2023 Saxo Scandinavian Film Festival

The 2023 Saxo Scandinavian Film Festival, now in its ninth year, showcases the best contemporary cinema from the Nordic region, selected from international film festivals and markets such as Göteborg, Cannes, and Berlin.

A specially curated programme will be screening at Palace Cinemas, Luna Palace Cinemas and Palace Nova Cinemas from July to August, encompassing films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. 

The Festival opens with the Australian Premiere of Let the River Flow, based on true events and starring magnetic newcomer Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen. Festival Centrepiece Godland is award-winning Icelandic writer/director Hlynur Pálmason’s follow-up to his breakout hit A White, White Day. The Festival Special Presentation is Aki Kaurismäki’s tragicomedy Fallen Leaves, direct from the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Exploring the cultures, histories, and life in the Nordic region, the Scandinavian Film Festival brings high calibre and award-winning Scandinavian cinema to Australian screens this July, including a host of Australian premieres.

Festival Dates:

  • MELBOURNE: 13 July – 2 August
  • SYDNEY: 18 July – 9 August
  • CANBERRA: 19 July – 9 August
  • ADELAIDE: 19 July – 9 August
  • BRISBANE: 19 July – 9 August
  • PERTH: 20 July – 9 August
  • BYRON BAY: 20 July – 9 August

IML’s Pick

Let The River Flow (Ellos eatnu–La elva leve)

Let the River Flow is Sámi director Ole Giæver’s fourth feature and first since 2017’s From the Balcony (Fra balkongen). The film’s protagonist Ester has just returned home to Alta in Norway’s north to become a teacher. While staying with her mother, step-father, and half-brother, Ester’s cousin Mihkkal picks her up to drive her into town. On the ride, he says, “so auntie’s become Norwegian.” Ester is Sámi, the Indigenous people who have lived in the northern regions of what is now Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia for thousands of years. Her return takes place at an important time in recent Sámi history. Based on real events of the Alta Conflict, this ambitious film follows the Sámi resistance against the Norwegian government’s planned damming of the Alta river. While Mihkkal is an ardent activist, Ester—like her mother before her—shies away from engaging with her people and their struggles. We see why: the film demonstrates all too clearly the brutalities of forced assimilation and colonial domination that the Sámi have faced in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. As histories rarely known, let alone spoken of, outside of Scandinavia, Let the River Flow serves an important purpose in this regard; its exploration of land rights struggles will no doubt resonate with Indigenous peoples the world over. Despite the vastness of the film’s political themes, as viewers we stay close to Ester, witnesses to her transformation. As the realities of state violence and racism become too much for Ester to deny, it becomes clear that only by engaging in her people’s political struggle, can she truly be home.

Fathers and Mothers

(Fædre & mødre)

Four Little Adults

(Neljä pientä aikuista)

Godland (Volaða land)

Let The River Flow

(Ellos eatnu – La elva leve)

Shadow Island

(Wyspa cien)

For more information please go to www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com

About IML World Film & Festival Guide

The problem: It’s difficult to find one place where Australia’s many film festivals and other world cinema events are listed and regularly updated.
The solution: IML World Film & Festival Guide Below you’ll find a comprehensive guide to film festivals and other world cinema screen events across Australia.
The guide is updated regularly, so whether it’s a French New Wave retrospective, contemporary North African cinema, or the latest Italian smash-hit comedy, if it’s screening near you, it’s here.