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About Endlessness (Om det oändliga) directed by Roy Andersson
About Endlessness (Om det oändliga) directed by Roy Andersson

Over six days from October 29 to November 3, the 61st Lübeck Nordic Film Days (Nordische Filmtage Lübeck) will host 283 screenings of a total of 196 films, featuring films by well-known directors and fascinating newcomers from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. The epicenter of the festival is the Competition section, which this year comprises 18 narrative features. 

Roy Andersson’s meditation “About Endlessness” (“Om det oändliga”), which recently won the directing prize at the Venice film festival, and Hans Petter Moland’s book adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” (“Ut å stjæle hester”), crowned with a Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival, are among the international highlights in Lübeck that will be joined by other masters of Nordic cinema. In “Master Cheng” (“Mestari Cheng”), Mika Kaurismäki serves up a cinematic delicacy, and in “The Birdcatcher’s Son” (“Fågelfångarens son”), Richard Hobert has directed an emotional family drama set in the Faroe Islands. Marius Holst, whose has won many awards in Lübeck, has set his absorbing, real-life political thriller in “Congo” (“Mordene i Kongo”), while Jesper W. Nielsen, also a Lübeck prize winner, depicts perfidy in the here and now in his psychological thriller “The Exception” (“Undtagelsen”). In the 56 mini-dramas that make up “Echo” (“Bergmál”), director Rúnar Rúnarsson assembles a fascinating mosaic of Icelandic society. In “The County” (“Héraðið”) Grímur Hákonarson, also represented in the Documentary section with “Little Moscow”, tells of a farming widow’s emancipating obstinacy, while Hlynur Pálmason’s “A White, White Day” (“Hvítur, hvítur dagur”) is about a widower who overcomes his sorrow by special means. The film’s lead actor Ingvar E. Sigurdsson (“Fantastic Beasts”) is expected as a guest in Lübeck.

In the best tradition of Ingmar Bergman, Estonia’s Martti Helde gives us “Scandinavian Silence” (Skandinaavia vaikus”). In “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” (“Koirat eivät käytä housuja”), Finnish director J-P Valkeapää takes us on a journey to the depths of extreme passion, and in May el-Toukhy’s “Queen of Hearts” (“Dronningen”), Denmark’s star actress Trine Dyrholm plays a woman who enters into a fatal affair. Meanwhile “The Spy” (“Spionen”), loosely based on the life of Norwegian actress Sonja Wiegert, is a woman caught between different men and opposing political interests. Under the direction of Jens Jonsson, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal shines in the title role, alongside Sweden’s Rolf Lassgård, and German Alexander Scheer, who gives an impressive performance as real-life Nazi Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven.

The Competition section is rounded out by four narrative film debuts not to be overlooked. Karolis Kaupinis takes his first bow with the historical satire “Nova Lituania”, while Ulaa Salim’s provocative political thriller “Sons of Denmark” (“Danmarks sønner”) is set in the near future. Directed by Mila Tervo, Finnish party girl “Aurora” is looking for a wife for an Iranian refugee, but above all, on the search for her real self. And in “Wind” (“Anori”) singer Nukâka Coster-Waldau plays a young woman in Greenland wavering between modern life and ancient myths. Director Pipaluk Kreutzmann Jørgensen is the first woman from Greenland to direct a narrative feature.

Lübeck audiences are already familiar with the films of directing duo Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. But with “Swoon” (“Eld och Lågor”), the two Swedes will be guests in Lübeck for the first time, here to open the Lübeck Nordic Film Days festivities on October 29, 2019.

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