Lisa Ohlin’s Simon and the Oaks (Simon och ekarna, 2011) starring Helen Sjöholm and Jonatan S. Wächter. Photo: Dan Lausten/Nordisk Film
Tomas Alfredson directed the screen version of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). His vampire drama Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in, 2008) won the prize for Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2008.
Pernilla August was an acclaimed actress before making her debut as a director of Beyond (Svinalängorna, 2010), a drama about a mother and daughter set in a poor neighborhood. It has won several awards at festivals around the world.
Patrik Eklund, one of Sweden’s leading short-film directors, stuck to comedy for his first feature film Flicker (Flimmer, 2012). Eklund’s Seeds of the Fall (Slitage, 2009) won the Canal+ Award for Best Short Film at Cannes in 2009 and he received an Oscar nomination for another short film, Instead of Abracadabra (Istället för Abrakadabra) in 2010.
Daniel Espinosa’s breakthrough came with the film version of Jens Lapidus’ crime novel Easy Money (Snabba cash, 2010). It aroused interest in Hollywood, and Espinosa was commissioned to direct the action thriller Safe House (2012) with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.
Josef Fares’ first feature film Jalla! Jalla! (2000) is a comedy about love across cultural boundaries. His later work includes the police farce Kopps (2003), the semiautobiographical movie Zozo (2005), the revenge drama Leo (2007) and the romantic comedy Balls (Farsan, 2010).
Lukas Moodysson’s breakthrough came in 1998 with Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål). Since then, he has directed a number of films such as Together (Tillsammans, 2000) set in a commune in the 1970s, Lilya 4-ever (2002) about a Russian girl forced into prostitution and Mammoth (Mammut, 2009) with Michelle Williams. His latest film We’re the Best! (Vi är bäst!) is due out in 2012.
Babak Najafi’s eagerly awaited sequel Easy Money 2 (Snabba cash 2) is due out in 2012. Najafi has been widely acclaimed for Sebbe (2010), about an isolated 15 year-old boy, which won the Best First Feature Award at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival in 2010.
Ruben Östlund’s latest film Play (2011) is about some black boys who rob their white middle-class peers. The controversial film exploits each group’s prejudices about the other. Östlund is also known for Involuntary (De ofrivilliga, 2008), a tragicomedy about group pressure.
Funding for Swedish film
Swedish film policy is designed to support the production, promotion and distribution of worthwhile films, to preserve and promote Sweden’s movie heritage and to ensure that Swedish film is represented internationally.
It also supports regional and local film culture, and boosts working conditions for female filmmakers. Filmpolicy funds and other means of support are allocated and administered by the Swedish Film Institute. In 2010, contributions totaled about SEK 379 million (about EUR 42 million/USD 56 million).
Under the latest Swedish Film Agreement, which comes into force on January 1, 2013, Swedish cinema will receive funding from the government, film industry and television companies. The agreement runs until December 31, 2015.
Regretters (Ångrarna, 2010) by Marcus Lindeen is about a pair of transsexuals who regret their sex changes. Photo: Atmo
Documentary makers with a difference
Sweden continues to produce award-winning feature-length and short documentaries.
Jens Assur’s drama The Last Dog in Rwanda (Den sista hunden i Rwanda, 2005) was proclaimed Best Short Film both at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and at the International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France, in 2007.
Fredrik Gertten was sued by the US food giant Dole over his film Bananas!* (2009) about the conflict between Dole and the workers at the company’s plantation in Nicaragua. The clash between Gertten and Dole is depicted in the director’s sequel, Big Boys Gone Bananas!* (2011), which was screened in the Swedish Parliament.
Marcus Lindeen caused a major stir with his documentary Regretters (Ångrarna, 2010) about two transsexuals who regret their sex changes. He also co-directed Accidentes Gloriosos (2012), which won the Venice Horizons Award.
Nahid Persson Sarvestani’s film The Queen and I (Drottningen och jag, 2009) is a portrait of the former Queen and Empress of Iran, Farah Diba Pahlavi. In her new film, Prisoners in Hell (2012), Persson Sarvestani looks up Iranian friends who, like her, were forced to flee from Iran more than 30 years ago for political reasons.
Alexander Skarsgård has followed in his father’s, Stellan’s, footsteps, as have his two younger brothers. Photo: Michael Nelson/Scanpix
Famous Swedes in Hollywood
Lasse Hallström received two Oscar nominations for My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund, 1985). In 1993, he directed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by blockbusters such as Something To Talk About (1995), Chocolat (2000), The Shipping News (2001), An Unfinished Life (2005), Casanova (2005), Dear John (2010) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011). In 2011, he returned home to make his first Swedish film for more than 20 years: The Hypnotist (Hypnotisören, 2012).
Mikael Håfström has directed a number of commercially successful horror films and thrillers, including Derailed (2005), 1408 (2007) and The Rite (Ritualen, 2011). His next film, due out in 2013 is action thriller The Tomb, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
Lena Olin came to the world’s attention in the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). She has since worked with directors including Ingmar Bergman, Roman Polanski and Sydney Pollack. She appeared in her husband Lasse Hallström’s Chocolat and will star in his latest thriller The Hypnotist.
Noomi Rapace played Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium Trilogy. She has since appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Prometheus (2012) and Passion (2013).
Stellan Skarsgård’s performance in Lars von Trier’s film Breaking the Waves (1996) captivated audiences worldwide. Subsequently, he appeared in Good Will Hunting (1997), King Arthur (2004), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008), Thor (2011) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård’s son, made his acting debut in Åke and His World (Åke och hans värld, 1984) when he was eight years old. Many know him for his role as a vampire in True Blood (2008-). His film credits include Straw Dogs (2011), Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011), and Battleship (2012).
Peter Stormare made international breakthrough in the Coen brothers’ film Fargo (1996). Many remember him as the scatterbrained Russian in Armageddon (1998). He also appeared in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Bad Company (2002), Minority Report (2002), Constantine (2005) and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).
Kidz in da Hood is about Amina who comes to Sweden, but is left to her own devices when her grandfather dies. Photo: Sandrew Metronome
Must-watch Swedish films
- Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar), 2006
directors Catti Edfeldt and Ylva Gustavsson
- Dalecarlians (Masjävlar), 2004
director Maria Blom
- Together (Tillsammans), 2000
director Lukas Moodysson
- House of Angels (Änglagård), 1992
director Colin Nutley
- My Life as a Dog (Mitt liv som hund), 1985
director Lasse Hallström
- Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander), 1982
director Ingmar Bergman
- Package Tour (Sällskapsresan), 1980
director Lasse Åberg
- A Swedish Love Story (En kärlekshistoria), 1970
director Roy Andersson
- Elvira Madigan, 1967
director Bo Widerberg
- One Summer of Happiness (Hon dansade en sommar), 1951
director Arne Mattsson
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