Nina’s Journey tops Guldbagge surprises

It was a night of surprises at Monday's Guldbagge Gala in Gothenburg, as the two big nominees of the year fell by the wayside.

The Best Picture was the little-seen Nina’s Journey, a true story of one family’s survival of the Warsaw ghetto in the Second World War. The film is a semi-documentary, with interviews with the main character, Nina Einhorn, recorded before she died in Sweden.

It was based on the novel written by Lena Einhorn, who also directed the film, and starred a cast of Polish actors.

Mum mot mun (Mouth to mouth), by Björn Runge, was nominated in seven categories but only managed to pick up one award, for best supporting actor.

The second-most nominated film of the year was the Swedish Oscar hope, Zozo, directed by Josef Fares. The film picked up four nominations but only the sound and score was recognised by the jury in a special award category.

Awarded annually since 1964, the Guldbagge (“Golden Beetle”) is the name of the Swedish Film Institute’s award for achievement during the previous year. The award itself, in the form of a fantasy beetle, was designed by the artist Karl Axel Pehrson.

Best Picture

Ninas resa / Nina’s Journey

Best Director

Ulf Malmros for Tjenare Kungen / God Save the King

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Maria Lundqvist for her role as Signe in Den bästa av mödrar / Mother of Mine

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Krister Henriksson for his role as Bertil in Sex, hopp och kärlek / Sex, Hope & Love

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Ghita Nørby for her role as Lilly in Fyra veckor i juni / Four Weeks in June

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Magnus Krepper for his role as Morgan in Mun mot mun / Mouth to Mouth

Best Screenplay

Lena Einhorn for her script for Ninas resa / Nina’s Journey

Best Cinematography

Aril Wretblad for his cinematography in Zozo

Best Foreign Language Film

L’enfant / The Child

Best Short Film

En nattsaga / A Night Story

Best Documentary Film

Prostitution bakom slöjan / Prostitution Behind the Veil

Best Achievement in the specialist categories film editing, set design, costumes, make-up, special effects and animation

Jaana Fomin for Tjenare kungen / God Save the King

Best Achievement in the specialist categories sound engineering, mixing and original score

Adam Nordén for Zozo


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

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The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.