Scanorama brings out the best of Scandinavian film

  • 2004-11-10
  • By Milda Seputyte
VILNIUS - The Scanorama film festival is an annual event in Lithuania´s three biggest cities, Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda. It was also by far the best film festival in the country last year, keeping some ardent film buffs glued to cinema seats for up to six hours a day.

Scanorama begins in Vilnius on Nov. 12 and will include films from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland before moving onto the other two cities. The festival is the most comprehensive forum for Nordic films in Lithuania, with a selection of 30 movies from five countries and four different films being screened each day.

Scanorama opens with "Bazo" (2003), a film by the Norwegian director Lars Goran Peter, which was filmed in three Scandinavian countries. The movie is about the dramatic attempts to keep Sami culture alive in an increasingly globalized culture. It follows the story of a simple-minded teenager called Bazo, which is a Sami expression for a slightly retarded person.

Magnius Martens' "United" (2003) was the most popular film of the year in Norway. It's a romantic comedy about Kare, a football fanatic who dreams of playing for Manchester United and humorously follows his struggles to try and sort out his wayward life.

"Inheritance" is a not-to-be-missed gem that was widely considered as the best film of the year in its home country, even critically outdoing Lars von Trier's extraordinary "Dogville." "Inheritance" won domestic awards for best director, best music, best actor and best screenplay at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

The film boasts a strong story and some memorable performances from its cast. It focuses on Christoffer who feels compelled to return to the family steel after his father commits suicide. His life soon slips out of control as he attempts to save the company from bankruptcy and his marriage to his beloved Swedish wife.

The film-screening marathon in Kaunas starts off with "Dog Nail Clipper," a film by the famous Finish director Markku Polonen. The quirky story is about the conflict between ideals and harsh reality, and is decidedly Finnish in its utter oddity. Mertsi is an idealist, who is given the seemingly simple task of clipping a dog's nails. But he takes the task far too seriously, the nails go unclipped, Mertsi gets bitten on the wrist and his whole life suddenly starts to teeter on the brink of utter failure. It may sound strange but it will make sense if you go see it.

This year's Scanorama also features a lot of old Scandinavian classics, which hardly need any introduction. But if you haven't seen any films by the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Bo Widerberg, Lars von Trier, Liv Ulman, Bille August, Lasse Hallstrom and Hans Petter Molland then you absolutely should. End of story. o

Scanorama 2004

Vilnius Nov. 12 - 17

Kaunas Nov. 18 - 25

Klaipeda Nov. 26 - Dec. 2

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