The 23rd edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival opened on November 6 with the Swedish production ”Call Girl”, the debut feature from director Mikael Marcimain, best known until now for his acclaimed TV series and commercials. ”Call Girl” is a story inspired by Sweden's "Brothel Scandal" of 1970. The film depicts the unveiling of a prostitution scandal which involved the highest echelons of Swedish society, including even the late Prime Minister Olof Palme, who is unnamed in the film but recognizable to Swedish audiences. Some Swedish newspapers regarded the film as a verdict on a dead Prime Minister, and it was reported that Palme's family is considering suing the filmmakers.
Between November 7 and 18, the festival screened numerous films: 20 in the main competition, 24 in the Open Zone program, 16 in American Independents, 19 in Asian Images, 11 in Latin Vision, and 12 in the Spotlight: the latter program focused on power, the main theme of this year's festival.
The main program is traditionally a competitive section featuring the first, second or third features from groundbreaking directors. The section included the debut films of Benh Zeitlin (”Beasts of the Southern Wild”), David Lambert (”Beyond the Walls”/”Hors les murs”), Rufus Norris (”Broken”), Emil Hristow (”The Color of the Chameleon”/”Cvetat na hameleona”), Liu Shu (”Lotus”) and many others. There were also new films from Andrew Dominik (”Killing Them Softly”), and Ursula Meier (”Sister”/ ”L'enfant d'en haut”).
This year's Stockholm Visionary Award went, as announced by Festival Director Git Scheynius, to "the uncompromising Jacques Audiard, who has held our attention with an iron grip with ”The Beat That My Heart Skipped” (”De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté”), ”A Prophet” (”Un prophète”), and now the powerful drama ”Rust and Bone” (”De rouille et d'os”)." The Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award went to Swedish master director Jan Troell, who was at the festival with his latest film, ”The Last Sentence” (”Dom över död man”).
Other festival guests included Willem Dafoe, directors Srdjan Dragojevic and Antonio Campos, and the legendary Peter Fonda, who was president of the jury. Rumor has it that Fonda didn't remove his sunglasses throughout the festival – except, of course, during the movie screenings. (Dragan Jurak)
Stockholm Film Festival: www.stockholmfilmfestival.se/en