It has been a busy week here as we work through the 12 fantastic films in the NORDIC:DOX Award category at this years Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival!
Following on from Part One, here we give our synopsis of the other six movies nominated – one of which went on to be the winner and another that got the ‘special mention’!
Sweden | Directed by: Nina Hobert
Nina Hobert’s Julia&I become the winner of the NORDIC:DOX award at the festival this year and it was hard to argue with the decision from the judges on the panel. Where we have already experienced films breaking open the taboo of mental health this particular pieces continues that theme but in such a raw and frighteningly honest way.
It truly is a powerful piece of film that spans the course of four years as two friends, who were once inseparable, catch up during a whirlwind of partying, rehab, and death in the family.
8. Follow You Home
Denmark | Directed by: Kathrine Ravn Kruse
This was another that got us in the feels – a powerful and honest piece of film that focuses on two Afghan brothers who were split apart for 9 years. Popal, the eldest, is then finally reunited with his younger brother Darmal, but both their lives thrive in different universes. Popal has been granted asylum in Denmark and has turned his challenging past into a positive future, his brother Darmal’s future looks bright now he is back with his brother but that future looks to be shattered when Darmal receives a letter stating his asylum case is rejected.
Will the two brothers be able to fight the case and stay together? Together with his adopted parents, a positive and strong willed pastoral couple, the family unit do what they can to stay together.
Kathrine Ravn Kruse’s film flows unobtrusively as the tension mounts between the brothers, and Popal’s determination to make sure Darmal keeps positive against all odds.
9. Oh, It Hertz!
Norway | Directed by: Gunnar Hall Jensen
Admittedly with such an incredible amount of powerful and hard-hitting documentaries being viewed in such a space of time, Gunnar Hall Jensen’s Oh, It Hertz! was a a refreshing tonic that was well required.
His film follows the fascinating journey by musician Laurie Amat as she sets out to discover whether the Nazis really changed music tuning globally to 440 hertz back in 1939. It is quite a random subject but on her quest the film bounces into different places around the world and discovers fascinating stories about music and people’s relationship to it. Laurie’s eccentric narration and take is both refreshing and educational making the film one that really sticks out.
10. He’s My Brother
Denmark/Norway | Directed by: Cille Hannibal and Christine Hanberg
He’s My Brother had success at the festival as a ‘special mention’ from the juries when they delivered the competition’s winner. This piece focused on Christine Hanberg’s relationship with her brother Peter. Peter was born premature and had complications that left him deaf, blind, and now struggling with autism.
Emotional and at times uncomfortable to watch, it was an intimate portrayal of someone with a severe disability and how they, and their family, struggle to cope on a daily basis.
11. Trust Me
Denmark | Directed by: Emil Trier
This felt like one of the those documentaries you sometimes catch on Netflix these days, where you can’t quite believe what you are watching. Emil Trier’s Trust Me might be a longer film than most involved in the category, but it totally absorbs you.
This is the story of the unravelling of a con man, Waleed Ahmed, who totally took Norway for a ride and then set his sights on the USA.
The little you know the better as you are taken on the journey through how Norway’s young entrepreneur ended up with 11 years in jail.
Sweden | Directed by: Pernille Rose Gronkjaer
The final film on our list – we watched the films in no particular order – but it seemed like the most fitting to end our journey.
Director Pernille Rose Gronkjaer has the opportunity to sit in on a meeting between the world’s leading scientists and researchers as they discuss solutions to some of the big societal problems the world is facing. The film was created prior to the pandemic, which would have added a very interesting dimension to their discussions.
One might find this concept and structure a little off-putting, but let us tell you now that this is such a brilliant and vital piece of film that everyone should watch. We have walked away questioning and thinking about some of the subjects that are raised in the film and know that they will stick with us for some time.
Feature by Alex & Claire Minnis