Festival with violent signature

Heavy hitters from the film world have arrived in Sweden for this year’s Stockholm Film Festival, which kicked off on Thursday.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient David Cronenberg cut the ribbon at the festival and introduced the opening film: A History of Violence.

Cronenberg’s cult classic Videodrome is included in a spotlight on his work. At the press conference held for the Canadian director he revealed that he saw several Bergman films before he came here and was inspired to make films because of him.

It is quite true that the aesthetics of hard-boiled violence is the signature of this festival and some of the previous Bronze Horse winners easily fit the theme – such as Quentin Tarantino who claims Pulp Fiction was written in part in Stockholm.

A History of Violence has some of the comical and aesthetic touches that Tarantino is known for despite Cronenberg’s claim that he tries to show violence for what it is. Other Tarantino inspired titles this year at the festival include Kill Gil Vol 1.

When Producer Gil Rossellini attended the Stockholm festival a few years back he was struck by a mysterious illness. The subject of his documentary made with assistance from half sister Isabella Rossellini.

Terry Gilliam will receive the Visionary Film Award in a special ceremony during the festival and has selected several of his favorite films including Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) and One Eyed Jack with Marlon Brando (1961).

Miranda July will also be attending, and her film Me and You and Everybody We Know – which won several awards at Cannes – is a fresh injection in narrative cinema, one of 19 films in the festival competition.

A still from Park Chan Wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is the festival icon and the closing film. The South Korean director will also attend the festival. Partly inspired by this film, festival organisers are arranging a seminar on female revenge on the screen. UK director Stephen Wooley will also be in town with his film Stoned that resurrects the mystery surrounding the death of Brian Jones of the Stones.

Over 160 films will be screened at the festival. Sections include the Stockholm International Competition for a debut directors, a short film competition and a range of other categories.

For further information visit the Stockholm Film Festival website

Moira Sullivan

Moira Sullivan is a freelance journalist and member of the Swedish Film Critics’ Association