From new work by Thomas Vinterberg to Lars von Trier to The Killing’s Sofie Grabol, Wendy Mitchell previews some of the hottest new projects coming out of Denmark at all stages of production.
Dir Thomas Vinterberg
Vinterberg calls The Commune “a project from the heart”. It is also a project tied to his past, growing up in a commune in north Copenhagen. “I remember it as golden, fantastical, but this is drama, and of course there are dramatic issues and conflicts - there were back then as well. But we have left my experiences a while ago, and we’ve created our own little fantasy commune,” he says. His Submarino and The Hunt co-writer Tobias Lindholm, who directed A Hijacking, is co-writing the project, which the pair say is funny and warm but with moments of tragedy. Vinterberg is also attached to direct Far From The Madding Crowd for DNA Films/Fox Searchlight later this year; Lindholm will direct his next feature in the summer of 2014.
The Hour Of The Lynx
Dir Soren Kragh-Jacobsen
Sofie Grabol - known worldwide as Sarah Lund from The Killing - stars in her first feature in six years, leading the cast as a priest who tries to help a violent young man in a psychiatric ward. Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, whose credits include 1999 Dogme hit Mifune also starring Grabol, based his film on a play by Sweden’s PO Enquist (the film is a Swedish co-production). “It’s three love stories - guard and priest, priest and inmate, and grandfather and grandson,” the director says.
Kragh-Jacobsen appreciates the ambiguities of the film. “Overall the great gist for me in this film is that it’s not easily understandable, it’s mysterious.” Producer Lars Bredo Rahbek of Nimbus Film points out this sort of institutional-set story is unusual for Denmark. “We don’t do One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or Birdy,” he notes. The film opened locally on May 23 through CinemaClub, Arrow will release in the UK in the autumn.
Contact The Match Factory (the-match-factory.com)
The Keeper Of Lost Causes
Dir Mikkel Norgaard
Norgaard follows up his box-office smash Klown with something totally different: a theatrical thriller based on the first Department Q novel by bestselling author Jussi Adler-Olsen. The Keeper Of Lost Causes stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares as unlikely police partners who must hunt down a psychopath. Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) adapted the screenplay. “In a thriller you have the opportunity to use the cinematic force - that’s one reason I wanted to do this film,” the director says. Norgaard is already signed on to direct the second film in the Department Q series, which Arcel is now adapting with Rasmus Heisterberg for a likely autumn shoot.
The Look Of Silence
Dir Joshua Oppenheimer
US-born, Copenhagen-based director Oppenheimer is at work on his follow-up to award winner The Act Of Killing, which was about Indonesian death squads. The Look Of Silence will return to Indonesia but flip the perspective to the victims. Producer Signe Byrge Sorensen of Final Cut For Real says: “The Act Of Killing is about the perpetrators but this is the other side of the story, this is about coexistence and about survivors’ families. What does it mean to live in a society where the people who killed your son or daughter are still your neighbours?” The film was pitched at Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket and it is likely to be delivered in summer 2014.
Contact Final Cut For Real
Dir Lar von Trier
Denmark’s most infamous auteur returns with this story of a woman’s erotic journey from birth to age 50, in a project being readied as two feature-length volumes (of eight chapters). Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf and Jamie Bell lead the cast. Louise Vesth, who produces for Zentropa, says: “Lars doesn’t explain his films but it’s clear… he’s going to challenge the way we look at sexuality, being a man or a woman and what is allowed and how do you see it if a man does it and a woman does it. The film reflects every single topic this man has cared about.” It will be launched theatrically in Denmark on Christmas Day.
Dir Ole Bornedal
Bornedal is now shooting this historical epic in the Czech Republic as both a TV series and a feature. It marks Danish broadcaster DR’s most costly drama to date, with a reported budget of $30.5m. The family drama is set across several periods in history, including the Danish-Prussian war. The cast features Sidse Babett Knudsen, Pilou Asbaek, Soren Malling, Sofie Grabol, Lars Mikkelsen and more. The feature version will launch in winter 2014.
Contact SF International sfinternational.se
A Place Under The Sun
Dir Martin Pieter Zandvliet
Nordisk producer Mikael Chr Rieks, this year’s Danish Producer on the Move, is reteaming with Applause and A Funny Man director Zandvliet for this story about German soldiers who were made to clear landmines on the Danish coast as prisoners of war. The feature is being readied for a 2015 release, and Rieks is also working with Zandvliet on US co-production The Great Americans.
Dir Ole Christian Madsen
This Nimbus Film production, in development now, is set in 1962 as a young man meets a woman and tries to live up to her free-love ambitions.
Contact Nimbus Film nimbusfilm.dk
Dir Mads Brugger
The Ambassador director continues to court controversy with this doc about a plane crash that killed UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjold in 1961. It was pitched at Hot Docs Forum and CPH:DOX Forum. Peter Engel’s Electric Parc is producing.
Contact Electric Parc electricparc.dk
Dir Niels Arden Oplev
The latest project from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo director is based on the book by Morten Kirksov - a 1970s set coming-of-age drama that sees a teenage boy trying to recover from his mother’s death.
Mini And The Mozzies
Dirs Jannik Hastrup, Flemming Quist Moller
This children’s animation, now in production, is about a beetle who runs away after being bullied in the flea circus.
Dir Kristian Levring
Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mikael Persbrandt and Eric Cantona star in this 1870s-set revenge western, which shot in South Africa. Levring (Fear Me Not) directs from a script he co-wrote with Anders Thomas Jensen. The mostly English-language project will be released in Denmark in October 2014.
Dir Berit Madsen
This feature doc (formerly known as Break Of Dawn) is about an Iranian girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. The Radiator Film production was pitched at IDFA’s Forum in 2011 and backers include the Sundance Institute and Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund.
Contact LevelK levelk.dk
Sex, Drugs & Taxation
Dir Christoffer Boe
This film, based on a true story, explores the 1960s and 1970s friendship between radical libertarian Mogens Glistrup and hedonistic capitalist Simon Spies. Nordisk will release locally on August 29.
Contact Alphaville Pictures Copenhagen alphavillepictures.com
Someone You Love
Dir Pernille Fischer Christensen
Starring Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm and Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, the A Soap director’s drama follows a famous musician who returns to Denmark from the US to care for a young grandson he barely knows.