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FILM

Six gems from Sweden’s independent cinema scene

The Oscars take place this weekend, so where are the coolest spots in Sweden to watch the world's best movies?

Six gems from Sweden's independent cinema scene
The Bio Rio cinema in Stockholm. Photo: Bio Rio
 
Taking over an old school, the Hagabion cinema in Sweden's second city specialises in showcasing indie movies from around the world as well as documentaries and short stories. Its restaurant, Hagabion Cafe is also one of the most popular vegetarian food spots in the city, while Bar Kino, on the same site, regularly draws a cultured crowd. There are three theatres in the complex.
 
Address: Linnégatan 21, Gothenburg
Tickets: Prices start at 80 kronor for adults, 60 kronor for students, children and pensioners
 

Photo: Göteborg tourism 

 
 
On the west coast of Södermalm island, recently voted Europe's hippest neighbourhood by Vogue magazine, Bio Rio is a small cinema with a big reputation. With just one main screen, it selects its movies carefully, with a frequent focus on films that promote gender equality or offer unique perspectives on global issues. Don't miss the Sunday morning breakfast club and look out for international festivals, many of which include foreign movies with English subtitles. There's a newly refurbished diner-style restaurant on site too and a sister bar with a mini-screen called Salong 4 just down the road.
 
Address: Hornstulls strand 3, Metro stop Hornstull
Tickets: Prices start at 110 kronor for adults, 90 kronor for students and pensioners, 60-80 kronor for children
 

Bio Rio's restaurant. Photo J.Wulff/Bio Rio

 
 
A hit with international students, Lund's low-key independent cinema is situated opposite the city's historic cathedral and dates back to 1936. After undergoing a major renovation in 2000, it now hosts two screens. There's no restaurant or bar here, but there are plenty of relaxed spots nearby and space for cycle-lovers to store bikes outside too.
 
Tickets: Prices start at 105 kronor for adults, 80 kronor for students and pensioners, 70 kronor for under 20s
Website: www.kino.nu
 

Photo: europacinema.org
 
 
In the heart of the Swedish capital's glitzy Östermalm district, this friendly cinema offers a welcome break from the area's city-slicker bars and expensive restaurants. Zita regularly hosts screenings as part of the annual Stockholm Film Festival, one of the biggest art events in the capital and runs its own classes for film buffs. Cross the foyer to grab dinner or a snack at Babs Kök och Bar after you've had your culture fix, or enjoy a drink from their carefully-selected wine list.
 
Address: Birger Jarlsgatan 37. Metro stop Hötorget or Östermalmstorg
Tickets: Prices start at 100 kronor for adults, 80 kronor for students and pensioners, 50-70 kronor for children
Website: http://zita.se
 

Photo: Holger Ellgaard/Creative Commons
 
 
This recently relocated cinema in Umeå, a European Capital of Culture in 2014, can now be found inside the city's iconic new cultural centre, Vaven, designed by award-winning Swedish architecture firm White Akitekter and Norwegian company Snöhetta. There's a 100-seater theatre as well as a smaller more intimate venue with just 35 places. In the same building you can also nestle down with a good book at Umeå city library, visit the Museum of Women's History or simply admire the views of the river Ume running alongside it.
 
Address: Västra Strandgatan 8A, Umeå
Tickets: Prices start at 95 kronor for adults, 80 kronor for students, children and pensioners
 

Photo: Sara Ingman/Image Bank Sweden

 
 
Midsommarkransen has quickly earned a reputation as the place that Hornstull hipsters move to once they start to buy their own properties or have kids and there is plenty of culture available for yummy mummies or latte-sipping pappas in this green suburb, south west of the city. Biocafe Tellus hosts literature nights and gigs as well as showcasing international movies. It is home to a great-value cosy coffee shop selling a range of cakes and sandwiches.
 
Address: Vattenledningsvägen 46, Hägersten. Metro stop Midsommarkransen
Tickets: Prices start at 65 kronor
 

Photo: Biocafe Tellus

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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