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Scandinavian movies hit Nepal

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012


Who would have thought I would encounter a bunch of Nordic films during my stay in Nepal?

KIMMF sign

The Nepal-Nordic partnership started two years ago when Juhani Alanen, executive director of Finland’s Tampere Film Festival, came across the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF). Last year, Alanen was here with two programs of Finnish short films and earlier this year, some Nepali films were screened in Tampere –among them, ‘The Sari Soldiers’.

Now, at the 10th edition of KIMFF, Alanen brought along seven Nordic short films, which were screened at the City Hall. Despite the geographic and cultural differences between the audience and movie, the films’ permissive and tolerant genre seems to reach out well to the cinema-goers in Kathmandu –particularly the humour.

The Finnish opening, Perkele, illustrates the commonly used swear word –suitable for most occasions it seems– in a number of ways. All with that dry Finnish mentality that also can be seen in Kaurismäki’s movies.

The Lodge, awarded Best Short Film in Sweden 2005, is best described as a parody of reality shows somewhere between Survivor and American Idol with a pinch of 70’s romanticism. The setting is one of Sweden’s national treasures: the country cottage, where a group of friends are invited to stay by the narrator. Friends of Moodyson’s Together will recognise the satire between the lines.

The one-minute long NorwegianOut of Place’ mocks the Swedish fashion retailer H&M. The 23 minutes long ‘45 CM’, an experimental film about personal space, seems a bit hard to digest for the audience, while the last film, United We Stand, and its hiking old men invites laughter.

Last year’s films were a bit lighter, says Alanen when I talk to him after the screenings. Some of today’s films were indeed slightly abstract. When I ask about the naked scenes that appear in several of the movies, and how these were received by the audience, Alanen refers to the Islandic movie ‘Smafulglar’ which sensibly, yet painfully, touches upon teenage love, drugs, and rape.

“’The Smafuglar’ (small birds), is actually my favourite. People don’t talk about these things, and maybe they do now, but they don’t [talk about it]. I think it’s good to see the experiences of children today, how their lives are, especially in the Western [society] but also here, for all the worse,” he says.

Next year, Alanen hopes to get a feature length documentary to the festival in Kathmandu. But first, a holiday in India awaits, before he gets busy selecting films for the 2013 festival in Tampere.

Alanen, who sits in the jury of the KIMFF, has seen most of the films at the festival but wants to keep his all-time favourite a secret a bit longer. “Come on, closing ceremony is tomorrow, I cannot tell you,” says Alanen with a big smile.

Watch The Smafuglar (Two Birds) trailer here


List of winners of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival

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