Spotlight on Scandinavian cinema: Chicago Film Festival

Photo: gdcgraphics / Wikimedia Commons Actor / director Liv Ullmann at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.

Photo: gdcgraphics / Wikimedia Commons
Actor / director Liv Ullmann at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.

Kenneth Nordan

The 50th Chicago International Film Festival presents Spotlight Scandinavia, the fourth year of the World Cinema Spotlight Program. This year’s program highlights the exciting, rich, and diverse range of contemporary cinematic cultures across the five Nordic countries. A selection of highly acclaimed films features innovative works and exciting new voices as well as cinematic classics from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

For fifty years, the Chicago International Film Festival has provided audiences the unique opportunity to see thousands of groundbreaking, highly acclaimed, and thought-provoking films from around the globe. Films from Scandinavia have been an important part of this tradition, and have included films by Swedish director Jan Troell, Bent Hamer (Norway), Pirjo Honkasalo (Finland), Baltasar Kormákur (Iceland), and Niels Arden Oplev (Denmark), among many others.

This year, Norwegian director and actress Liv Ullmann will attend Opening Night Festivities to present her tour de force Miss Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg’s classic play. Ullmann, the most internationally recognized and renowned Norwegian actress, will be in attendance for the Opening Night Gala screening and red carpet event on Thursday, October 9, the day we celebrate Leif Erikson Day here in the United States.

In total, Spotlight Scandinavia will present 20 feature-length films and a program of eight short films, many of which will be competing for awards in the International Feature, New Directors, Docufest, and Short Film Competitions. The lineup includes several retrospective screenings of important past award-winning films from the Festival, including a new digital restoration of Here’s Your Life as well as Lars von Trier’s Academy Award nominated Breaking the Waves, presented at the Festival in 1996.

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival runs October 9-23, 2014. Films will be shown at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St). For more information and ticketing, visit

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 26, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.