"We need Europe"
by Valentina Di Michele
- We meet the Swedish documentary and drama director. She has presented her Hanna med H, in Rome, a story of a young girl in search of identity
In 1987, the director of documentaries and dramas, Christina Olofsson, was given a Special Mention by the children’s jury at the Berlin Kinderfilmfest for her work Sanning eller konsevens. Her interest in the world of youngsters is once again takes the centre stage in her latest film, Hanna con H - A Different Way, presented in Rome during the ongoing Festival of New Swedish Cinema.
"A Different Way is the story of a young girl and her search for identity. Hanna is a vulnerable girl, but she pretends to be strong, at least on the outside. She things she knows how to find things out, about herself, about what she wants to be and to do.
In the film she meets a boy and a man, a forty-year-old who seems to have a lot of respect for her, even though, in reality, he’s not what he seems. It’s a story of growing up, as well as a thriller, an investigation into the world of a young girl who’s becoming an adult, her fears, her desire to find herself, but it’s also a love story.
I’ve always been very interested in stories about young people, their way of understanding life, their desires. There’s a lot to tell, there are really great stories that no one ever touches, not in Sweden, nor in the Nordic countries, not in Italy or even the rest of Europe”.
Swedish cinema has been going through an extraordinarily fruitful time in the recent past, but along with the highs, there have also been some lows, while the industry is waiting for a new cinema law to regulate the crucial system of funding, due in 2004. How do you see the future?
"I’m optimistic, it’s always been that way, a continual roller coaster between highs and lows. A lot depends on your expectations, and also on the public you’re trying to attract.
But I think we should see ourselves as being lucky, we’ve fought a lot and we’ve obtained very good results. We have a good system of state funding and I’m sure that thing will get even better in the future ".
Do you think that technology, and particularly digital, can help your cinema?
"I really don’t know what to say. I still say that the most important thing is the story and not the way you tell it. Obviously video and digital are a big help for youngsters, and that’s fine. For the moment we’re waiting for a Cinematographic Agreement, but I’m optimistic, we’re part of the European Union and the discussions about supporting cinema are on the rise.
There are 9 million people living in Sweden, we need Europe to grow together, to explore new media, there’s still a lot to be done".
What do you think about the current distribution of Swedish films in Europe?
"As far as I’m concerned, there was a lot of positive reaction to A Different Way at the Viareggio Festival and I made some good contacts, even though we’re still a long way off from a formal agreement. In more general terms I’m satisfied with the circulation of our cinema in Europe, but there’s still more work to do to enable a wider and better distribution. Things are going well at the moment, and they can do ever better in the future.
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