23rd year of Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles (SFFLA) goes virtual again due to Covid-19 surge; the festival has great line-up of Oscar submissions and short-listed films

By Oliver Carnay

Scandinavian Film Festival L.A. runs three-weekends: 

January 6 – 9

January 13 – 16

January 20 – 23

Get tickets at www.sffla.net

For more than twenty years, Best Foreign Language film contenders and award-winning features, shorts, and documentary films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Baltic neighbors Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia has been screening at the Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles (SFFLA), yearly housed at the Writers Guild of America Theater in Beverly Hills, but due to the pandemic, the Scandinavian House in New York has been helping SFFLA screen it virtually online.

Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, this year 2022, the festival will run with three-weekends, mostly Oscar contender and shortlisted films.  The three weekends starts on January 6 through 9, followed by the weekend of January 13 through 16, and finally on January 20 until the 23rd.

One of the films I have already seen (and one of my favorites) is the Oscar shortlisted “LAMB” from Iceland.  This film will screen online from January 13th – 16th 2022.  Dir. Valdimar Jóhannsson’s debut feature, which won the Cannes Un Certain Regard prize of originality last year (2021), stars Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason in the story of a childless farming couple in rural Iceland who make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn and face the consequences when they defy the will of nature. Lamb delivered the highest opening weekend for an Icelandic release in North America and has now grossed $2.7m in the territory via A24. Iceland has only been nominated once so far in this category – in 1992, with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s Children Of Nature – and also made the shortlist in 2013 with Baltasar Kormakur’s “The Deep.” 

Another film that is raving reviews is Denmark’s Oscar submission (also shortlisted) is “FLEE.”  The film is screening from January 13 through 16.  Following its win last year for Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” Denmark has another strong contender in the shape of Rasmussen’s animated documentary, which has made the Oscar shortlists for both international feature and documentary. Flee tells the story of an Afghan refugee, on the verge of marriage, who is compelled to reveal his hidden past for the first time. Flee debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it won #Sundance grand jury prize in the Wor#sundance Documentary competition, and has gone on to win best documentary and best animated feature at the European Film Awards.

The final film in Joachim Trier’s Oslo trilogy and Norway’s Oscar entry “The Worst Person in the World” (also shortlisted) is screening from January 6 through the 9th.  Lead actress Renate Reinsve received the best actress prize in Cannes, and she went on to a European Film Awards nomination. Reinsve stars as a young woman navigating the troubled waters of her love life and her struggles to find a career path. Trier’s Reprise and Thelma were both submitted for this category – but neither made the shortlist. Norway did make the shortlist last year with Maria Sødahl’s “Hope,” and was last nominated in 2012 with Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki.

Also screening from January 6 through 9 is Finland’s “Compartment No. 6” (also shortlisted).  Juho Kuosmanen’s charming new film follows two strangers who form an unexpected bond while sharing a long train ride across Russia.  

These are only some of the European feature films that will be featured at the Scandinavian Film Festival Los Angeles (SFFLA).  You can stay home to watch some of the rare beautiful films you may have missed on regular theatre runs such as the films above. 

Go to www.ssfla.net to browse all the films and details on how to get individual or discounted tickets.