Six Films to See at Gothenburg Film Festival 2021

Gothenburg Film Festival, which takes place 29th January – 8th February, is one of the most awaited industry events for Nordic film professionals and enthusiasts. It is also an exciting event for Gothenburg locals, uniting all the city’s cinemas for one mission: to bring the best films from around the world to the city.

Gothenburg Film festival is the largest film festival in the Nordic countries, typically screening up to 450 movies and attracting around 160.000 visitors per year. It is one of the most important annual meeting places in the Nordic film industry. The festival is known for addressing important social issues, including unequal representation in cinema. Last year, they announced their 50/50 vision initiative: from 400 movies presented, half were directed by women.

As much as we all long to enjoy a movie in the cinema, this year, Gothenburg Film Festival is offering all films streaming online.

In addition, they are running a special focus program called “social distances” in the wake of the global pandemic, and announced that a single person will be chosen to attend The Isolated Cinema at Pater Noster (a lighthouse on the Gothenburg’s archipelago).

There will be 60 movies streaming over the 11 days, some of which are available for only six hours after their premier, so be sure to take note of how long each will be running.

Buy the digital pass for all 60 films. Please note that the streaming service is only available in Sweden, but we encourage you to check out these films outside of the festival as well!

Here are our recommendations for films to see during the Gothenburg Film Festival:

List Marker: Number 1 Tove

Directed by

Zaida Bergroth

Most of us have heard of the Moomins: white, hippopotamus-like storybook characters. This film is about the unique life story of their creator, Tove Jansson. The movie takes place in 1945, Helsinki, where we follow Tove enjoying life while questioning her own artistic choices. She falls in love with theatre director Vivica Bandler and that’s when Tove’s side project, the stories of the Moomins, begins to take off. The story of Tove Jansson just might be the inspiration we all need going into 2021.

This film, directed by Finish director Zaida Bergroth, is Finland’s official 93rd Academy Award entry. It is also taking part in the Nordic Competition at the Gothenburg Film Festival 2021 and went straight to the top of the charts in Finnish cinemas ever since its release date. Not only will this be its Swedish premiere, but it’s also Gothenburg Film Festival’s opening film.

Friday 29th January

6:00 pm

This film will only be available for six hours after its premiere



List Marker: Number 2 Another Round

Directed by

Thomas Vinterberg

Originally called Drunk (Druk), Another Round is already an acclaimed film about four friends and colleagues, all high school teachers, dealing with unmotivated students and the boredom of everyday life. During a dinner party, they decide to test a theory that having a constant blood alcohol level of 0.05 will improve your life; fewer problems, more creativity. Sounds promising, but is it sustainable?

This tragi-comedy, directed by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, was selected as the Danish entry for the 93rd Academy Awards and is also in the Nordic Competition at the Gothenburg Film Festival 2021. It is critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences both in Denmark and internationally.

Thursday 4th February

6:00 pm

This film will only be available for six hours after its premiere


List Marker: Number 3 MLK/FBI

Directed by

Samuel D. Pollard

MLK/FBI is a powerful documentary based on newly-declassified files about the life of civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s the first film to truly explore the FBI’s targeting and harassment towards MLK, who in 1963 was considered to be a threat to the future of the United States by the government

The fantastic film is by Emmy-winning director Samuel D. Pollard. Editor Laura Tomaselli mixes together real-life footage and clips from the movies that served as propaganda at the time. This one is a must-watch, particularly given how necesssary the work of MLK continues to be in the United States.

Friday 5th February

2:00 pm

This film will only be available for 20 hours after its premiere



List Marker: Number 4 Aalto

Directed by

Virpi Suutari

It’s about time for a documentary about Alvar Aalto, one of the most iconic names in Scandinavian design and architecture.

What is a visually appealing documentary about the couple Aino and Alvar Alto’s careers in architecture and design, is also an intimate story about the relationship between two charming personalities. Thanks to recently-discovered archive footage, this is the first time their private life has been publicly explored.

Directed by the Finish director Virpi Suutari, who has been fascinated by the Aalto duo’s work since a young age, the documentary is an ode to the 20th-century Scandinavian creative couple. Aalto is also in Nordic Documentary Competition at the Gothenburg Film Festival 2021.

Saturday 30th January

2:00 pm

This film will only be available for 24 hours after its premiere


List Marker: Number 5 The Father

Directed by

Florian Zeller

The Father is a critically acclaimed-film that premiered at Sundance this January. It has been heralded for both Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman’s Oscar-worthy performances and its successful portrayal of dementia from the patient’s perspective.

In the film, the independent eighty year old man refuses to get any help from his daughter. But the daughter notices how her dad is beginning to forget things and getting more confused day by day. It’s a heartbreaking drama about the father-daughter relationship and slowly losing your loved one. The film was co-written and directed by Florian Zeller, who has also wrote the original play.

Wednesday 3rd February

8:00 pm

This film will only be available for 24 hours after its premiere



List Marker: Number 6 Pleasure

Directed by

Ninja Thyberg

Pleasure is the story of a 20-year-old girl who moves from a small town in Sweden to LA to become the next big porn star. Not everything goes as planned, though. This film is about feminism and ambition, and portrays the sometimes abusive culture of porn.

Sofia Kappel, playing the lead character, makes her film debut and is surrounded by a cast of porn industry actors.

Swedish writer-director’s Ninja Thyberg debut feature is worth the watch. Not only will it be the film’s premiere, but it was officially selected for the Cannes Film Festival program 2020 and the Nordic Competition in Gothenburg Film Festival 2021.


Friday 5th February

8:00 pm

This film will only be available for 24 hours after its premiere

See the full Gothenburg Film Festival program.

Want more Scandinavian film? See the essential Swedish films, Ingmar Bergman’s best films, Ingrid Bergman’s most important films, and films from the Dogme 95 movement.

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Auste Skrupskyte

Honest, curious, and creatively driven Lithuanian in Sweden. Creative Strategist during the day, city explorer, podcast host, and occasional writer at night. Find her on Instagram at @a_uste.