Crime and vampires driving Nordic film boom

Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:21am EDT
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By Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Gone are the days of Greta Garbo and Ingmar Bergman, but from 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.   Continued...

Simon Chinn (L) and Malik Bendjelloul celebrate winning Best Documentary award for "Searching for Sugar Man" at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London in this February 10, 2013 file photograph. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/Files