A Journey in a Thematic Triangle

in 44th Göteborg International Film Festival

by Hamed Soleimanzadeh

This year I had the pleasure of watching 7 films from the Nordic Competition section of the 44th Göteborg Film Festival.  Of course, I would have loved to watch the films on the big screen amidst an audience, but due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I was deprived of this opportunity.

Let me begin by saying that the common themes, which I discovered in all seven films are sexuality, women, and revenge. In fact, this thematic triangle played a pivotal role in the narration of all the films, as well as the characterizations of the scripts based on it.

In the following, I will try to briefly introduce the story of the films, the positive and negative points, and the dominant theme in them.

  • Sweat (2020)

This film is about an Instagram influencer with thousands of followers but who is gradually influenced by her family and social circumstances to make new decisions for her life. In Sweat, the issue of femininity and its relationship with social media are in focus.

The long introduction of the film, the familiar story, the predictable ending, and the artificial atmosphere are some of the main noticeable flaws of the film. On the other hand, the use of reflexive shots, Magdalena Kolesnik’s good acting, and the variety of locations are the positive points of the film.

In my opinion and without any doubt, this film was the weakest one of the seven films in the Nordic competition section.

  • Tove (2020)

Tove’s story is about the life of a creative Finnish lesbian artist who encounters special romantic events. In Tove, attention to the struggles lesbians face, especially regarding their role in artwork creation, is crucial.

Impressive beginning, professional set and costume design, amazing reconstruction of historical locations, as well as the use of various arts in advancing the narrative and classical aesthetics are the positive points of the film. The boring rhythm, limited dramatic events, and academic look at decoupage are the main negative points of the film.

  • Tigers (2020)

This film is about a Swedish football talent who is transferred to an Italian club and faces new troubles. The issue of revenge against the surrounding society and the struggle with fate is one of the most important central points of the film.

Its script with a hero journey pattern, believable acting, and rhythmic editing are the positive points. Repetitive decoupage, lack of new aspects in storytelling, and non-dramatic conversations are the negative points of the film.

  • Persona Non Grata (Hvor Kragerne Vender, 2021)

This film is about a writer who returns to her hometown for her brother’s wedding and encounters a new world. Dealing with issues from the point of view of a thoughtful woman strengthens the dramatic aspect of the film.

Professional cinematography, emphasis on rural atmosphere and dramatic characterization are the important and positive points of the film that have been executed properly.

  • Another Round (Druk, 2020)

This film is about a teacher, who finds the secret of a better life in  always being a little drunk. Paying attention to the principle of pleasure in life and revenge for mental suffering is the main idea of the script of the film, which is written brilliantly.

Admirable acting on behalf of Mads Mikkelsen’s, the lovely storyline of the script, and the innovative direction of Thomas Vinterberg are some of the things that have made the film a success among professional audiences and film critics.

  • Gritt (2021)

This film is about the heroic life of an artist who is seemingly unsuccessful but inwardly successful. Gritt helps us recognize the hidden aspects of a female being in artistic expression.

Impressive urban scenes, fluid narration, documentary and fictional execution, optical and physical movements of the camera, dramatic music, and attractive ending are the remarkable features of this film.

  • Pleasure (2021)

This film is about a Swedish girl who moves to the United States to enter the world of pornography and encounters strange experiences.

Having a profound and influential idea, trying to break sexual taboos, boldly entering to the world of pornography, and taking a critical look at this industry in terms of content and influential role-playing, directing and creating rhythmic scenes, correct reconstruction of the atmosphere, and creation of impressive scenes are the important aesthetic aspects of this film.

Hamed Soleimanzadeh
Edited by Savina Petkova