The Retrospective of the 64th Nordic Film Days Lübeck – “Cross and Queer” – cross-dressing and gender identities in Nordic cinema

The Nordic Film Days Lübeck is the only festival in Europe dedicated to the film and television output of the Nordic and Baltic countries, and the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. More than 160 films, TV episodes, and other audio-visual work will be presented in Lübeck’s cinemas and event venues from November 2 to 6, in a variety of competitions and sections; a selection of the programme will also be available for streaming.

The 14 films in this year’s Retrospective, made between 1921 and 1981, weave tales of cross-dressing and gender identity. “In earlier eras, male and female homosexuality could only be depicted in movies in encoded form. Cross-dressing was one way of bringing the fascination of same-sex attraction to the screen”, says section curator Jörg Schöning. What resulted were serious dramas such as “Hamlet” (DE, 1921), with Danish silent film star Asta Nielsen in the title role, but also comedies such as “Girl in Tails” (SE, 1926), where director Karin Swanström uses humour to tackle conformity and diversity, feminism and gender roles. A costume change brings with it role reversal, as “The Man from Sysmä” (FI 1938) painfully finds out in the eponymous opening night film. That film is a tumultuous swashbuckler from Finland, while “Here’s to Little Märta” (SE 1945) is a farce about a trio of “women” musicians that might be considered a Swedish precursor of Billy Wilder’s “Some Like it Hot”.

Swedish cinema was ahead of the curve when it came to depicting queer life. The film noir “Girl with Hyacinths” (SE 1950) was as aesthetically progressive as Mai Zetterling’s period panorama of society, “Loving Couples” (SE 1964, with Harriet Andersson), or Ingmar Bergman’s intimate exploration “Persona” (SE 1966, with Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson). But with the lesbian tragedy of love “Cecilia” (NO 1954) and the pop-culture influenced “Equilibrium – It’s me you Should Love” (NO 1965), Norway also made unbiased films about characters whom society deems outsiders because of their sexual orientation.

Complete information about the 64th Nordic Film Days Lübeck can be found on the website and on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube/nordicfilmdays.

The entire Nordic Film Days programme will be announced at a press conference on October 12, 2022.

The Nordic Film Days Lübeck will run from November 2 – 6, 2022.

We would like to thank our corporate partners CineStar, Finnlines, Stadtwerke Lübeck, STAWAG, VDN Nord, ATLANTIC Hotel Lübeck, SCANBO, Kaufmannschaft zu Lübeck, Teschke & Collegen, Moinsener, Lynet, AVT, SG Medientechnik and Hansebelt e.V., as well as our media partners NDR and the Lübecker Nachrichten for their support.

Press contact:

Dr. Kathrin Steinbrenner & Kristian Müller,
SteinbrennerMüller Kommunikation,
Tel: +49 (0)30 47372191