Instead of the usual Hollywood production, an indie rock-n-roll documentary about the hip band, The National opened this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which ended on April 28. The opening act is an edgy proof that Robert de Niro’s film festival has gone through some optimistic change for its 12th edition. This year, the concentration of films was tighter and the quality higher than usual. No Swedish narrative feature made the final cut, but both a Norwegian and a Danish film did. And both are stand out films.

From Norway comes the talented Hisham Zaman’s haunting Before Snowfall (Før snøen faller), which won best Nordic narrative feature, and a 1 million Swedish kronor prize, earlier this year at Göteborg International Film Festival. With solid direction, Before Snowfall focuses on teenager Siyar (incredible performance by newcomer Abdullah Taher), who confronts vengeance after his older sister, Nermin, flees an arranged marriage, and he must atone for the slight. Siyar tracks her from their small village in Iraqi-Kurdistan to the cultural melting pot of Istanbul. When Nermin flees again to Europe, Siyar has no choice but to continue a search that will forever change his notions of loyalty, dignity, honor and love. The visual language is breathtakingly beautiful and the storytelling is delicately balanced as this road movie on honor killing unfolds. The cinematographer Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen was awarded at the festival for his craft.
Watch the trailer on youtube: Før Snøen Faller - Official trailer


From Denmark, which time after time proves to be the most innovative film country in Scandinavia, comes the brutally intimate and adrenaline-fueled Northwest (Nordvest) by Michael Noer. It’s a crime thriller about the Danish underworld and one of its players, 18-year old Casper. When organized crime grab holds of the impoverished areas of Copenhagen, Casper’s life becomes more desperate. He must dig in or risk being run over by gangsters. In the tradition of the documentary-style, this realistic portrayal of a young man’s descent into the criminal world shakes the screen with its intensity. The authentic, non-professional actors, a story that flawlessly builds its momentum and the fascinating contradiction in Casper’s personality - his warmth to his family and yearning to prove his masculinity in the crime world – combine to make the film breath down your neck like a burglar hunted by the police.
Watch the trailer on youtube: Nordvest - Official trailer

As the Tribeca Film Festival opens springtime in the Big Apple, it’s worth noting that the festival has found its true artistic identity - while new talents are discovered and great films try to find a spot in the tightly crowded film market.

Text: Niclas Goldberg

For more ino on the festival, see