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‘Becoming Astrid’ kicks of Knick films

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Hope College has opened its winter film series at the Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. 8th St., downtown Holland, screening the Swedish biopic “Becoming Astrid” through Jan. 19.

The series each year brings new independent and foreign films to West Michigan, with all starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets — at $7 for general admission; $6 for senior citizens, Hope faculty and children — are available at the door.

“Becoming Astrid” depicts the early years of Swedish author Astrid Lindren, the author of more than 100 children’s books, including the Pipi Longstocking series.

Teenage Astrid breaks free of the confines of her conservative upbringing in rural Sweden, accepts an internship at a local newspaper and becomes pregnant after attracting the attention of the newspaper’s editor.

After reluctantly leaving her son, Lasse, in the care of a foster mother, she goes into self-imposed exile in Stockholm. When the foster mother falls ill, Astrid uses her imagination and flair for storytelling to reconnect with her son, establishing a newfound courage that will later form the foundation of her work.

The documentary “Far From the Tree” showing Jan. 28 through Feb. 2 follows families in which parents and children profoundly differ in many ways. Based on Andrew Solomon’s New York Times best-selling book “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity,” it explores how families are meeting extraordinary challenges through love, empathy and understanding.

The series will turn March 11-16 to “Day of the Western Sunrise,” a documentary produced by Zeeland native Keith Reimink that follows three survivors from a Japanese tuna boat who were fishing off the coast of the Marshall Islands when the U.S. detonated Castle Bravo, the first in a series of hydrogen weapon tests.

The film adapted the Japanese storytelling method kamishibai, which means “paper drama,” to intimately retell the fishermen’s story. All scenes consist of individual drawings with paper texture being animated in a 3D environment.

The Icelandic comedy-drama “Woman at War” will conclude the series April 1-6. It tells the story of Halla, an independent woman in her late 40s, who declares a war on the local aluminum industry to stop its operations in the Icelandic highlands.

In the midst of her dangerous, sometimes illegal activism, a long-forgotten application to adopt a child from Ukraine is approved, and Halla is faced with the challenge of having this addition to her life while still fighting for her cause.