Ok,hello again from Germany. I took a night off from updating the blog, but I do have a few films to mention. And they seem to be scattered from among the Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden.
Yesterday started off with a cool new Noirdic Noir called: A Conspiracy Of Faith (Denmark-2016-Crime Drama) d. Hans Petter Moland. I have been reading a lot of the literature of Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell, both writers in the Nordic crime scene. Recently I was introduced to another writer: Jussi Adler Olsen, and his Department Q series of novels featuring the character Carl Morck.
A Conspiracy Of Faith is the third instalment of the film adaptations taken from these books. I have viewed the first of these films(Keeper Of Lost Causes ),back in Canada, and was underwhelmed. For this Morck film, the producers have brought in a new director to take over the reins. Petter Moland has previously directed the Berlin Competition Films:The Beautiful Country (2004), and In Order Of Disappearance (2014).
The lead rôle of Carl Morck is abely played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, as is that of Assad (Fares Fares), and Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt).
The movie is an entertaining, procedural drama on the surface-but at its heart a meditation on the nature of faith in the modern world. Punctuated with scenes of black humour, the movie never misses a beat in following the story of the investigation of a past crime. A message in a bottle from 8 years ago starts Dept. Q on a search for answers to this cold case, and the mystery takes on even more importance with the dissapearence of two children.The cases seem to be linked, and Carl Mork suspects a serial killer is on the loose. The Dept. Q team must race to solve the clues from both eras, as two lives hang in the balance.
Recommended for lovers of Nordic Noir, and anyone looking for an entertaining yet thought provoking film experience
Alena (Sweden-2016) d.Daniel De Grado, this film was a lot of fun, a really great teenage drama, mixed effectively with elements of horror and psychological thriller. This movie marks the feature film debut of director Daniel Di Grado. Based on the graphic novel by Kim W Andersson, the film stars Amalia Holm (Alena), Molly Nutley (Filippa), and Felice Jankell (Fabienne).
The central story revolves around a young girl (Alena) from a poor background, who is transferred to an elite boarding school, as she struggles to adapt to this forgein environment ,keep the ghosts of her personal life at bay.
Part ghost story-coming of age drama-psychological thriller, the director De Grado peels the layers away from our main character, slowly revealing her most frightening and terrifying secrets. The setting of the film is in many ways an emotional wasteland for Alena, but she reaches out to try and capture what she desires in her heart: love and belonging. But the demons from her past and from within make this a a short lived moment of happiness.
Drifters (Sweden-2015-Drama) d. Peter Gronlund
Another feature film debut it seems:) Director Gronlund has previously made 5 short films, including The Clearing (2011), which was nominated for a Swedish Academy Award. With Drifters he has focused his original story on a character Minna (Malin Levanon), a drug addict and part-time dealer struggling to make ends meet. When an opportunity arises to rip off some much needed money froma local drug runner in Stockholm, she ends up on the run with a single alchoholic mother Katja (Lo Kauppi), and ends up in a small gypsy community of caravans on the outskirts of the city.
A down beat premise, but with a very real and truthful setting , the telling of the story and action never seem false, but grounded in a brutal honesty. And admidst this story of the lives of those living a life on the edges of the mainstream , in a volitale world where the precariousness of everyday existence in on full display, the story ultimately still finds the time to show us a glimmer of hope: that some basic goodness can remain at the heart of even those in need. And that friendship transcends.
Tomorrow I will update on the last few screening I am taking in including a couple episodes on a new Icelandic crime show: Case. Here is a niece interview with the director till then: Case
EFM at Berlinale ends for me on the 18th as I am off to Koln to see Ennio Morricone…