Scandinavian whole-night documentaries often look beyond their own borders when looking for subject, protagonist and setting. Alongside the well-deserved winners of the best Nordic documentary, The Deminer by Hogir Hirori, and Simon Lereng Wilmonts The Distant Barking of Dogs, which won the audience award last fall, only a few of the nominated films were filmed in a Nordic country. Therefore, it was even nicer to see that the opening film, Leslie on Fire by Stefan Berg, brought us a little closer to the local communities in Malmö. Also False Confessions by Katrine Philp, who won the audience award at this year's CPH: DOX, was nominated.
Leslie on Fire gives us a look into the local community Sofielund – a highly segregated area in Malmö, characterized by poverty and crime – where we meet 14 year-old Leslie Tay. Although the protagonist is very similar and talks openly about his feelings, it seems that Stefan Berg has not quite been able to decide what his theme really is – therefore it lacks a bit of depth in the film.
Young Leslie Tay is a dreamer; he talks and walks like a gangster, and wants to be a rock star. When his mother leaves Sweden to return to Ghana, Leslie has to move in with his violent father, whom he does not know very well, but. . .
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