A happy family on a feast morning. The young mother, Leena, suddenly receives a phone call warning her that her mother has been hospitalized in very serious condition. Against her will, the husband decides to take her to visit the woman, together with their two little daughters. For Leena it is the beginning of a painful inner journey that forces her to recall the forgotten past with an impressive will power. Her parents, immigrants from Finland that never really feels like home in Sweden, has lived their devastating passion among alcohol addiction and violent quarrels, while Leena and her little brother was trying to survive in their own way – she did it winning swimming competitions and taking notes on a little notebook of the meanings of the words of the new language, different from her mother tongue; he did it retreating into his own world until the implosion. For Leena, who has chosen to pursue normality at any cost, lying to herself and to the others, this is the last chance to face the dark world she comes from and belongs to.
Once again an actress’ debut behind the camera (a well-established tradition for the International Film Critics’ Week): Pernilla August, the wonderful Swedish actress of Fanny and Alexander and The Best Intentions who in our last edition presented the film A Rational Solution, has adapted for the silver screen Svinalängorna, the bestseller by Susanna Alakoski, the tragic story of a dysfunctional family in a provincial town in the 70s. The main character is played by Noomi Rapace, the rebellious Lisbeth Salander of the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, here in the role of a women that has built her existence, apparently peaceful, on the basis of a stubborn removal. A character with an Ibsenian accent for its vane attempt to build a separate and autonomous identity against the social and family groups she belongs to, even at the cost of lying to herself, while the raw truth remains a scar, maybe invisible but certainly not erasable. A simple story in its own way, told with intimate and sincere style, leaving in the foreground the emotions of the children, and their strategies for controlling them, in a world of adults swept away by voracious primal desires or stark conformism. A film strongly characterized by amazing actors: beside Noomi there is her husband Ola Rapace, two famous Finnish actors like Ville Virtanen and Outi Mäenpää (who played in several films by Kaurismaki) and the young and talented Tehilla Blad, who already played the alter-ego of Noomi in Larsson’s trilogy. –Venice International Film Critics’ Week