Swedish film set to ruffle feathers in Norway

An upcoming Swedish film is likely to stir up strong emotions on the other side of the border this year, given a Swedish character’s description of Norway as “a retarded cousin who has won the lottery”.

Swedish film set to ruffle feathers in Norway
Director Ronnie Sandahl and actor Bianca Kronlöf. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
Svenskjävel, released in English as ‘Underdog’, was a runner-up for the best Nordic film of 2015 at the Gothenburg Film Festival. 
It tells the story of Dino, a 19-year-old Swede, who like hundreds of thousands of her compatriots, is lured to Oslo by the high salaries, and ends up having an affair with the father in the family which employs her as a housekeeper. 
Dino’s attack on Norwegians (which is close to what many Swedes actually think), does not come unprovoked. 
“I think it’s karma,” a family friend of her employer argues, as he swills his whisky. “During the war the Swedes were just standing there bowing to the Germans like prostitutes. 
“My life is so much better now when I get my coffee served to me in the morning by a Swede. And when I take a shit, I know there's a Swede to clean it up for me.”
Another friend then asks what the Swede in the room thinks.  
“Sweden likes Norway,” Dino says. ”We just see you as mentally disabled cousins who have won the lottery. We don’t begrudge you that.” 
The film, which was shot in Oslo in 2013, is scheduled to premiere in Sweden on March 27th. 
The film is directed by Swedish writer Ronnie Sandahl and stars popular Swedish comedian Bianca Kronlöf as Dino, and the Norwegian Henrik Rafaelsen as her Norwegian employer. 

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.