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Scandinavia’s Creative Outburst

August 14, 2009

Is it me or does it seem that there’s been a sudden burst of creativity coming from Scandinavia?  Maybe I just haven’t been paying enough attention.

Some great writers have come out of that part of the world: Undset, Lagerkvist, Hamsun, Ibsen and Strindberg but they seem so long ago.  Of course, you can always point to Bergman.  Bergman: Sweden’s gift to film–to the world.  I saw Virgin Spring for the first time in a recent retrospective and I swear it’ll haunt me till the end of my days…but it too seems from another era.

ABBA?  Oh, please!

So that’s why I find these new films and books coming out of there so refreshing.

I’d like to point you to three films that have come out since 2006.  I’ll work backwards.  This year there was Dead Snow (Død snø) from Norway.  MV5BMjA0NDQyMjE1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODE1NzY5MQ@@._V1._CR0,0,800,800_SS100_I’m not a fan of Zombie movies but this was flat-out fun. Scary, bloody, illogical and filled with plot holes large enough for a Panzer, nonetheless I left the theater chilled and exhilarated.

Recently I was thumbing my way through the “Recently Acquired” DVD’s at the local library when I came to the 2008 Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) .  I stopped for a moment as a big, satisfied grin flashed across my face.  Another Norwegian export this movie takes the Vampire conceit, shakes it hard and comes up with a refreshing and unromantic take on a genre film.  But there’s more to it than that.  Maybe I’m slow but it wasn’t until the next morning when it hit me; when I realized what had really happened in the movie.MV5BMjE3NzIwMzE2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkxOTAyMg@@._V1._CR0,0,356,356_SS100_

The last movie I want to write about is the 2006, Swedish film, After the Wedding (Efter brylluppet) .  This is an exceptional film with fine acting and MV5BMTM1Mzc4NjUzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzczODE0MQ@@._V1._CR0,0,172,172_SS100_51MU-lB8a5L._SL110_intelligent storytelling.  I don’t want to say too much about it other than it is well worth seeing and the charismatic male lead, Mads Mikkelsen, is at the beginning of a great career.  You’ve already seen him in the first two of the Daniel Craig era James Bond films as the villain, Le Chiffre.

Finally a note about a mystery novel–Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor this translates into “Men Who Hate Women”).  Actually I didn’t think it was a terribly great mystery by any means, but it had damned great characters, especially Lisbeth Salander.  Unfortunately Larsson died in 2004…fortunately he left three more books behind and the synopses for another two.  The second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, (Flickan som lekte med elden) was recently published.

unknown-soldier-1-190My favorite Blog/Website: Dysart was written up in the New York Times this week.

My favorite trailer this week: It Might Get Loud,0,972,972_SS100_

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 8:33 pm

    after the wedding sounds excellent — thanks!

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