Film picks: Nordic Film Festival, Laal Singh Chaddha, Fire Of Love

Still from the film Sonja: The White Swan starring Ine Marie Wilmann. PHOTO: NORDIC FILM FESTIVAL

Nordic Film Festival 2022

Four films - one each from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden - will be the focus of the festival, returning this year from now (Aug 11) till Aug 21.

From Norway comes Sonja: The White Swan (2018, M18, 116 minutes, screens on Aug 12, 8.30pm), a biopic of figure skater Sonja Henie, an Olympic champion who conquered Hollywood.

Henie (Ine Marie Wilmann), arriving in California in the 1930s bedecked with gold medals, was determined to be a movie star. Director Anne Sewitsky's portrait of Henie dares the audience to "reckon with their own response to a woman with zero false modesty", according to a review in Variety magazine.

Where: The Projector, 05-00 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road
MRT: Nicoll Highway
When: Now (Aug 11) to Aug 21
Admission: $13.50
Info: For booking and details, go to this website

Laal Singh Chaddha (PG13)

169 minutes, 4 stars

Still from the film Laal Singh Chadda starring Aamir Khan (left) and Kareena Kapoor. PHOTO: UIP

In this Indian remake of comedy-drama Forrest Gump (1994), Laal (played as an adult by Aamir Khan) is born to a single mother who farms her own land. Intellectually, he is slower than other children. His mother (Mona Singh) puts him in a mainstream school anyway, where he meets Rupa (played as an adult by Kareena Kapoor), who will play a pivotal role in his life.

As he grows into adulthood, through school, the army and his jog across India, Laal becomes involved in the nation's most tumultuous events.

Khan's version Indianises Gump's uniquely American journey in clever ways. There are a couple of easy transpositions - Gump's Vietnam War becomes the Kargil War between India and Pakistan, and singer Elvis Presley is replaced by an Indian icon.

But there are other references that show the film-makers' desire to be historically and culturally specific. They include inserting Bollywood-style plot touches. The arc of the Lieutenant Dan character, played by Gary Sinise in the original film, for example, has been morphed into a fun enemy-turned-best-friend plot thread.

Fire Of Love (PG)

93 minutes, showing at The Projector, 4 stars

Still from the film Fire Of Love. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR

French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft were united by their single-minded devotion to the study of volcanoes. This is a documentary of the husband-and-wife volcanologists living and, ultimately, dying for their passion, swept away by pyroclastic flow off Japan's Mount Unzen in 1991.

For two decades, the Kraffts chased eruptions around the world, documenting their discoveries. Theirs was the most spectacular imagery of volcanoes ever recorded.

Director Sara Dosa drew from 200 hours of their 16mm expedition footage plus thousands of photographs, and the all-archival movie eschews hard science for a visual wonder of glowing craters, molten avalanches, ash clouds and orange pulsing lava-like psychedelic art.

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