We know it’s hard to believe, but there are some movies where the theme of war can be funny. Obviously, we don’t mean that ‘A Swedish Defence‘ is a comedy, but Simon Elvås manages to find the right dosage to create a short film that is both hilarious and problematic. Likewise, the director avoids the demands of a parody-like metaphor (as Stanley Kubrick does in his “Dr. Strangelove…”) and remains within the parameters of realism as “prosaic” as possible, infiltrating in the subtext of his project the premises of a rather uncomfortable social critique. Simon Elvås is thus inspired by the context of the current conflagrations, building on the pretext of the conflicts between Turkey and Syria a “family dilemma”, a father-daughter relationship that reflects two different mentalities, but also a delicate issue of ethics debated for a long time by modern thinkers.


Josef works for a company that produces weapons and wants to sell its products to the leader of Turkey. But when Nadja, Josef’s daughter, a militant pacifist, tries to stop this partnership, things become more and more sensitive. Who is right and who is wrong: the father who tries to be impeccable at work or the young girl for whom moral principles are more important than the economic ones?


Without giving concrete answers to the questions that ‘A Swedish Defence’ raises to the characters or spectators, Simon Elvås maintains an equidistant attitude, even if he creates a subtle parallel between the conflicts between nations and the inter-generational conflict manifested within a family. The striking opposition between the two perspectives on the world gives way to an acid look at abstract concepts that become more and more aberrant in the current context: what does peace or duty to work, family, nation, and planet mean nowadays? Or to what extent is economic success more important than the reactions of all those young people who suffer from the “Greta Thunberg syndrome”? All these aspects are filtered with precision by the director’s eye in a dynamic and catchy cinematic narrative, with the professionalism of a mature artist who offers us a quality short film. Beyond its ideational stakes, this short film offers us the certainty of an impressive directorial vision that we are more than happy to award at our festival.


For the intuition with which it captures awkward and absurd details of our contemporaneity and for the technical and artistic precision with which it illustrates a conflictual fragment in which generational divergences are reflected, ‘A Swedish Defence’ was awarded the Film of the Month distinction in the June 2021 edition of TMFF.