Provocative cinema, historical film epics, and an homage to Swedish master director Ingmar Bergman are the hallmarks of the Specials section of the 60th Nordic Film Days Lübeck, which runs from October 30 to November 4. In honor of the centenary of Bergman’s birth, the festival, which showed the maestro’s classic “Sawdust and Tinsel” at the very first NFL in 1956, will this year screen two relatively unknown Bergman gems – “From the Life of the Marionettes” (GER/SWE 1980), and “The Touch” (SWE/US 1970), in some cases newly digitized. In addition, the documentaries “Bergman – a Year in a Life” (SWE/NOR 2018), “Ingmar Bergman” (SWE 1971), and “The Memory of Ingmar Bergman” (FIN 2018) use personal remembrances, or special times in the director’s life, to take a look back at his life and work. Another film takes a very different approach to Bergman’s oeuvre. “Bergman revisited” (SWE 2018) is a compilation of short films – some irreverent, some experimental, some classic – by six Swedish filmmakers that completely reinterpret motifs from Bergman’s life and art.
The Specials section also has a showcase for another world-renowned Swede. Pernille Fischer Christensen’s film “Becoming Astrid” is a complex portrait of beloved children’s and young adult author Astrid Lindgren, with Alba August giving an outstanding performance in the title role. The film focusses on the author’s early writing years, which were formative in her later life and work. The Specials section is also screening “Border”(SWE/DEN 2018), directed by Ali Abbasi, which won the main prize in the “Un Certain Regard” section at Cannes, and Sweden’s submission for the 2018 Oscar “U – July 22” (NOR 2018), Erik Poppe’s controversion treatment of the massacre at a Norwegian youth camp.
Two period dramas from Denmark will take audiences back to the past: Bille August’s “A Fortunate Man” (DEN 2018), an adaptation of the eponymous Danish book classic, and the German-Danish co-production “In Love and War” (DEN/GER/CZE 2018), which was the first production to benefit from the new German-Danish Coproduction Development Initiative. The Specials section is rounded out with the newest film adaptation of a Jussi Adler Olsen book – “The Purity of Vengeance” (DEN/GER 2018), directed by Christoffer Boe, was shot partially in Hamburg. It’s another thrilling case for Detective Carl Mørck and his Department Q team.
60th Nordische Filmtage Lübeck Specials
A Fortunate Man / Lykke-Per / Per im Glück
Dänemark / Österreich / 2018 / 167 Min.
Director(s): Bille August
Bille August’s brilliant film adaptation of the classic Danish novel “A Fortunate Man” features young star Esben Smed Jensen in the title role.
Becoming Astrid / Unga Astrid / Astrid
Schweden / Dänemark / Deutschland / 2017 / 123 Min.
Director(s): Pernille Fischer Christensen
It’s the kind of life you’d expect to find in an Astrid Lindgren story – her life story, in fact. This biopic covers her early years and first stabs at writing.
Bergman – A Year in a Life / Bergman – ett år, ett liv / Bergman – ein Jahr, ein Leben
Schweden / Norwegen / 2018 / 116 Min.
Director(s): Jane Magnusson
Based on the fateful year of 1957, documentary film maker Jane Magnusson unfurls master director Ingmar Bergman’s fascinating work and life.
Bergman Revisited / Bergman Revisited / Bergman Revisited
Schweden / 2018 / 84 Min.
Director(s): Pernilla August, Tomas Alfredson, Jane Magnusson, Linus Tunström, Lisa Aschan,
Six contemporary short films that present surprising new interpretations of Ingmar Bergman’s life and work – some lyrical, some surreal, some uproariously funny.
Border / Gräns / Border
Schweden / Dänemark / 2018 / 101 Min.
Director(s): Ali Abbasi
Sweden’s entry for the 2019 Foreign Language Oscar. Customs officer Tina has a unique sense of human emotions – until she has an encounter that changes her life.
From the Life of the Marionettes / Ur Marionetternas Liv / Aus dem Leben der Marionetten
Deutschland / Österreich / 1980 / 104 Min.
Director(s): Ingmar Bergman
A galvanizing trip into the evil within humanity, filmed by Ingmar Bergman with Robert Atzorn and Gaby Dohm for German television in 1980.
In Love and War / I krig og kærlighed / In Love and War
Dänemark / Deutschland / Tschechien / 2018 / 135 Min.
Director(s): Kasper Torsting
An injured soldier returns from the frontline and becomes a deserter for the sake of love. Epic tale about the fragility of emotions in World War One.
Ingmar Bergman / Ingmar Bergman / Ingmar Bergman
Schweden / 1971 / 55 Min.
Director(s): Stig Björkman
This fascinating and restored Ingmar Bergman portrait was shot during the American coproduction of “The Touch” in 1971.
The Memory of Ingmar Bergman / Minnet av Ingmar Bergman / Erinnerung an Ingmar
Finnland / 2018 / 57 Min.
Director(s): Jörn Donner
Producer and documentary filmmaker Jörn Donner takes a highly personal look back at his friend Ingmar Bergman. The film includes rare archive material.
The Purity of Vengeance / Journal 64 / Verachtung
Dänemark / Deutschland / 2018 / 119 Min.
Director(s): Christoffer Boe
Chief inspector Carl Mørck is back. “The Purity of Vengeance” is the thrilling film adaptation of the bestseller by acclaimed Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen.
The Touch / Beröringen / Die Berührung
Schweden / USA / 1970 / 115 Min.
Director(s): Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s restored love story from 1971 with Elliot Gould, Max von Sydow and Bibi Anderson hadn’t seen a public screening for over 40 years.
U – July 22 / Utøya 22. juli / Utøya 22. Juli
Norwegen / 2018 / 95 Min.
Director(s): Erik Poppe
Controversial drama about an 18-year-old girl during the July 22, 2011 mass murder on the Norwegian island of Utøya. The film was shot in real time in one take.