up watching this flick?!? No idea... and it doesn't matter since I rather enjoyed this movie which displayed some colourful and interesting characters. I thought it was also an interesting view on the life in Iceland (even though it may not be accurate at all).
Plot: A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.
Note: It is a combination of horror and comedy. Above all, I have to congratulate the make-up artist(s). There are some gruesome moments but extremely well done. However, I'm not sure if the comic aspect worked for me. Consequently, I felt detached during the whole thing and didn't care much about the characters fate. Anyway, it is still one of kind of a zombie flick.
Scandinavian movies are not my speciality but still, I wanted to create a list about the subject.
By the way, I am actually aware of the fact that Iceland and Finland don't belong to Scandinavia but 'My favourite Nordic countries movies' was not really a catchy list title. So, the title is actually incorrect, I know!