Severský filmový podzim starts at Lucerna

A festival of Scandinavian and other northern films offers a few recent gems

Fans of Scandinavian film have something to look forward to. A festival called Severský filmový podzim, or Northern Film Autumn, starts Nov. 11 and runs until Nov. 16 in Prague. It will later play in 11 other Czech cities. Films will have English subtitles in addition to Czech ones in Prague, Brno and Ostrava.

The festival has a wide panorama of recent films from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Lithuania. Some 18 films will be shown in Prague at kino Lucerna, and tickets for each film are Kč 110.

The festival kicks off with A Man Called Ove (Muž jménem Ove). The Swedish comedy looks at an unexpected friendship between a grumpy old man who keeps watch of the neighborhood and some new residents.

Another Swedish offering is Hotel (Hotel) from 2013. A woman with a promising career goes into therapy after a trauma upsets her life. The group decides to take drastic action by checking into a hotel where they can each face their issues in anonymity. The drama Stockholm Stories (Povídky se Stockholmu), also from 2013, finds five very different people whose lives interest one day.

The Danish film Idealist (Idealisten) takes us back to the Cold War, with a whistleblower looking into a nuclear accident that occurred in Greenland in 1968. The film is based on a true incident of a B-52 crash and the subsequent cover up. Another Danish film in the festival is Long Story Short (Dlouhý příběh ve zkratce), which follows a group of friends as they meet at several parties and events.

Horror fans won't want to miss the Norwegian film House (bDům), a tale set during World War II where two soldiers and prisoner take refuge in a house on a cold winter night. They are not as safe as they think.

A Norwegian comedy set near the Arctic Circle called Heart of Lightness (Srdce lehkosti) features actors attempting to film Henrik Ibsen's play The Lady From The Sea. The never-setting sun leads to tensions among the cast as the simple project turns into an ordeal for all involved. Also from Norway, the film Høst: Autumn Fall (Podzim) follows a theater director who wants to make changes in her life by starting some affairs.

From Finland, the drama Lapland Odyssey 2 (Laponská odysea - dámská jízda) continues the adventures of Janne and Inari, who now have a daughter named Lumi. Janne and Inari are each out with their friends, but plans are upset when Lumi goes missing. Personal drama continues in Reunion (Třídní sraz po finsku), another Finnish film. A 10th reunion of a 1972 high school class is thrown off when one classmate escapes from an asylum, where he has been since a school prank drove him mad. Chuck Berry makes and appearance in the film.

A documentary from Finland called Bikes vs Cars shows some activists who favor bicycles as a solution to environmental problems and a way to improve life in cities.

Lithuania has one entry in the festival. The Gambler (Hráč) is about an employee at the emergency service station who starts his own gambling operation to get out of debt. The film was Lithuania's submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards in 2015, but it was not nominated.

One of the Icelandic films is Back (Pozpátku), about two friends on a road trip that does not go as planned.

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