Top 10 Swedish Movies of 21st Century (Part I)

As it is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen) - 2004

As it is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen)
As it is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen) is a Swedish drama about a famous conductor Daniel Daréus (Michael Nyqvist), a successful middle-aged international conductor who retires to his childhood village Norrland after suffering an heart attack, and starts helping out the local church choir, and in the process rediscovering humanity and it's various facets. As it is in Heaven is not really a musical but an extremely poignant human drama and a tale of humanity. Writer and director Kay Pollak creates a small town community that has it’s insecurities, desires, greed, and suffering hidden underneath an extremely thin veneer that lies exposed at bare scratches. As it is in Heaven is essentially an intense, gripping and inspirational human drama about personal struggles, and the strength to overcome the odds that prevent your from attaining true spiritual freedom and happiness.  

The movie was a huge critical and commercial success. It created a record in Sweden by getting nominated in virtually every category of the Swedish Guldbagge Awards, though failing to win any. It also earned a nomination at the 2005 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film. (Read Review)

Ondskan (Evil) - 2004

Ondskan (Evil)Based on author Jan Guillou's best-selling semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, Ondskan (Evil) is a tale of a young 16 year old rebellious teen Erik Ponti (Andreas Wilson), standing up against the bullies at a private boarding school. On the surface, Ondskan might appear to be just one of the many films based on high-school bullying, but manages to be a far more matured cinematic presentation than most of it's peers.

Directed by Mikael Håfström, Ondskan (Evil) was a huge commercial and critical success in Sweden. It captured international attention with it's nomination in the Best Foreign Film category at the 2004 Academy Awards, losing out to French Canadian film The Barbarian Invasions. Domestically, it was the winner of three Guldbagge Awards, including Best Film. Ondskan (Evil) combines sensibilities expected from European Cinema, but also tidy mainstream elements to appeal to the public at large. (Read Review)

Lilya 4-Ever (Lilja 4-ever)
Lilya-4-Ever was instantly hailed as one of the most powerful cinematic efforts in European Cinema upon it's release in 2002. Directed by Lukas Moodysson, and inspired from a true incident, the film  is a harrowing and depressing tale of innocence trampled by the human sex-trafficking in Europe. 

The movie won major awards at the 2003 Guldbagge Awards, including Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay and Best Actress. Lukas Moodyson's narrative and Akinshina's superlative performance expertly captures Lilja's struggle for her innocence and her fantasies as a young teenager taking on the bleak and harsh realities of a male dominated adult society. Lilya-4-Ever smacks you with a punch of brutal reality not often witnessed in modern cinema. (Read Review)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In 2009, writer-director Niels Arden Oplev directed the film adaptation of the first installment of Steig Larsson best-selling posthumously published 'Millennium Series' trilogy, "The Girl with the Dragon tattoo". Similar to the success of the source material, the movie won widespread acclaim and was a massive box-office success across Europe and made over a 100 million USD. The film also won numerous awards, most notably a 2010 BAFTA for the best foreign language film. There's also a remake in the works that is being directed by David Fincher that's scheduled for release later in the year in 2011.

As in most crime thrillers, there are interesting plot twists and devious 'secrets', but what sets "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" apart is it's intensity and a brutally realistic and graphic portrayal of the source material. But above all, it's the chemistry between the two leads, and the tremendous performance by the relatively unknown Noomi Rapace who makes the titular character her own. If you are looking for an edgy adult thriller with a bold narrative and the ability to shock you with it's brutal realism, it doesn't get much better than "The Girl with the Dragon tattoo". (Read Review)

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) - 2008

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)
'Let the Right One In' is a chilling and touching tale of friendship and romance between a pale young dark-eyed girl Eli (Lina Leandersson) and a lonely boy Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant). Directed by the talented young director Tomas Alfredson, Let the Right One In is based on a novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The movie's ambling pace and interesting plot elements makes the movie both character driven and plot driven and never ceases to capture your attention. A massive hit with the critics and the box office alike, the movie won the Best Film Award in Film Festivals across the world and was also nominated for a BAFTA. At home in Sweden, it won 4 Guldbagge Awards including Best Direction and Screenplay. The movie has also inspired a brilliant 2010 Hollywood remake 'Let Me In'. (Read Review)

Check out the next five in the list of Cine-international's Top 10 Swedish Movies of 21st Century