Nordic Film Winter film festival starts

Long cold nights are made for hanging out in the cinema hall

Nordic Film Winter will present 19 recent films at kino Lucerna from Feb. 9 to 15, and then continue to a dozen other cities. The films with have English and Czech subtitles in Prague, Brno and Ostrava. In other cities, there will just be Czech subtitles.

The festival is one of two staged annually by the SFKlub (Nordic Film Club), a group of people interested in Nordic films. They feel Nordic cinema is underrepresented on Czech screens. The festival tries to represent all Nordic countries and genres evenly, so there are dramas, comedies and even a documentary.

The festival kicks off with House of Norway, a new drama about a refugee who comes to Norway seeking asylum, and winds up at a secluded academy where he must pass a series of tests in order to stay.

Dramas make up a large part of the festival. Standing out a bit is 1944, a war film from Estonia that tries to look at events on both sides as friends and families are torn apart. Finland's Off the Map finds a woman and a girl on the run from man leading a double life. Sweden and Norway co-produced Underdog, about a woman who goes from Sweden to Norway to find work. Sweden also offers Greetings from the North, Stockholm Stories and The Crown Jewels.

Romantic dramas offer some bittersweet escapism. Finland takes us back the 1980s with Love and Fury, about two young writers. Finland and Lithuania team up on 2 Nights Till Morning, where volcanic ash grounds air traffic and forces on a one-night stand to get extended. Sweden has young lovers on a road trip in Eternal Summer.

The Nordic countries aren't known internationally for their comedies, but they do make some. Denmark offers Comeback, featuring a comic trying to get back his former fame, but his attention-demanding daughter threatens his progress. Laughs continue with Høst: Autumn Fall and Heart of Lightness, two Norwegian films set in the theater world. The Finnish comedy Lapland Odyssey 2 follows the further adventures of a young couple, who now have a daughter who has gotten lost. Sweden's Simple Simon is an unlikely tale of an autistic boy who helps his brother find a girlfriend so routine can be restored. The final two comedies draw some attention by their titles alone. Sweden's Kiss Me You Fucking Moron and Norway's Women in Oversized Men's Shirts offer something for the cinematic adventurers.

There is one thriller and one documentary, rounding out the program. The Norwegian thriller Revenge is based on a story by Ingvar Ambjørnsen. A woman hides her identity to get close to a family that has a member who violated her sister. Sports is the subject of the Swedish documentary Nice People. A Somali bandy team struggles to reach the World Championship in Siberia. Bandy is a game related to ice hockey.

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