Swedish documentary film continues its streak of success. Today the Danish CPH:DOX festival released its full program, with a record number of thirteen Swedish films selected. New docs by directors Fredrik Gertten, Erik Gandini, Mia Engberg, Emily Norling, Mikael Cee Karlsson, Carl Olsson, Tove Pils, Roxy Farhat and Göran Hugo Olsson amongst others will compete at the festival, which is set to start on March 15.
Read more about the films in the new issue of Swedish Film, published by our International Department: Swedish Film #1– 2023
The Swedish line-up at CPH:DOX:
A Tiger in Paradise by Mikel Cee Karlsson (world premiere)
After Work by Erik Gandini (world premiere)
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within a few decades. As machines and AI outperform humans, we may soon have to rethink the role work has in our lives as the central piece of our existence, our highest goal in life. The approach of this documentary is existential, curious and cinematic. Exploring through characters and stories in four continents, what work is today or, rather, what it could be. Produced by Jesper Kurlandsky / Fasad with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Klara Grunning.
Motherland by Hanna Badziaka and Alexander Mihalkovich (world premiere)
Svetlana travels the country seeking justice for her son’s death during his military service, as young Nikita apprehensively begins his own conscription. These two stories frame a rage in the streets against state-led violence rooted in “dedovshchina” — the cruel system of abuse that is the very mechanism of fear Belarus uses to control its populace. Produced by Mario Adamson and Ashley J. Smith / Sisyfos Film with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Anna Weitz.
Vintersaga by Carl Olsson (world premiere)
A song-based mosaic of 24 meticulously framed situations in which a rich blend of souls juggle doubts, memories, textures, and dreams. Ultimately, the bitter cold winds shape a nation towards a bittersweet melancholy. Produced by Antonio Russo Merenda / Ginestra Film, co-produced with Film i Väst and Filmpool Nord amongst others, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Cecilia Lidin.
Breaking Social by Fredrik Gertten (world premiere)
All societies are based on the idea of the social contract. We give up a part of our individual freedom to get protection from our state. We elect representatives to govern us. We study, we work, we pay taxes. It should pay off, but then we have the rule breakers – who make the real profit, extracting wealth, creating a frustration and division in society. Produced by Margarete Jangård / WG Film with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Jannik Splidsboel, and Film i Skåne.
La Société du Spectacle by Roxy Farhat and Göran Hugo Olsson (world premiere)
A visual and humorous adaptation of Guy Debord’s 1967 classic essay La Société du Spectacle, unpacking the fucktangular dynamics of alienation, powerlessness and emptiness under the tr(i)ump(h) of capitalism and information technology. Today, the divine act of consuming things we do not need has gone beyond a meaningless recreational activity; it has become a new spiritual world order, unyielding even to the climate crisis that threatens our future existence. Produced by Tobias Janson and Melissa Lindgren / Story with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Klara Grunning.
New Centuries Are Rare by coyote (world premiere)
A short film by Danish-Swedish artist collective coyote, New Centuries are Rare establishes a timeline from the 1900s miner strikes to the establishment of the electronic music festival in Norberg a hundred years later, when the rave scene moved into the old industrial buildings. With shots stretching from the political struggles of miners in the unions of the time to the post-industrialisation of today, it's a video work shrouded in the fumes of both mining and smoke machines, illustrated by clips from the early rave parties that laid the foundations of alternative club culture in the 1990s as a place not only for hedonistic escapism, but for political activity in theory and practice.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere by Max Göran (world premiere)
Over the course of a hot summer evening, teenagers in a remote, provincial Swedish town meet in parking lots to hang out in their cars. We recognize the mythical scene from Rebel Without a Cause and the thread to 1950s hotrod and rockabilly culture. But in Sweden’s enduring ‘raggar’ culture, people drive Volvos, and preferably ones they’ve built themselves into rolling discos in areas where youth clubs are far apart. Artist Max Göran revisits the culture in a documentary video work that starts as a piece of gonzo-anthropology and mutates into magical realism.
Megaheartz by Emily Norling (world premiere)
Have you ever had the feeling that you need to restart your life? Megaheartz is a hybrid documentary about four women who desperately need to start over. Jaquline is a singer born in the north of Sweden. She oscillates between visits at Grand Hotel and living on the street. Emma is obsessed with her pen pal Ernie, he wants her to come to Miami and leave everything behind. Sofie is convinced that she is a bad person, she holds on to her ex’s bdsm rope and feels tied to the past. And then there is me, Emily, I started this quest because I was stuck and needed a way out. This is my attempt to break free. Produced by Tobias Janson and Melissa Lindgren / Story.
Hypermoon by Mia Engberg (international premiere)
Mia, the director, receives life-altering news and takes a journey through her own history. We follow a child astronaut’s lonely travels through space, and ageing gangster Vincent, who, while moving away from his violent life, makes a find in his basement. An intimate and poetic story about memory and the fragility of existence, this is the third and final part of the Belleville trilogy, that started with Belleville Baby (2013) and was followed by Lucky One (2019). Produced by Tobias Janson / Story with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Hanna Lejonqvist.
Labor by Tove Pils (international premiere)
Hanna is bored by the queer scene in her small Swedish hometown. She dreams of moving to San Francisco to explore her sexuality, a city where everything seems to be possible. Finally there, Hanna instantly falls in love with the place – the hills, the atmosphere, but most of all the people. This is her chance to become who she really wants to be. Produced by Melissa Lindgren / Story in co-production with Film i Väst, and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioners Anna Weitz and Cecilia Lidin.
100 Seasons by Giovanni Bucchieri
Two dancers, once lovers, now go about their separate lives. Giovanni can’t help reliving his first love via a collection of home videos he projects on his wall. Louise, now a director, is projecting her bad memories on her production of Romeo and Juliet. Incorporating documentary footage of irresistible throes of young love, debut director Giovanni Bucchieri has produced an expressionistic melodrama that keeps one foot in beguiling reality as we follow his protagonists and yearn for a reunion. Produced by Isabella Rodriguez and Daniel Oliva Andersson / French Quarter, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Juan Pablo Libossart.
And the King Said, what a Fantastic Machine! by Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck
Filmmakers Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck (Ten Meter Tower) widen their lens to measure the depth of humanity’s infatuation with framing the world through the camera; chronicling how we went from capturing the image of a backyard to a multi-billioneuro content industry in just 200 years. And the King Said, what a Fantastic Machine! recently won the Jury Prize – Creative Vision at Sundance and is currently screening at Berlinale. Produced by Danielson and Van Aertryck, executive produced by Erik Hemmendorff and Ruben Östlund / Plattform Produktion, in co-production with Film i Väst amongst others.
Praying for Armageddon by Tonje Hessen Schei – world premiere in F:act Award. Swedish co-producer Ove Rishøj Jensen / Auto Images, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Klara Grunning.
Blix, Birds & Bombs by Greta Stocklassa – world premiere in F:act Award. Swedish co-producer Mario Adamson / Sisyfos Film, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Cecilia Lidin.
A Silent Story by Anders Skovbjerg Jepsen – world premiere in Nordic:Dox. Swedish co-producer Martin Persson / Anagram, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Juan Pablo Libossart.
CPH:DOX is set for March 15-26. Read more here.
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