54. Nordic Film Days Lübeck: The 2012 Retrospective presents thrilling horror films from the North

Lübeck, 17.09.12 – This year’s Retrospective at the 54. Nordic Film Days Lübeck (31.10.-04.11.12) provides high tension with its programme “Cold Horror – Shudders and Dread in Scandinavian Cinema from 1921 to 2011”. The series fittingly opens at Halloween, on 31.October 2012, guaranteeing the audience a broad selection of pleasantly chilling films.

One-off special screenings of the silent film classics “Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror“ (1922) by F.W. Murnau and “Häxan” by Benjamin Christensen will be shown in churches. The restored version of “Nosferatu” is shown on 1. November at 8 pm in St. Petri Kirche zu Lübeck. Accompanied by a live music ensemble of students from the Lübeck Academy of Music under the baton of Prof. Franz Danksagmüller. “Häxan – Witchcraft Through the Ages” will be shown in Reformierte Kirche on 3. November at 8pm. This special film event will be accompanied by the unexpected sound and interpretations of the Gilbert Couché guitar duo from Hamburg. The “Häxan” screening is presented with the friendly support and cooperation of TT-Line (www.ttline.com).

Another undisputed classic is “Vampyr” by the Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. This first sound film by the director is a work full of oppressive intensity in its depiction of a man who suffers various nightmares, including visions of his own funeral and paranormal experiences. Dreyer’s Films is skilfully interspersed with subtle hints and hunches.

Jörg Schöning, Head of the Retrospective, is pleased about the mixture and broad range of this year’s programme, that is bound to appeal to fans of the genre and those willing to discover the films of this series alike: “There are numerous popular cinematic works throughout Scandinavian film history that were inspired by Nordic myths and legends, with narratives based on paranormal events. They range from gripping entertainment to highly individual artistic arrangements within the genre’s parameters.”

A number of famous directors have turned their attention to the horror genre at some point in their oeuvre: Ingmar Bergman’s “Hour of the Wolf” (Vargtimmen) from 1966 tells the story of a painter and his wife, who live on a remote island. Nightmarish visions drag them into a maelstrom of insanity. In Lars von Trier’s famous series “The Kingdom” from 1994, insanity and the supernatural rule beneath the white linen and behind the closed doors of Copenhagen’s city hospital. The festival is showing part 1 of the series, split into two separate blocks.

Gems from the 1950s, “The White Reindeer” (1952) by Erik Blomberg recounts the legend of a white reindeer from Lapland, while “Lake of Death” (1958) by Kåre Borgstrøm tells the tale of six people from Oslo who travel to a remote cabin, scene of an earlier murder drama, where they are confronted with mysterious occurrences.

The series also features several modern genre films. Tomas Alfredson’s highly successful film “Let the Right One In” (2008) about “biting” events in Stockholm shows 12-year-old Oskar accompanying his enigmatic new neighbour’s daughter on her nightly forays. This first cinema film by the Swedish director is based on the cult novel by Jon Ajvide Lindqvist.

Slightly larger creatures form the subject of “The Troll Hunter” (2010) by André Øvredal. A would-be “docudrama” about the elaborate efforts undertaken by the Norwegian government to conceal the sensational news that trolls actually exist - and always have existed - in Norway.

The Danish feature film “Cecilie” (2006) is a classic thriller. Director Hans Fabian Wullenweber’s film is about a couple that moves to the provinces. Here the wife, Cecilie, becomes subject to strange happenings. Somebody is trying to contact her, but who? She is tortured by memories of events that lie 30 years in the past. Cecilie realizes that she must face up to the secrets of the past.

“Marianne” (2011) by the Swedish filmmaker Filip Tegstedt is a psychological horror film about a broken family in Östersund, that fathoms the border between imagination and reality. One night the film’s protagonist Krister returns home from a woman whom he knows to be dead. But with Krister you can never be sure if he is seeing real objects or hallucinating.

Last but not least, the Retrospective presents the Icelandic film “The House”, which was shown at the festival in 1983. After moving into an old house, a young couple is confronted with strange occurrences. It seems as though the house is exerting ever more power over them. Egill Eðvarðsson’s film was Iceland’s 1984 Oscar© candidate.

Please find all screening times and programme details of the Retrospective of the 54. Nordic Film Days Lübeck at www.filmtage.luebeck.de as of end October.

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Silke Lehmann
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Nordic Film Days Lübeck
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