• By: David Emery

A Reason to Go Outside: The Baltic-Nordic Film Festival

A record-setting snowfall just hit Ottawa. Many of us scrambled to unearth our streets and sidewalks in vain, digging our cars out from under massive layers of cold powder, staring numbly at the flakes as they kept falling. The lucky among us stayed indoors, huddled around the glow of a flat-screen. It was a great time to watch movies.

The snow landed smack dab in the middle of the Sixth Bright Nights Baltic-Nordic Film Festival, which began last Friday and runs until Sunday, February 21. The festival is a compelling reason for the people of Ottawa to leave the house this week. Its films are currently burning brightly at the Carleton University River Building, with Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs and Annette K. Oleson’s The Shooter already setting crowds alight.

Among those films still to show are Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, a documentary about Sweden’s greatest Hollywood export and one of the best actors to ever live. Bergman arrived as a young woman in America and quickly became a household name, turning in one legendary performance after another. This is only the beginning of a deeply personal and revelatory work. In Her Own Words reconstructs Bergman’s life via 8- and 16-mm home movies, diary entries, letters, and old photographs, all knit together by her ghostly narration and interviews with those who knew her. Stig Björkman’s film is the crown jewel of the festival and not to be missed when it screens on Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Also upcoming is Rams, winner of the highly prestigious Un Certain Regard prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Two brothers, Kiddi and Gummi, live on neighbouring farms in the same village. They haven’t spoken in 40 years. Sheep breeders, they enter their rams in the local (very local) annual competition, and each victory and loss drives them further apart. When a disease outbreak threatens their livelihood, the brothers are forced to address their long-time feud. Captured deep in the heart of breathtaking rural Iceland, this tragicomic story screens on Saturday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m.

It’s cold and snowy out there, but the movies showing at Carleton will light up your week. The Bright Nights Baltic-Nordic Film Festival is worth the trek. Tickets are $9 each for CFI members, students, and seniors; free for Carleton students; and $13 for everyone else. Visit cfi-icf.ca for more information. You can find trailers for Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words and Rams below.