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GÖTEBORG 2021

Göteborg Film Festival announces its programme and gets ready to ship one viewer to a remote island

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- The largest film festival in Scandinavia, predictably going online owing to the pandemic, will open with Zaida Bergroth's Tove

Göteborg Film Festival announces its programme and gets ready to ship one viewer to a remote island
Tove by Zaida Bergroth

The 44th edition of the Göteborg Film Festival (29 January-8 February) will show 70 films from 39 countries. But while this year's focus is, unsurprisingly, on social distances, the event is set to push the idea even further by introducing “The Isolated Cinema” – an initiative that allows, among other things, one “solitary film enthusiast” to experience the festival's offering on the island of Pater Noster for a duration of seven days. The prospect of “no phone, no family, no friends” didn't discourage many applicants, though.

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“We talked a lot about how this pandemic has affected us and our film experiences, and we wanted to experiment with that,” says artistic director Jonas Holmberg. “Take that to the extreme by giving one person access to our 60 premieres and nothing else. This island is far out in the sea; it's just a tiny rock. I am very curious to see how this person will respond to our film programme and how it will differ from what other people experience.”

Back on the mainland, seven films will be competing in the Nordic Competition, starting with Thomas Vinterberg's Another Round [+see also:
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(Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands), a recent favourite at the European Film Awards. It will be followed by Tigers [+see also:
film review
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interview: Ronnie Sandahl
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(Sweden/Italy/Denmark) by Ronnie Sandahl, Persona Non Grata [+see also:
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interview: Lisa Jespersen
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by Lisa Jespersen (Denmark), Gritt [+see also:
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interview: Itonje Søimer Guttormsen
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by Itonje Søimer Guttormsen (Norway), Ninja Thyberg's Pleasure [+see also:
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interview: Ninja Thyberg
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(Sweden/Netherlands/France), Sweat [+see also:
film review
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interview: Magnus von Horn
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by Magnus von Horn (Poland/Sweden) and, finally, the Finnish-Swedish effort Tove [+see also:
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interview: Zaida Bergroth
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, helmed by Zaida Bergroth and also chosen for the prestigious opening slot. Focusing on the life and loves of the creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, it's also Finland's Oscar submission.

“I certainly hope that Tove will be embraced – it will be very interesting to see how it goes,” Bergroth told Cineuropa. “Sweden played a hugely important role in Tove Jansson’s life: her mother was Swedish, and Tove studied and spent a lot of time there. I feel like both the Finns and the Swedes feel the same kind of pride when it comes to her; like she belonged to both of us. I’m happy to share her, and I’m hoping for the best for our film!”

Finland will also be represented by Virpi Suutari's latest film, Aalto [+see also:
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, joined in the Nordic Documentary Competition by A Song Called Hate by Anna Hildur (Iceland), Be My Voice by Nahid Persson (Sweden/Iran/USA/Norway/UK), Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Flee [+see also:
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(Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway), Maciej Kalymon’s Into the Fog (Sweden) and Firouzeh Khosrovani's Radiograph of a Family [+see also:
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(Norway/Iran/Switzerland). The Ingmar Bergman Competition, awarding “a debuting filmmaker who in their film treats an existential theme with a dynamic or experimental approach to the cinematic means of expression”, will play host to the likes of Gagarin [+see also:
film review
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interview: Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Tr…
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by Jérémy Trouilh and Fanny Liatard (France), Liborio by Nino Martínez Sosa (Dominican Republic/Puerto Rico/Qatar), Li Dongmei’s Mama [+see also:
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interview: Li Dongmei
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(China/France), Ben Sharrock's Limbo [+see also:
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interview: Ben Sharrock
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(UK), The Last Bath [+see also:
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by David Bonneville (Portugal/France) and The Salt in Our Waters [+see also:
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by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit (Bangladesh/France).

The Square [+see also:
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interview: Ruben Östlund
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helmer Ruben Östlund will be given the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award, with other recognisable names to be found in the International Competition, which will be showcasing the San Sebastián winner Beginning [+see also:
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interview: Dea Kulumbegashvili
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by Dea Kulumbegashvili (Georgia/France), Never Gonna Snow Again [+see also:
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interview: Małgorzata Szumowska and Mi…
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by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert (Poland/Germany), Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings [+see also:
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interview: Philippe Lacôte
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(France/Ivory Coast/Canada/Senegal), Quo vadis, Aida? [+see also:
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interview: Jasmila Žbanić
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by Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Austria/Romania/France/Netherlands/Germany/Poland/Norway/Turkey), Charlène Favier’s Slalom [+see also:
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interview: Charlène Favier
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(France/Belgium) and Emma Dante's The Macaluso Sisters [+see also:
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(Italy). However, as pointed out by Holmberg, nothing will prepare viewers for Frida Kempff's Knocking [+see also:
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interview: Frida Kempff
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(Sweden), which will celebrate its European premiere and bring the festival to a close with the story of a woman who tries to venture out on her own after a traumatic event, only to be driven crazy by the relentless noises coming from the floor above her apartment. “Yes, we will end on a darker note,” he laughs.

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