Different cinemas in London
This is the festival’s 60th anniversary, and they sure know how to celebrate. From 5 to 16 October you can choose between 380 features and shorts from 74 countries. Three of them are Norwegian.
The first Norwegian film to be screened is the jarring thriller, Pyromaniac, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, who is also known for the movie Insomniac:
Nineteen-year-old Dag has returned from military service to live with his parents in the small Norwegian village of Finsland. Introverted and quiet, he seems to sleepwalk through most of the usual interactions of community life. But his seemingly calm exterior hides deep passions, including a hypnotic obsession with fire. This eloquently crafted film, based on a true story, offers a thoughtful take on pyromania with director Erik Skjoldbjærg skillfully balancing the interplay between downbeat tone and flashes of drama. Dag’s rush from igniting his first fire at a local home is powerful yet quietly personal. And as he succumbs to his mania, lighting ever more fires, the village is gripped by fear. Can anyone bear to uncover the unthinkable truth that the pyromaniac might be one of their own?
The second movie Magnus is set to attract those fascinated by the Norwegian child prodigy, Magnus Carlsen, who has single-handedly placed Norway on the international chess map:
Current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is heralded the ‘Mozart of chess’. There is no doubting his prodigious talent. At 19, he became the youngest player to be ranked Number One. He clinched the World Championship title in 2013 just days before his 23rd birthday. His approach to the game is both creative and intuitive and this inspirational documentary charts Carlsen’s path from introverted jigsaw-and-Lego-obsessed young geek to the confident and victorious young man he is today. Drawing on a wealth of family home movies and ten years spent shadowing Carlsen, director Benjamin Ree crafts an incredibly rich film. Tense match footage sequences are coupled with innovative visual interpretations of Carlsen’s moves and game plans. It is also a gently moving film, where natural talent and tenacity are developed by the love and support of Carlsen’s unique family.
Finally, the third addition to the BFI poster is the beloved pair of Louis & Luca, or as Norwegians know them: Solan og Ludvig. These familiar characters have been a mainstay of Norwegian childhood since they first appeared on screen in 1975:
The citizens of Slidre and Flåklypa compete in an inter-town cheese race in order to solve a dispute. Our heroes, the magpie Louis and a hedgehog named Luca are so excited at the prospect of a win for their town Flåklypa that Louis makes a secret bet with the Slidrans; a loss would mean him giving up his home and the workshop of Reodar, their inventor friend. What starts off as a fun bit of rivalry becomes a high-stakes battle with dirty tricks aplenty as the competitors race towards the nail-biting finale. With plenty of humor and a cracking story, this stop-motion animation builds on Kjell Aukrust’s Norwegian Flåklypa stories, bringing them to life with flair and vitality.