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"Sweet Land" is April 16 Nordic Film

April 7, 2009

HANCOCK - The Finlandia University Nordic Film Series continues Thursday, April 16, with the 2005 film, "Sweet Land." Showings are at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

"Sweet Land," filmed on location in southern Minnesota, is a poignant and lyrical celebration of land, love, and the American immigrant experience. It was written and directed by Minnesota native Ali Selim, and is based on the short story, "A Gravestone Made of Wheat" by Minnesotan Will Weaver.

Inge (Elizabeth Reaser), who grew up in Norway but speaks only German, arrives in Minnesota toting a Victrola but without her papers, so when she connects with Olaf (Tim Guinee), the dour, strapping Norwegian farmer it has been arranged for her to marry, the two aren't allowed to go through with the ceremony.

Instead, they coexist in an awkward limbo as Inge stays with a neighboring family where she learns the English language, American ways, and a hard-won independence.

Inge and Olaf slowly come to know each other, and against the backdrop of endless farmland and cathedral skies they fall in love, a man and woman united by the elemental forces of nature.

Still unable to marry, they live together openly, despite the scorn of the neighbors and the disapproval of the local minister. But when his friend Frandsen's farm is threatened by foreclosure, Olaf takes a stand, and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own.

"Sweet Land" won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2005 Hamptons International Film Festival.

For additional information, please contact James Kurtti at 906-487-7302 or james.kurtti@finlandia.edu.