New Swedish films run the gamut from zombies to Strindberg

4:54 min

What's new for the Hollywood of Sweden? In mid-January, the Swedish Film Institute presented 19 Swedish movies set to premier this season, screening sneak peeks of movies ranging from a Swedish classic by Strindberg to a zombie flic, and everything in between.

Last year Swedes hit the cinemas 18 million times, and almost a quarter of the time, it was to see a Swedish movie. The Swedish Film Institute has a lot to do with what's on the marquee.

The institute has funded 8 of the movies that'll get projected on onto the silver screen this spring, including a documentary about women at Takhar prison in Afghanistan, called No Burqas Behind Bars, in which the subjects are women serving jailtime for moral crimes. Co-director Maryam Ebrahimi explains to Radio Sweden (click on the link to hear this interview) that a moral crime could range from talking on the phone with a guy without permission to fleeing an abusive husband.

Moviegoers with a soft spot for the stage may applaud to learn this year's line up because there's a film adaptation of Miss Julie, a story that the renowned Swedish playwright, August Strindberg, wrote in the late 1800s.

The director of the film, Julie, is perhaps better known for her work as an actress. In fact, she's starred as Miss Julie twice during her career. Helena Bergström explains what it's been like to direct this film, especially as a woman in Sweden.

And for people who prefer camp to classics, yes, there is an indie zombie movie: Vittra, or Wither - in English, is about a group of friends who go out to a cabin in the woods, and lo and behold, they encounter supernatural beings with an axe to grind. There's plenty of blood and guts. Patrick Saxe plays the role of Simon and explains how he became a horror film convert.

One film, called En Gång om Året, or Once a year, directed by Gorki Glaser-Muller is about a man and a woman who seem to love each other, but as the title suggests, they only meet once a year to consummate their love. Gunilla Röör tells Radio Sweden what it was like co-starring in the movie.

Other movies premiering this spring include a story out of Henning Mankell's Wallander series. It's called Den Orolige mannen, or The Troubled Man. And in three of the movies, you can find the same actress: 22-year-old Anna Åström.

She features in a romantic comedy, Ego, directed by Lisa James Larsson, a drama about a suffocating relationship called Vi (or Us) directed by Man Maserrat, and a feel-good comedy, called Studentfesten, directed by Simon Sandquist.