Heading off to the movies to see a movie at a foreign film festival is a wonderfully indulgent thing to do. Why not take some time out for yourself and see one of the great movies showing at the Scandinavian Film Festival touring the country this July.

Branch out from the monotony of Hollywood films with these rewarding, foreign cinematic masterpieces. The Scandinavian Film Festival is touring the country throughout July, offering a miscellany of internationally renowned, award-winning films from the crème de la crème of Scandinavia’s film industry. Twenty-two features will be playing across the festival, many of which were in competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Festival-goers can enjoy the closing night film Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words,a revealing documentary that traces the remarkable life of one of the most celebrated actresses of all time. For a heart-warming romantic comedy, don’t miss out on Maria Blom’s Hello Hello; or if a Cannes prize-winning tragicomedy that explores the human existence tickles your fancy, book yourself in for the Australian premiere of Grimur Harkonarson’s Rams.

Other highlights include the intimate tale of love and lust, Homesick, and the story of a desperate woman driven to an affair, No Thank You. Swedish-Finnish actress and comedian, Bianca Kronlöf, who plays a young woman on the search for a more meaningful existence in Underdog, will be visiting Sydney and Melbourne for exclusive Q&A sessions, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear firsthand from one of Scandinavia’s biggest stars. 

Here are our picks for the ‘Best of the Fest’ which will all provide an enriching dose of Scandinavian culture and entertainment.

Here is Harold
This is the opening movie of the Scandinavian Film Festival. It provides a humorous yet heartwarming portrayal of a man going through an existential crisis. After losing his furniture store thanks to the installation of a neighbouring IKEA, and the added challenge of his wife losing her memory, Harold decides to seek revenge. He sets out on a mission to kidnap IKEA-founder Ingvar Kamprad. When an unlikely companion – 17-year-old Ebba – joins his quest and the pair realise Kamprad is pleased to be kidnapped, the journey turns into a hilarious tale of sentimental soul-searching.

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The Grump 
A box office hit in Finland The Grump has made waves in the international film scene, having been featured at a number of prestigious international film festivals. Legendary, award-winning Finnish actor Antti Litja plays a stubborn, irascible 80-year-old farmer, known affectionately as ‘the grump’. When he is forced to move in with his son and his wife, he must face his retrograde views head on. As the varying age groups confront their differences, hilarious bullheadedness gradually turns to understanding, as the family begins to realise the value of learning from other generations. The resulting ‘bittersweet satire’ is an entertaining cinematic experience.

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Silent Heart
Oscar-winner Bille August directs an all-star cast in this poignant, thought-provoking drama. Three generations of a family assemble in a large isolated country home to help the matriarch of the clan, Esther (played by Danish star Ghita Nørby), make the ultimate decision. Esther’s daughters, the bossy Heidi and troubled Sanne, clash over partners and age-old family quarrels. Grandsons and best friends are thrown in the mix as the motley crew struggle to reach an agreement. The film cleaned up at the Danish Bodil Awards, as well as the Robert Awards, and the Hollywood Reporter described it as a “masterfully crafted family drama.” Don't miss it!

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The Absent One
This is the second adaptation of the celebrated Danish 'Department Q' series of novels. We’ve already seen the international success of Larsson's 'Millennium series' film adaptations, so we know that the Scandinavians produce killer mystery-thrillers. This high-stakes, adrenaline-pumping story of an unsolved murder and suicide at a boarding school in the 1990s certainly lives up to that reputation. The nail-biting film adeptly jumps between past and present, as two Copenhagen detectives gradually piece together the twisted events of decades past.

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Where to see them
The films will be showing at Palace Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. If you become a Palace Cinema Golden Movie Club member (for over-60s) by simply paying an annual fee of $13, you receive one complimentary pass for joining, another on your birthday and the bargain price of just $10 for you and a friend at regular sessions. Single adult tickets are $19.50 (or $14 on Scandi-Less Mondays) but 5 or 10 Film passes are also available at discounted prices.

What are your favourite movies? Join in the discussion below…