Crime and vampires driving Nordic film boom

Gone are the days of Greta Garbo and Ingmar Bergman.

Written by Reuters | Published:April 26, 2013 6:28 am

Gone are the days of Greta Garbo and Ingmar Bergman. It’s arty documentaries to brooding crime stories,Nordic movies and television shows are enjoying an international boom. Swedish documentary Searching for Sugar Man won an Academy Award for Best Documentary,Features. Two Swedish sound engineers also won Oscars and movies from Norway and Denmark were both nominated for best Foreign Language Film.

“Right now,here in Hollywood,we are talking about the Nordic trend because we have seen so much great stuff coming from there recently,” said Fredrik Malmberg,CEO of Paradox Entertainment,a production company based in Los Angeles and Stockholm. Scandinavia has in the past mainly been associated with arty,intellectual films. Searching for Sugar Man,the story of two die-hard fans seeking a missing-and-assumed-dead musician with a cult following in South Africa,fits well in that genre. “In Sweden,we have had Ingmar Bergman,but also others that have given Sweden a kind of aura — you can think of Garbo and Ingrid Bergman,” Anna Serner,Head of Sweden’s Film Institute.

In Denmark,you have Lars von Trier who is one of the world’s biggest directors. Finland has (Aki) Kaurismaki. But it is the darker side of Scandinavian culture which has been the building block of recent success. That has included the crime novels of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo and Sweden’s Henning Mankell,as well as the blockbuster Millennium trilogy of Stieg Larsson,of which The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was made into a Hollywood film with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been a big influence,” said Anna Serner,head of Sweden’s Film Institute. “When such a film breaks through then eyes turn to us. The interest started with Let the Right One In,and since then there has been a lot of interest in Swedish film.” Malmberg,who was executive producer on Let Me In,a 2010 Hollywood remake of moody Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In,said the success of Nordic crime novels had opened doors in Hollywood.

Tomas Alfredson,the director of Let the Right One In went on to direct Gary Oldman and Colin Firth in Cold War thriller Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy in 2011. “Any book that gets published in the genre is optioned the day it is produced,” he said,describing how Hollywood studios pay for the rights to turn novels into movies. “Hollywood is very observant,and picks up on trends,that’s what we do,” he said.

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