This year’s Glasgow Film Festival takes place from 1st – 12th March. It’s described as one of the friendliest film festivals in the world, with a long tradition of championing new talent and celebrating world cinema as well as the best of Scottish film.
The festival brings us the best new releases, a host of old favourites, and some undiscovered gems – and here we have picked out our Nordic film highlights that will be showing. There are three very different but equally brilliant films from the stunning shores of Iceland, one Danish comedy drama, and one Finnish film that we are extremely intrigued by!
To find out more and how you can get involved, visit www.glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival.
1. A Letter From Helga | Iceland
We haven’t seen this one yet, but the film festival synopsis talks about the awe-inspiring landscapes of Iceland being showcased in this film, so we’re onto a winner already!
Set in the windswept mountains and fjords of our beloved Iceland, comes this film directed by Ása Hjörleifsdóttir. A Letter From Helga is an adaptation of a heartbreaking love story written by Bergsveinn Birgisson, who co-wrote the film script.
Set in the 1940s, Bjarni, who runs his family farm in an isolated, tight-knit community, and his wife, Unnur (Briem), are trapped in a childless marriage. Gossip is rife in the local community, as Bjarni has an affair with local farmer’s wife Helga, leaving him feeling conflicted and struggling to live with the consequences of his actions as they carry down the years.
2. Band | Iceland
We’ve been raving about this fantastic Icelandic mockumentary for a while now and finally those at the festival will not only be able to see the film, but also a performance from the band along with a Q&A!
This will certainly be worth your time if you fancy seeing a This is Spinal Tap/Flight of the Conchords-esque film that blurs the lines between reality and fiction.
Find out more about this fun Icelandic mockumentary by reading our interview with the film’s creator and band member.
3. Driving Mum | Iceland – UK Premiere!
The long-awaited new feature from Icelandic director Hilmar Oddsson is having its UK premiere at the festival, and is a wonderfully deadpan comedy filmed in black and white and set amidst some of Iceland’s rugged locations.
The year is 1980 and middle-aged Jon lives with his elderly, over-protective mother on a small fjord in northwestern Iceland. When she suddenly dies, she leaves specific instructions as to what to do – dress her in her Sunday best, apply her make-up and drive her in the back seat of his old car to all the places she never got to see. The trip becomes a winding, weird and wonderful life-changing experience for Jon.
We were lucky enough to watch this film back at the end of 2022, and we cited it as one to watch in 2023. You can read our article about the film, with quotes from the director when we spoke to him just after the film premiered at Tallinn Nights Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix prize.
4. Miss Viborg | Denmark
Mariane Blicher’s debut is a delightful comedy drama that showcases a wonderful debut from it’s lead star. The film follows the lives of two neighbours; one is a drug-pimping overweight loner, the other a rebellious teenager on the verge of adulthood. When their lives collide a journey begins, bringing both tears of laughter and sadness.
Look out for our interview coming soon with the film’s director who discusses how the film came to be and the discovery of her lead star.
5. Sisu | Finland
Sisu is part of the festival’s Frightfest and is being screened on the 9th March. We haven’t seen this yet but from what we have heard and from what we have seen in the recent trailer (watch out it shows a lot) we might well be discovering our first Nordic Rambo movie.
The Finnish concept of ‘Sisu’ means courage and determination in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds, and this action epic follows one mysterious man’s battle against Nazi soldiers in Lapland. Blood and spectacular gore ensues, on land, sea and air!
The film is directed by Jalmari Helander, who is behind the brilliant Rare Exports, and the film stars Askel Hennie and Mimosa Williamo.
A great selection of Nordic films showing at Glasgow Film festival! To find out more and how you can get involved, visit www.glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival.