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FILM

Review roundup: P.S. I Love You largely unloved

Review roundup offers a quick glance at whether the Swedish papers have panned or praised the latest movie releases.

Movie premieres – February 15th

Sweeney Todd

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener, and Sacha Baron Cohen

From the dark, gothic imagination of director Tim Burton comes Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a bloody tale of music, murder, melodrama, meat pies, and one man’s desperate desire for revenge. (Paramount Pictures)

The Local 4/5

Aftonbladet 5/5

Svenska Dagbladet 5/6

Göteborgs-Posten 4/5

Dagens Nyheter 5/5

Expressen 4/5

Upsala Nya Tidning 3/5

P.S. I love you

Starring: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Gina Gershon, Lisa Kudrow, Harry Connick, Jr., Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kathy Bates, and James Marsters

Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart, and married to the love of her life–a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake and, to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to order her to get out and “celebrate herself.” In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way: P.S. I Love You. Holly’s mother and her best friends Sharon and Denise begin to worry that Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but, in fact, each letter is pushing her farther into a new future. With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a touching, exciting, and often hilarious journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship, and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life. (Warner Bros.)

Aftonbladet 2/5

Svenska Dagbladet 2/6

Göteborgs-Posten 2/5

Upsala Nya Tidning 2/5

My kid could paint that

Starring: Amir Bar-Lev, Anthony Brunelli, Elizabeth Cohen, Michael Kimmelman, Laura Olmstead, Mark Olmstead, and Marla Olmstead

In the span of only a few months, 4-year-old Marla Olmstead rocketed from total obscurity into international renown – and sold over $300,000 dollars worth of paintings. She was compared to Kandinsky and Pollock, and called “a budding Picasso.” But not all of the attention was positive. From the beginning, many faulted her parents for exposing Marla to the glare of the media and accused the couple of exploiting their daughter for financial gain. Others felt her work was, in fact, comparable to the great Abstract Expressionists – but saw this as emblematic of the meaninglessness of Modern Art. And then, five months into Marla’s new life as a celebrity and just short of her fifth birthday, a bombshell dropped. CBS’ 60 Minutes aired an exposé suggesting strongly that the paintings were painted by her father, himself an amateur painter. As quickly as the public built Marla up, they tore her down. The Olmsteads were barraged with hate mail, ostracized around town, sales of the paintings dried up, and Marla’s art dealer considered moving out of Binghamton. Embattled, the Olmsteads turned to the filmmaker to clear their name. Torn between his own responsibility as a journalist and the family’s desire to see their integrity restored, the director finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a situation that can’t possibly end well for him and them, and could easily end badly for both. (Sony Classics)

Aftonbladet 3/5

Svenska Dagbladet 5/6

Göteborgs-Posten 4/5

Dagens Nyheter 2/5

Expressen 2/5

Rendition

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard

When an Egyptian-born chemical engineer disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington, his American wife desperately tries to track him down. Meanwhile, a CIA analyst at a secret detention facility outside the U.S. is forced to question his assignment as he becomes party to the man’s unorthodox interrogation. (New Line Cinema)

Aftonbladet 3/5

Svenska Dagbladet 2/6

Göteborgs-Posten 4/5

Dagens Nyheter 3/5

Expressen 3/5

Upsala Nya Tidning 4/5

FILM

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.

READ ALSO: Decision on stricter restrictions for foreign travellers to be made quickly

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.

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