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FESTIVALS Sweden

Union Jack and Stars and Stripes will fly over Göteborg’s film fest

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- Actor-directors Ralph Fiennes (UK) and Terry Gilliam (US) are among the international guests of Sweden’s 37th Göteborg International Film Festival, which opens tomorrow (January 24) – and Fiennes will not leave empty-handed

Union Jack and Stars and Stripes will fly over Göteborg’s film fest
Ralph Fiennes

Russia is in the spotlight, Iceland is honoured by a retrospective, but with actor-directors Ralph Fiennes from the UK and Terry Gilliam from the US among the international guests, the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes will also fly over Sweden’s 37th Göteborg International Film Festival - the largest showcase in the Nordic countries, which opens tomorrow (January 24) with a programme of almost 500 films from 76 countries in 25 venues, as well as seminars, concerts, talk-shows and exhibitions. The festival runs through February 3.

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Fiennes will leave with the festival’s Honorary Dragon Award, for the first time given to an actor, “who grants a mysterious aura to films of all genres, and whose acting is characterised by gravity, vigor and extraordinary presence.”

Fiennes will hold a master class before the screening of his second film as a director, The Invisible Woman [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ralph Fiennes
film profile
]
, about Charles Dickens’ love affair with a young actress, starring the director himself, Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas. Shortly to be reunited with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Gilliam will unspool his 12th feature, the drama fantasy The Zero Theorem [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Terry Gilliam
film profile
]
, about a computer hacker’s attempts to discover the reason for human existence who is continually interrupted.

Swedish director Ester Martin Bergsmark’s feature debut, Something Must Break [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(which is now running for the Hivos Tiger Award in Amsterdam) will open the festival and also the competition for the SEK 1 million €110,000 Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film. The eight nominees also include Swedish director Henrik Hellström’s The Quiet Roar and Letter to the King by Norwegian director Hisham Zaman, whose Before Snowfall [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
won last year.

Two of the entries - Benedikt Erlingsson’s international prize-winner, Of Horses and Men [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
film profile
]
, and Ragnar Bragason’s Metalhead [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- represent Iceland, a 103,000 sq km island with a 325,000 population, which produces up to six features annually. A retrospective in Göteborg will cover 20 years of production, “manifesting Iceland’s distinct character in a refreshing and personal way,” according to the festival. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur will receive the first Honorary Nordic Dragon.

The focus on Russia, with 20 films, “is both artistically strong and takes up current subjects, such as freedom of speech and distribution of resources,” said the festival’s artistic director Marit Kapla. Taisija Krugovykh and Vasilij Bogatov’s Pussy versus Putin (about feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot’s action) and Alexander Gentelev’s Putin’s Games will both be introduced by the directors. Veteran director Aleksej German’s Hard to Be God was completed by his wife Svetlana Karmelita and son after his death.

Göteborg will roll out the red carpet for “the biggest, best and most talked-about movies from Hollywood, Nigeria and Norway” in its gala section, and eight films will enter the competition for the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award. Swedish premieres comprise the first screening of Tarik Saleh’s thriller Tommy, with Moa Gammel and Ola Rapace in the leads, which will close the event.

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