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Sweden might be famous for its clean-cut fashion sense and flat-packed furniture stores, but in reality it has so much more to offer. With its high standard of living, beautiful range of natural landscapes and the international success of cultural series such as ‘Nordic Noir’, it’s no surprise that Sweden is a top destination for cultural lovers. Whether set in chic Stockholm or in the beautiful winter countryside, these five films will have you pining after a European break to Sweden.
Adapted from the world renowned ‘Millennium’ book series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the first of the three films to be released. The narrative follows the seemingly unconnected Stockholm journalist Mikael Blomkvist and mysterious hacker Lisbeth Salander and their involvement in a murder case in Uppsala. The story is incredibly gripping and takes place all over Sweden, maximising its cinematic potential. With Lisbeth’s gothic alternative look and journalists with an incredible sense of Scandi-style, the characters are all incredibly unique and enviably cool.
Force Majeure may be set in France, but the Gothenburg-born director Ruben Östlund has ensured the tone and style of the film is 100 per cent Swedish. When Swedish couple Tom and Ebba take their family skiing in the French Alps, they could never have known a freak avalanche would have Tom running for his life, whilst Ebba and the kids dive for cover alone. Luckily for them, the avalanche was controlled but puts Tom in an extremely awkward place for the rest of the trip. The family interacts with many different types of people during their trip, which emphasizes the diverse way humans instinctively act or view certain situations. The drama is handled with trademark Swedish deadpan comedy and dark comedic characters.
The first in a trilogy of films, Songs From the Second Floor was directed by highly-regarded Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson. The series is a black comedy which is strung together by seemingly disconnected scenes, all displaying a different critique of modern life in Sweden. The scenes portray a life without meaning, ambition or common sense, which is told through Sweden’s characteristic sense of humor. This film is quintessential Swedish cinema of the last 20 years, and though it may not be everyone’s taste, it is certainly eye opening to viewers unfamiliar with this type of cinema.
This film is currently the third highest grossing Swedish movie of all time, behind two installments of the Millennium trilogy. If The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took us all around Sweden, The Hundred-Year-Old Man takes us from Sweden, around the world, and back again. Allan Karlsson is celebrating his 100th birthday and, being fed up with his life at the care home, decides to spontaneously escape. The rest of the film follows his adventures in the present day as he steals a suitcase and picks up companions along the way while flashbacks harken back to pivotal moments in Allan’s life. The film encourages going with your gut and reminding yourself that you’re not dead yet.
There couldn’t be a list of films set in Sweden without mentioning the documentary starring Sweden’s most prolific exports. The film was shot to coincide with the release of their fifth album and featured many of their most popular and well-known songs. Though the film was largely shot in Australia with some scenes in Sweden, ABBA: The Movie was directed by Lasse Hallström, who shot all of ABBA’s music videos. Though the plot is non-existent, the draw to watch an ABBA documentary would always be the catchy tunes and to hopefully learn how Agnetha and Frida achieved such soft-looking and shiny hair.