Eight nominees have been announced for the prestigious Dragon Award for Best Nordic Film, the ceremony for which closes out the 45th Göteborg Film Festival (28 January – 6 February) accompanied by a prize fund of SEK 400,000.
The contenders are: So Damn Easy Going by Christoffer Sandler, Compartment No.6 by Juho Kuosmanen, Maya Nilo (Laura) by Lovisa Sirén, Excess Will Save Us by Morgane Dziurla-Petit, The Innocents by Eskil Vogt, Heartbeast by Aino Suni, As In Heaven by Tea Lindeburg and Lamb by Valdimar Jóhansson.
Last year’s recipient of the award was Sweden’s Oscar submission Tigers, directed by Ronnie Sandahl, whilst previous winners include Land Of Mine (2016), Sami Blood (2017), Amateurs (2018) Queen Of Hearts (2019) and Beware Of Children (2020).
Here are synopses and trailers for this year’s nominees…
So Damn Easy Going | Så jävla easy going
Directed by Christoffer Sandler
Starring: Shanti Roney, Emil Algpeus, Mats Blomgren
18-year-old Joanna’s brain is like a flashing amusement park and to function normally she needs ADHD medication. Which costs money. Which she doesn’t have because her father is severely depressed with sick pay that barely covers the rent. Joanna is forced to get creative to raise money while trying to figure out her newfound feelings towards classmate Audrey who makes her heart explode.
Compartment No.6 | Hytti nro 6
Directed by Juho Kuosmanen
Starring: Seidi Haarla, Yuriy Borisov
Set against the backdrop of 1980s Soviet Union, this film follows a young Finnish woman who flees a love triangle to take the Trans Siberian Railway. She is forced to share her journey with a Russian miner who hates the world, but the long journey brings them closer and changes their perspective on life.
Maya Nilo (Laura) | Sagres
Directed by Lovisa Sirén
Starring: Bahar Pars, Susan Taslimi, Fredrik Lycke
Feminist writer Nilo lives an orderly life with her husband and 13-year-old daughter Laura. But when her irresponsible sister Maya both “kidnaps” Nilo’s Volvo and daughter and heads south, Nilo tags along. The destination is Portugal, where the sisters’ complicated mother lives together with Maya’s son, who it is time to take responsibility for.
Excess Will Save Us
Directed by Morgane Dziurla-Petit
Starring: Marie-Christine Carlier, Morgane Dziurla-Petit, Bernard Petit
In a small village of the North of France, a terrorist attack alert has been triggered due to a combination of the hunting season beginning and an argument between drunk Polish workers. A film director returns to her home village and films her family members’ power dynamics, realising that they are more connected to this event than she first thought.
The Innocents | De uskyldige
Directed by Eskil Vogt
Starring: Rakel Lenora Fløttum, Alva Brynsmo Ramstad, Sam Ashraf
During the bright Nordic summer, a group of children reveal their dark and mysterious powers when the adults aren’t looking. In this supernatural thriller, playtime takes a dangerous turn.
Directed by Aino Suni
Starring: Carmen Kassovitz, Elsi Sloan, Adel Bencherif
17-year old aspiring rapper Elina is forced to leave Finland for the south of France when her mother gets a French boyfriend. She is immediately drawn to her new stepsister Sofia, a charismatic ballet dancer who leads a double life full of boys and drugs. But soon, Elina and Sofia’s friendship turns into a power game with toxic consequences.
As In Heaven | Du som er i himlen
Directed by Tea Lindeburg
Starring: Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl, Ida Cæcilie Rasmussen, Palma Lindeburg Leth
One day at the end of the 1800s, 14-year-old Lise’s life is changed forever. She is the eldest of her siblings, the first in her family to go to school and full of hope and confidence in life. But when her mother goes into labor, it quickly appears that something is wrong. As night falls and the labour progresses, Lise begins to understand that a day that began in childhood might end with her becoming the woman of the house.
Lamb | Dýrið
Directed by Valdimar Jóhansson
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snaer Gudnason
A dark and atmospheric folk tale about a childless couple who live on a remote sheep farm. When they discover a mysterious newborn on their farmland, they decide to keep it and raise it as their own, but while their new family brings them much joy, it ultimately destroys them as they face the consequences of defying the will of nature.