In conjunction with the annual Swedish Teachers Conference, to be held at Harvard this October, we offer a small peek into contemporary Swedish filmmaking. The most recent festival of Nordic cinema, the Gothenburg Film Festival, showcased a new wave of “outsider” cinema with a decidedly multicultural perspective on Swedish culture. At once more realistic and provocative, these films challenge both the social and cinematic status quo and reveal a new generation of gifted makers. We thank the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, the Swedish Film Institute, and Alex Treitler for help and sponsorship of this series.
October 12 (Friday) 7 pm
October 15 (Monday) 9 pm
Directed by Reza Parsa
Sweden 2000, 35mm, color, 106 min.
With Per Graffman, Emil Odepark, Maria Lundqvist
Swedish with English subtitles
Exploring the unexpected ways in which the past can haunt in a world rife with incompatible moralities, Before the Storm is an emotionally loaded, accomplished feature debut from Reza Parsa, an Iranian-born director based in Sweden for the past twenty years. Parsa employs thriller elements to tell two parallel stories. Ali is a taxi driver of Middle Eastern origin living in provincial Sweden who has finally achieved an ideal of domestic happiness with his wife Clara and daughters Sara and Jenny. Twelve-year-old Leo is a boy in Sara’s class with a secret crush on her and a problem with an older bully who torments him. The taxi driver’s nightmare starts when shadows from his past catch up with him. Progressively, the stories of Ali and Leo intertwine, exploring how each protagonist resists oppression in his own way. Winner of the Silver Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival
October 19 (Friday) 7 pm
October 22 (Monday) 8:30 pm
Show Me Love is an uncoventional, cliché-free story of the sexual self-discovery of two teenage schoolgirls who have the misfortune to live in a small Swedish town called Amal. Agnes has failed to make friends after a year of living there, and attempts made by her parents to increase her popularity only serve to heighten her loneliness and their misunderstanding. Adding to her isolation, Agnes has developed a massive crush on Elin, the most popular girl in the school. The film’s original title, Fucking Amal, was deemed a too risqué for English-speaking world and was altered to reflect one of its principal themes. Show Me Love was the number one film in 1998 at the box office in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, outrivaling even Titanic.
October 26 (Friday) 8 pm
This unusual omnibus feature was initiated by the Gothenburg Film Festival a decade ago to chronicle not only the changing face of Sweden but also the work of important emerging figures within Swedish cinema. While the resulting film failed to stay within its stated temporal limits (ninety minutes), it succeeds in presenting a vivid time capsule of the culture as well as a set of provocative approaches to the medium. Highlights include Roy Andersson's opening segment "World of Glory," actress-turned filmmaker Gunnel Lindblom's "Reflection," émigré director Reza Parsa's "The 8th Song," and Daniel Alfredson's concluding "10:10."