Lübeck, Oct. 19, 2020. The Nordic Shorts section of the 62nd Nordic Film Days Lübeck will present 24 short films from northern and northeast Europe, divided into four programmes – “Men’s Night Out”, “Europe, A Brief Exposé”, “Inventory of the Human Condition”, and “Alienation”, including 15 films that will celebrate their German premiere in Lübeck and two European premieres.
“2020 has so far been a year of many peculiarities, crises, and unpredictability. The Nordic Shorts are about a world not yet touched by the global pandemic, but nonetheless rife with conflicts. Both experienced filmmakers and newcomers use a critical eye to look at balances of power, to understand the perspective of marginalised people, or to spoof archaic societal structures. Whether in form or substance – the short films from the Nordic and Baltic countries are uncomfortable, odd, and quirky, and often succeed in providing a ray of hope”, says Sebastian Apel, curator of the short film section.
One thing the Nordic Shorts agree on is that the role model of the old, white males has outlived its usefulness. A critical look at various forms of toxic masculinity is front and centre in the films of the “Men’s Night Out” programme. That includes the affluent Norwegian sex tourist in “The Manila Lover” (NO/PH, 2019) who tries to turn his affair with a seemingly poor Filipina into a Euro-centric relationship, but founders on the reversal of the power structure. During a crime scene reconstruction with the perpetrator and a “Dummy” (LT, 2020), a female detective who takes her work seriously finds herself cut from the pack as the only woman among men lacking empathy. In two of the other short films, a female protagonist talks about how men have made her life more difficult. “Incidents – Way Home” (SE, 2019) is a series of scenes of constant threat; a woman in different stages of life is subject to the intrusive behaviour of men on the street. And in “Grab Them” (SE, 2020), 60-year-old Sally’s search for a partner is hampered by the fact that she looks like Donald Trump.
The shorts in the compilation “Europe, A Brief Exposé” explore society’s structures and probe the limits of our interrelationships. “Play Schengen” (NO, 2020) is about a video game intended to teach children the regulations of the eponymous European agreement, which was enacted to purportedly make it easy to cross inter-European borders. But in the end, the game designers are forced to admit that freedom of travel is not necessarily available to everyone. “Land of the Free” (SE, 2020) is also about European values. It addresses the issue of whether homophobia is in play when two young men making out in a field and hear passers-by laughing. And “Best Possible Life” (FI, 2020) takes a sceptical look at Finland, after the United Nations names it the best country in the world to live in for the second time in a row. The filmmakers use an experimental collage of observations of everyday life and commentary by citizens to put into perspective the exuberant feelings of happiness of their fellow citizens, between sporting triumphs and consumer frenzy.
The third compilation programme of shorts takes an “Inventory of the Human Condition” and illuminates transgressions and precipices, alongside love and desire. The film “The Explosion of a Swimming Ring” (FI, 2019) sketches a family of three on a day trip to a waterpark. While the parents are busy arguing, they lose sight of their small daughter, who disappears unnoticed from the water and the frame. The somewhat more humorous “Swimmer” (SE, 2020) is also set at a pool. Two policemen try to question a man who is suspected of fleeing the scene of an accident. But the passionate swimmer categorically refuses to get out of the pool. “The Last Day” (FI/SE, 2020), by contrast, is an experimental musical. It tells a tale in song of two lovers who are spending their last 24 hours together – with sex, eating and drinking, and intimate conversation. Then there’s the supermarket customer in “Verdict 30001” (FI, 2020) whose plan to buy a package of cookies leads to disaccord in his subconscious – which then escalates into armed conflict.
The fourth programme of short films is about “Alienation”. One such gap is between father and son in “Crocodile Tears” (DK, 2020). After years of never seeing each other, they try a rapprochement, but are unable to establish an emotional connection. Meanwhile, “Commission” (LT, 2019) poses the question of whether the Lithuanian language will survive in everyday usage. It takes a look at the state commission for the Lithuanian language, which has for years been at the centre of fierce public debate. The ultimate alienation is perhaps to be found at New York’s potter’s fields, where the city’s unknown, unclaimed, and indigent are buried in pauper’s graves, depicted in black-and-white time-lapse images in “Waste No. 4 New York, New York” (FI/US, 2019). And finally, alienation in the strictest sense of the term is in evidence in “Zorg II” (EE, 2019), about an extra-terrestrial who comes to Earth to launch a career as a star of sci-fi blockbusters.
The full programme of the 62nd Nordic Film Days will be available on October 22, 2020 at the festival homepage. Advance ticket sales for screenings in Lübeck’s cinemas and other venues, as well as for online streaming begin on Nov. 1, 2020 at 1pm. Tickets will be available online at www.nordische-filmtage.de and www.cinestar.de and at the box office of the CineStar Filmpalast Stadthalle Lübeck. Streaming access can be purchased via our partner platform Culturebase. Further details and news are available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / nordicfilmdays, and our YouTube channel.
Press and Publicity Department
Nordische Filmtage Lübeck