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FESTIVALS Norway

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You can’t get much further north: Tromsø opens with Tongue Cutters

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- Solveig Melkeraaen's documentary from the region 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle will open Norway's largest film festival, which runs until 22 January

You can’t get much further north: Tromsø opens with Tongue Cutters
Tongue Cutters by Solveig Melkeraaen

The world premiere of Norwegian director Solveig Melkeraaen’s documentary Tongue Cutters will today (16 January) open Norway’s 27th Tromsø International Film Festival. Set in the northern fishing village of Myre, it follows ten-year-old Tobias, one of the many children who work as cod tongue cutters. Considered a delicacy in China and Japan, in Norway cod tongues are simply everyday food; now nine-year-old Ylva from Oslo wants to learn this new skill while visiting her grandparents.

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With 60,619 admissions last year, the festival qualified as Norway’s largest, organised in what is considered the northernmost city in the world – located 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. Unspooling during the afternoons and the dark polar nights, the movies in the programme are being screened at five theatre venues and an outdoor “snow cinema” in Tromsø’s main square.

The closing film (on 21 January) will be the Norwegian launch of US director Damien Chazelle’s musical dramedy La La Land – the Emma Stone-Ryan Gosling starrer, which just added a record number of seven Golden Globes to its 125 previous prizes – prior to Nordisk Film Distribusjon’s national release of the film.

This year’s main international competition has 12 entries, all of which are Norwegian premieres and will be vying for the gathering’s top Aurora Prize, the international film critics’ FIPRESCI Award and the International Federation of Film Societies’ Don Quixote Prize. The line-up includes one Nordic entry, Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s Heartstone [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
film profile
]
.

Norwegian Horizons presents six new local features, such as Izer Aliu’s Hunting Flies [+see also:
trailer
interview: Izer Aliu
film profile
]
, which is set at a school in Macedonia; Zaradasht Ahmed’s IDFA winner, Nowhere to Hide [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, following a male nurse in Northern Iraq; and Kim Hiorthøy’s The Rules for Everything [+see also:
trailer
interview: Kim Hiorthøy
film profile
]
, a comedy about a ten-year-old girl trying to come to terms with her father’s death.

Four Norwegian titles have been chosen by local and international critics for the Critics’ Week: Jon Haukeland’s quasi-documentary debut, What Young Men Do [+see also:
trailer
interview: Jon Haukeland
film profile
]
Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken’s Late Summer [+see also:
trailer
interview: Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken
film profile
]
Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Pyromaniac [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Erik Skjoldbjærg
film profile
]
 and Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Erik Poppe
film profile
]
, shortlisted for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-language Film.

Meanwhile, the festival’s Sápmi 100 programme celebrates the centenary of the Sámi people’s first national convention held in Sámi country, the Arctic area also known as Lapland in northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. Four Sámi productions are on the menu, including a film-concert with Norwegian director Nils Gaup’s Pathfinder, the first feature shot in the Sámi language.

Focus: Turkey comprises four feature debuts and one sophomore film by young Turkish directors, while the 2017 retrospective is dedicated to Cristian Mungiu, the first Romanian director to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Oleg Mutu
film profile
]
(2007), which is being showcased alongside the six stories told in Tales from the Golden Age [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(2009).

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