This year, the Center for West European Studies is sponsoring two films at the Seattle International Film Festival:
Welcome To Norway!
Norway | 2016 | 90 minutes | Rune Denstad Langlo
Set against the backdrop of a beautiful Norwegian village, this scandalous comedy follows a xenophobic ski-resort owner, Primus (Anders Baasmo Christiansen), as he attempts to find a way to save his failing business. The film brings humor to a serious, topical issue when Primus encounters a group of refugees and sees an opportunity: If he turns his family’s resort into a refugee camp, he will be able to support it with government funding. Unsurprisingly, Primus soon discovers how out of his depth he is. Although he has not finished the resort renovations and the government has not yet greenlit the facilities, he takes in 50 refugees. To top it off, his arrogance and habit of regularly making tasteless jokes about the people he’s sheltering brings up conflict after conflict. His entire venture likely would have gone up in flames if not for Abedi (Olivier Mukata), a young man from Congo who answers Primus’ questions about the refugees and advises Primus on how to run this new operation, in addition to speaking five languages. Eventually, all the new tenants, but especially Adebi, start to change Primus’ attitude for the better.
Tuesaday, May 24, 2016, 6:30pm
Majestic Bay Cinemas
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 4:30pm
SIFF Cinema Uptown
Thursday, May 26, 2016, 9pm
Lincoln Square Cinema
Flickan som räddade mitt liv
Sweden | 2016 | 79 minutes | Hogir Hirori
When a documentary filmmaker returns to his native Kurdistan to document the refugees fleeing ISIS, he happens upon an abandoned 11-year-old girl lying in pain in the scorching heat and makes a fateful decision, which ends up shaping both their lives. “There’s a war in my home country again.” That’s how documentary filmmaker Hogir Hirori begins his film The Girl Who Saved My Life. In 1991, at age 11, Hirori fled Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign in his native Kurdistan, eventually ending up in Sweden. Twenty-three years later, Hirori decides to return to northern Iraq to document the stories of other refugees of war; more than 1.4 million people are fleeing the terror of the Islamic State. Upon his arrival, he is invited to join a helicopter transport to the Shingal Mountains, where hundreds of thousands of people are stranded without access to food or water, surrounded by IS forces. However, on his way to the helicopter, Hirori finds Souad, an 11-year-old girl in pain, lying alone on the ground in the scorching heat. He decides to stay and help her instead of going on the helicopter, a fateful decision that will shape both their lives. The Girl Who Saved My Life puts a human face to the news stories of the past year: men summarily executed, women forced into slavery, children kidnapped, and lives destroyed. But faced with these extraordinary circumstances, Hirori is no passive witness. Actively engaged in helping the people he encounters, he demonstrates—and documents—the difference the individual can make.
Sunday, May 29, 7pm
Sunday, June 5, 7:30pm
SIFF Cinema Uptown