Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Fest Returns to Ottawa

Marie-Josée Croze and Mikko Nousianinen star in 2 Nights Till Morning.
Photo courtesy of the Canadian Film Institute.
Ottawa’s annual Winterlude film fest gives cinephiles in the 613 a few reasons to strap on their skates and glide down the Rideau Canal. Make sure to stop at Carleton University after getting a Beavertail, since the Canadian Film Institute’s annual Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival promises a week of world cinema from the wintry nations to the east. This year’s festival has another impressive class of films with Iceland’s Oscar submission Rams playing alongside the Ottawa premiere of Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, a feature doc about Sweden’s greatest cultural export next to IKEA. Add Joaquim Trier’s heavily acclaimed Louder than Bombs, and film buffs already have three reasons to brave the cold before diving into the line-up. PS: There’s also a Finnish feature starring own Marie-Josée Croze if folks want to keep it Canadian this winter!

Here’s what’s playing!

The Shooter (Skytten)

Dir. Annette K. Olesen | Denmark | 2013 | 93 min.
Friday, February 12, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: Denmark's political scene is a public riot with ecologists and pro-nature activists demonstrating on the streets. The actual government legislature is far from keeping the promises of not to planting oil-rigs in the Arctic See sanctuaries. The potential ecological consequences are incalculable and journalist Julie takes up the battle through a debate with those responsible in the administration. Rasmus is a hotheaded geophysicist, who upon return from the Arctic believes the only valid methods to convince the money-minded government officials are violence and intimidation. Equipped with a gun, he not only takes the journalist as hostage, but the whole of Copenhagen as well. His demand is that the drilling agenda must stop or he will start killing people.

Louder than Bombs

Dir. Joaquim Trier | Norway | 109 min.
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house - forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently. Stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Amy Ryan (Bridge of Spies).

The Story of the Baltic University

Dir. Helga Merits | Estonia | 75 min.
Sunday, February 14, 2016, 4:00 pm

Synopsis: In a totally devastated northern German city during the fall of 1945, refugee professors of the Baltic countries that had lost everything decided to create a university. Without no funding whatsoever, their idea miraculously became a plan for the Baltic University, which opened its doors in March 1946. The story of the extraordinary institution is told by former students of the three Baltic countries through interviews, rare footage, documents and photos that construct a picture of a unique educational institution that rose from the ashes of war.
-Read more about the film in the POV interview with Helga Merits!

Escaping Riga

Dir. Dāvis Sīmanis| Lativia | 69 min.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: Two young boys are forced to escape their native city of Riga. Later these same boys turn out to be among the most extraordinary personalities of the previous century: one becomes a leading commie film director and the other a mentor to the entire British Empire. This story will reveal the secrets of the remarkably parallel lives between Sergei Eisenstein and Isaiah Berlin.

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

Dir. Stig Björkman | Sweden | 114 min.
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: A captivating look behind the scenes of the remarkable life of a young Swedish girl who became one of the most celebrated actresses of American and World cinema.

2 Nights Til Morning

Dir. Mikko Kuparinen | Finland | 84 min.
Friday, February 19, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: While on a business trip, Caroline, a French architect, and Jaako, a Finnish DJ, meet in Vilnius, Lithuania and end up spending the night together. But their relationship, which they first thought was only a one night stand, takes an unexpected turn when a volcanic ash cloud prevents all flights from taking off. Marie-Josée Croze (The Barbarian Invasions, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) stars in this feature that won Best Director for Mikko Kuparinen at last year’s Montreal World Film Festival.


Dir. Grímur Hákonarson | Iceland | 93 min.
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what's dearest to them - their sheep.
-Iceland’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film to the 88th Academy Awards.
-Winner: Un Certain Regard Award, 2015 Cannes Film Festival

When You Wake Up

Dir. Ričardas Marcinkus | Lithuania | 100 min.
Sunday, February 21, 2016, 4:00 pm

Synopsis: The singer called Punk is no longer of much interest to anyone. After his brush with fame, it only took a few years of drugs and alcohol to reach rock bottom. After yet another small town concert, Punk ends up spending the night backstage, drunk and alone. When he opens his eyes in the morning, he sees a little girl, who introduces herself as his daughter. Two lost souls set out on a trip together - a trip which will not only change their lives, but will also bring them together to appreciate the joy it brings.

The 2016 Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival runs Feb. 12 – 21.
All screenings are at the River Building at Carleton University.

Please visit the CFI's website for more information.

And stay tuned for more coverage here and at POV!