• Sweden edition
 
Apocalypse soon: Disasters abound at Stockholm Film Festival
Scene from Haeundae, directed by Je-gyun Yun (South Korea)

Apocalypse soon: Disasters abound at Stockholm Film Festival

Published: 10 Nov 2009 22:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Nov 2009 22:21 GMT+01:00

It's the end of the world as we know it at this year's Stockholm Film Festival, which promises everything a budding apocalypticist could ever need. But there are also plenty of more upbeat cinematic treats in store if global doom isn't your bag, writes David Stavrou.

As it comes to a close it seems like 2009 will be remembered as one of the most worrying years of the decade. It has seen the worst financial crisis since the great depression, a deadly virus which is still taking its toll and some of the more troubling regimes in the world getting closer than ever to adding nuclear weapons to their arsenal.

Wars and local conflicts are still tearing apart societies worldwide and even the Nobel Peace Prize was given out not to someone who has helped bringing one of them to an end, but to someone who hopefully will do so in the future. On top of all this, world leaders will meet in December in Copenhagen to try to deal with the results of global warming and save us all from an apocalyptical global nightmare caused by climate change.

It is in this climate that the organizers of Stockholm's annual film festival decided to concede to the sign of the times. The 12 day festival, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will be screening 180 films from more than 50 countries, many of them strongly related to or inspired by the troubled present. This years' festival spotlight, for example, is "Apocalypse – The time is now". Catastrophes, both natural and man-made, will be the focus of many of the festival's films and events and a green carpet will join the traditional red one in order to highlight the environmental issue.

"The Apocalypse theme was chosen because we found a number of truly interesting films from all around the world dealing with the subject in their own unique way", says George Ivanov, the festival's programme director, "I think the reason for that is that we're becoming really aware of what it means to be a global community". "In a sense this is the era of globalism", he adds, "and we have to face the great opportunities and dangers of it. This is a very cinematic concept".

Some of the festival-goers might not be looking for doomsday prophesies, so here are some of the films you might want to avoid if you're trying to get away from troubling headlines and warnings of the end of the world as we know it: "9" is an animated dystopian sci-fi film by Shane Acker in which machines and artificial intelligence have taken over and mankind has been obliterated. "The Road" by John Hillcoat, is a post-apocalyptic tale based on a Cormac McCarthy novel, in which a father and son fight for survival in a world no longer suitable for human life. "Haeundae" is a Korean disaster movie about a tsunami heading to a popular beach resort, and "Earth Days" by Robert Stone is a documentary about the evolution of the environmental movement since the early sixties.

Other films under the apocalypse title are "The Cove", a documentary about the massacre of thousands of dolphins in Japan made undercover by American photographer Louis Psihoyos, "Happy End" about humanity on the brink of oblivion, and the short film "Waiting Room".

But the festival's programme isn't limited to films about future and present disasters. A rich programme featuring some of the most interesting films made this year will combine screenings in seven Stockholm cinemas along with special events, outdoor screenings, competitions, galas and award ceremonies. This year's visionary award and lifetime achievement award will go to French filmmaker, Luc Besson and American actress Susan Sarandon respectively, and a record number of directors and actors will join Sarandon and Besson in attending the festival

Still, while the programme may include something for every taste, those who are interested in current events and international politics will find several particularly interesting screenings. Some examples include Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" which echoes the current financial crises and features George Clooney as an executive who specializes in firing employees for cowardly bosses, "London River" by Rachid Bouchared which deals with the aftermath of the London 2005 Terror attacks, and "The Time that Remains" about the daily lives of Israel's Arab population.

Other interesting titles dealing with current events from around the world and interpretations of reality in some of the world's most complicated regions are "Sin Nobre", an acclaimed thriller depicting Mexican gang culture, "Heliopolis", a critical look at present-day Egyptian society and two films about Iran. "Green Days" by Hana Makhmalbaf is the first big screen take on the dramatic events of the June presidential elections and the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mehran Tamadon's "Bassidji" is a documentary about the extremist Iranian police militia.

These are indeed troubling days and organizers and visitors of major cultural and artistic events worldwide are looking for a balance between ignoring the headlines and being overwhelmed by them. The Stockholm International Film Festival succeeds in doing exactly that. Films, as Jean-Luc Godard once said, are something between art and life, both giving and taking from it. They are not always about avoiding reality by creating alternative worlds; they can sometimes be about understanding the world better, maybe even changing it. And, as the festival's spotlight indicates, the time for that is definitely now.

Related links:

David Stavrou (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:48 November 13, 2009 by Akhtar Rasool
Quoted from above, the main link:

Films, as Jean-Luc Godard once said, are something between art and life, both giving and taking from it. They are not always about avoiding reality by creating alternative worlds; they can sometimes be about understanding the world better, maybe even changing it. And, as the festival's spotlight indicates, the time for that is definitely now.

I want to share as, if one person recognises, realizes himself, his presence, his purpose, then he can understand the world far better otherwise never and ever. So in cuch darkness, we then sometimes get the chances (miracles, movies, short plays etc) to see somthing happening strange, makes us to ponder, think about our presence in this world. It leads us to serious thinking, care, peace, brotherhood etc............................in short getting life like a part of heaven
19:11 November 22, 2009 by aneleH
I think this festival only shows us what we're getting ourselfes into by our stupid acting towards the world. All the people around the world should learn how to treat the environment correctly. Shame on us.
Today's headlines
Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

738
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com