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Granny's Dancing on the Table
by Marinell Haegelin

Director: Hanna Sköld - Sweden

At 13, Eini (Blanca Engström) knows little beyond the great  forest where she lives with her reclusive, abusive, Bible-reading father (Lennart  Jähkel). “The outside world is dangerous; I’m dangerous.” They work  side-by-side outdoors, and papa home schools. Should she break any of his rigid  rules, he unflinchingly delivers dire consequences with a broom handle or fist.  In parallel storytelling using stop-motion puppetry, we learn how, “It began  long before”. Harold is happy when Lucia and Granny arrive. With time, a  psychosis surfaces and devours the family’s female members. Now, when papa goes  for supplies, Eini forages: in the house and forest. Her unanticipated find has  a dramatic outcome; while searching the shed for batteries, she finds clues to  her enigmatic past and, for Eini, a legendary grandmother. The father-daughter  relationship deteriorates leaving the imaginative adolescent just one option.  With patience and clever resourcefulness, Eini makes plans and waits for an  opportune moment.

Writer-director Hanna Sköld unapologetically, fearlessly  probes familial abuse steeped in religious fervor. Using puppetry sequences  exudes a fairy-tale quality, exposing both Eini’s naiveté and self-reliance.  Engström and Jähkel’s portrayals are finely nuanced. Giorgio Giampa’s music  intensifies in tempo with the deeds that Ita Zbroniec Zajt’s muted, darkly  tonal camera captures; Patrik Forsell judiciously edits. Funding the film was a  crowd of 928 contributors. Abusive behavior is grim, but, Sköld’s richly  folkloric–like exposé diminishes our abhorrence as we root for Eini.