The Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto (April 28th-May 8th) has selected five Norwegian films for its programme this year: Pål Refsdal’s Dugma: The Button, Aslaug Holm’s Brothers (Brødre), George Kurian’s The Crossing (Flukten), Erlend E Moe’s Dancing For You (Dans for livet) and Jørn Nyseth Ranum’s Northbound (Mot Nord).
Dugma: The Button
Embedded in an al-Qaeda unit on the front lines of the Syrian Civil War, director Paul S. Refsdal captures the stories of two “martyrdom seekers” about to embark on a suicide bombing. We meet Abu Qusawara, a well-fed Saudi with a passion for fried chicken, and Abu Basir, a bookish Brit whose fierce yearning for a martyr’s death is called into question when he becomes a husband and a father.
Few laments are as great as those of parents who wish time didn’t pass so quickly, that they could somehow enjoy their children just a little while longer. Not wanting to miss a moment, director Aslaug Holm begins filming her two young sons, capturing their milestones and emerging personalities, as well as her own maturation as a mother.
The Syrian refugee crisis continues to spill onto European shores, one boatful of desperate souls at a time. The Crossing takes us directly into the discussions, risk calculations and blind optimism of a group of Syrians as they plan their escape. Middle class, educated and full of life, these old friends weigh up smugglers and police raids as they pack their kids and few belongings to enter the cold, dark waters of the unknown.
Dancing For You
Twelve-year-old Vilde sets her sights on a championship dance title. Halling is a traditional folk dance practiced exclusively by men, but Vilde is intent on breaking through barriers and into the boy’s club. She believes that if she can show her cancer-stricken Grandpa how much she loves him and life itself by her dance, he will live longer than doctors have predicted.
Four skateboarders bring their urban equipment to the frozen sand beaches of northern Norway.