Love is in the air at 2011 Stockholm Film Festival

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Love is in the air at 2011 Stockholm Film Festival
Photo: Stockholm Film Festival

As the 22nd edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival opens this week, The Local's Peter Vinthagen Simpson delves into the twin themes of love and director Alejandro González Iñárritu.


Love is a perennially popular theme for any regular movie-goer and the festival has this year deemed that it is what the public needs and is deserving of.

"Love is an eternal theme in which each new film generation creates their own interpretations. How love is portrayed in film is both a clear depiction of our time and a finger on the pulse of the state of society," the festival website proclaims.

Among the films on offer in the category Love Stories is Hysteria by Tanya Wexler, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, and set in Victorian London.

The film tells the story of a physician who is a specialist in curing nervous women with the aid of hysterical orgasm and is described as a comedy.

A second choice nugget is Like Crazy, by Drake Dorrenius, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and portrays the challenges of continuing a trans-Atlantic long-distance relationship.

The Swedish language contribution to the theme is Once upon a Time in Phuket which explores the concept of "vardagsvägran" (a Swedish colloquialism meaning something like "dropping out of the rat race").

A Stockholm man, shocked by a friend's death, decides to chuck in his job and head to Thailand with the intention of writing a novel, but instead he gets involved in a love triangle.

While the theme of love has been feature on the silver screen for as long as any self-respecting film buff can care to remember, Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu is something of a more recent phenomenon.

González Iñárritu only made his English language breakthrough in 2003 with with 21 Grams starring Sean Penn. He followed up his success with Babel in 2006 and Biutiful in 2010 and thus has become one of the hottest names in Hollywood.

The 46-year-old is furthermore the first from his homeland to be nominated for the best director Oscar.

His films have won critical acclaim worldwide attracting a total of 12 Academy Awards and have established him as the one of the most prominent artistic exponents of the effects of globalization on individuals.

While Iñárritu has only made four feature films, his impact has been considerable and immediate in a decade characterised by a greater inter-connectedness with the rest of the world.

The Stockholm Film Festival's award for lifetime achievement has this year been bestowed on iconic French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Huppert is perhaps best known for her role as a repressed piano instructor in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher but at the festival she can be seen in My Worst Nightmare by Anne Fontaine.

"Fearlessness and contemplation are the opposing poles in the space where her characters are created and exist. She is the muse to the greatest of film auteurs, and at the same time, her own incomparable auteur," her award citation read.

The Stockholm International Film Festival is no glamorous cocktails and canapé mingle, it is a festival for the movie-lover and with almost 200 films on offer over its 11 day duration, there is sure to be something to titillate all tastes.

The festival is more than a feast of film however, with a series of seminars on offer, some in English, as well as the popular Face2Face section which gives fans the chance to meet all the directors, actors and filmmakers visiting the festival.


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