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The Göteborg International Film Festival, Scandinavia’s largest public festival, has announced its official lineup for 2021, unveiling the films that will compete in its 44th edition, which runs Jan.29-Feb. 8.
Göteborg’s international competition section features several of the contenders for this year’s International Feature Oscar, including Poland’s entry Never Gonna Snow Again from directors Malgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert, Jasmila Zbanic’s Bosnian drama Quo vadis, Aida?, Georgia’s Oscar hopeful Beginning from director Dea Kulumbegashvili, and Philippe Lacote’s Night of the Kings, which is representing Ivory Coast.
Also picked for the international competition section are Charlène Favier’s Slalom, about a talented 15-year-old skier who is sexually exploited by her coach, and Emme Dante’s Italian drama The Macaluso Sisters, which follows a family of five sisters living together in Palermo which is hit by tragedy.
Some familiar names crop up in Göteborg’s Nordic Competition sidebar, which will feature Thomas Vinterberg’s Danish dramedy Another Round, already a local hit and an Oscar frontrunner, as well as Sweat, a Polish-set feature from Swedish director Magnus von Horn about a celebrity fitness motivator who has a moment of self-reckoning.
Götegorg’s Ingmar Bergman Competition, named after the legendary Swedish director of Scenes from a Marriage and The Seventh Seal, this year includes French feature Gagarine from directors Jérémy Trouilh and Fanny Liatard, Rezwan Shahriar Sumit’s Bangladeshi drama The Salt in Our Waters, and Limbo from British director Ben Sharrock.
Highlights of Goteborg’s Voyage sidebar include Florian Keller’s The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, Christian Petzold’s Undine, Naomi Kawase’s True Mothers, and the documentaries Notturno, from Gianfranco Rosi, and Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI.
The 44th Göteborg festival will be almost entirely online this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with films screening on the festival’s platform Draken Film. A few fans will be able to enjoy the cinema experience, however. Göteborg is inviting a single film fan to spend seven days alone on an isolated island in the North Sea, where they will be able to watch all 60 films in the 2021 line-up. The festival will also hold single-viewer screenings in two venues: the Draken cinema in Göteborg (capacity 707) and at the Scandinavium arena, the city’s 12,000-capacity ice hockey stadium.
To highlight the new experience of watching films under COVID-19 lockdown, the Swedish festival has a special focus this year on the theme of social distances, with films that examine the impact the pandemic has had on the world and our perspective of it. They include Luca Guadagnino’s documentary Fiori, Fiori Fiori!, Andrea Segre’s Molecules, and Visit, a new short from Chinese director Jia Zhangke (Ash is the Purest White).
The Finnish film Tove by Zaida Bergroth, a look at the life of Finnish artist Tove Jansson, creator of the beloved Moomins characters, will open the 44th Göteborg Film Festival on Jan. 29. Frida Kempff’s psychological drama Knocking will close the festival on Feb. 8.
This year’s Nordic Honorary Dragon Award, a Scandinavian cinema lifetime achievement honor, will go to Swedish director Ruben Östlund (The Square, The Triangle of Silence), who will host a Master Class during the festival.
Despite being mainly virtual, Göteborg will still hold its industry events, including the TV Drama Vision section, which runs Feb. 3-4, the Nordic Film Market (Feb. 4-6), and, on Feb. 4, will present the results of the Nostradamus report, an international initiative which analyzes changes in the global film industry and attempts to forecasts the future of the business.
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