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A taste of Nordic filmmaking in Paris

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Cinéma du Panthéon in Paris

Cinéma du Panthéon in Paris

With the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and the Swedish presidency of the European Union, Nordic countries have been at the top of the news agenda recently. But now a slice of Sweden, Norway and Denmark has come to Paris for Ciné Nordica – a five-day film festival at Cinéma du Panthéon celebrating Nordic filmmaking.

Radio Feature: Culture in France

Radio France Internationale

Films from Scandinavia don’t usually top the box office, but for the second year of Ciné Nordica organisers hope that a showcase of Nordic films will give French movie lovers an opportunity to experience something a little bit different while they munch on their popcorn.

On the programme are films such as Nord, a movie about a former athlete who has isolated himself in the wilderness. The story follows its hero on an odd and poetic journey to meet his unknown son.

And Lønsj, a Norwegian drama by Eva Sørhaug, which follows the lives of five people in Oslo and a series of interconnected events.

Ciné Nordica organiser Maria Sjoberg-Lamouroux, says Nordic cinema has particular characteristics.

“The weather and the climate in the Nordic countries influences the character of the people,” she says. “It’s very special to be in an environment when you have so little light.”

Sjoberg, the founder of an organisation called Saga Nordica, also thinks that, “there’s a kind of humour that’s very particular in the Nordic countries, not alike humour in southern countries, or Catholic countries. It’s a little absurb, you don’t know if you should laugh or not.”

When asked about her picks of the festival, Sjoberg selects two films from Danish director Ole Bornedal, Just Another Love Story and Délivre-Nous Du Mal, which she says are “very special”.

Bornedal has directed English-language remakes, such as Nightwatch, a horror/thriller film starring Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Josh Brolin and Nick Nolte.

Danish film has also been groundbreaking in developing innovative movements such as Dogme 95, a concept created by Lars von Trier. Sjoberg describes its guiding principle as using “really the minimum”, with limited special effects, and restrictions on the camera and lights.

The festival includes more than ten long films, a series of short films and documentaries. It is providing musical entertainment, with the Swedish duo, The Tiny, warming up crowds before they take their seat in the auditorium. And French filmmaker Clare Denis, whose work has been described by some critics as “extraordinary”, will also be giving a special talk to cinema fans.

For next year, Sjoberg hopes that Ciné Nordica can extend its contacts with Finland and Iceland, and further develop, “cultural exchange between Nordic countries and France”.

Cine Nordica runs at Cinéma du Panthéon until 20 December 2009

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