Like the weather in the rugged north, Norwegian films are frequently stormy, while screenings of them in Hong Kong are as rare as the cool, frosty climates they depict. But Nordic cinema comes out of the cold next month with the first Norwegian/Icelandic Film Festival at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Nine features, including the country's top international prize winners, are being shown along with a collection of short films during the two- week event which opens on June 6. Perhaps the best-known is Liv Ullmann's adaptation of Sigrid Undset's Norwegian epic set in the Middle Ages, Kristin lavransdatter - a collaboration between Norway's only truly international film celebrity and Ingmar Bergman's Swedish master photographer, Sven Nykvist. The three-hour interpretation of the first volume of the Undset trilogy, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1928, was the most expensive and controversial project in Norwegian film history - and Ullmann herself said making it was the hardest thing she had ever done. Of the three Norwegian Nobel Prize winners in literature, it is Knut Hamsun who has proved to be the most alluring to movie-makers and the festival screens Erik Gustavson's The Telegraphist, an adaptation of the Nobel Laureate's most amusing novel, Dreamers. One of the most acclaimed Norwegian films, it was selected for the Berlin Film Festival in 1993 - the first time in 19 years that Norway had been honoured. Another international prize winner is Marius Holst's debut feature, the dark Mephisto drama Cross My Heart and Hope to Die. Telling a story about growing up in Oslo - and sinister encounters in everyday Norwegian life - it won Berlin's Blue Angel prize in 1995. Norway's most successful film of the 1990s is the low-budget comedy, Eggs, by another debutante director, Bent Hamer. It tells of two retired brothers isolated deep in the heart of archetypal rural Norway. Film critics detected echoes of Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Buster Keaton, although the bitter-sweet drama is unpretentious and collected prizes worldwide. Hans Peter Moland's psychological thriller, Zero Kelvin, set in the snow and ice of Greenland in 1925, is a battle of survival set against the stunningly beautiful Arctic landscape. Also being screened is director Martin Asphaug's first award-winning feature, A Handful of Time, a dreamy vision of lost love and youth which co-stars the British actors Susannah York and Nigel Hawthorne. 'This is our first festival, so we assume the Hong Kong public knows little about Norwegian film,' said Consul-General Janne Julsrud. Oslo film critic Per Haddal said: 'Norwegian film has practically been given a free gift of scenery. In addition, Norwegians have an almost mystic feeling of affinity with nature.'