Danish Film

LAND OF MINE (2015)

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A film by Martin Zandvliet

Cast: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman

Keep in mind that this film as just came in at the theatre in France. 1945. Denmark. End of the Second World War. Several German soldiers, barely out of their teens, were taken prisoner by the Danish army and sent to the front line to defuse the mines buried along the coast. For them, the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, {Land of mine} recounts this tragic episode of History.

The film open with a long line of ragged soldiers walked down the street. A Danish soldier knocked one of them to the ground, for the sole reason that he is German. The war has just ended, but the hatred of the danish soldier is still fresh.The victims of yesterday will become the executioners of today. Following the proposal of the British, the one that freed the Denmark from this hell  use young German prisoners of war to defuse the mines that are buried along the coast mine flouting the agreements of the Geneva Convention of 1929 which forbid to compel prisoners of war to carry out dangerous work.

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Opting for a refined style, the director avoids any heaviness of the war. He sets up his decor on an idyllic beach with white sand lit by a permanent sun that contrasts with the darkness of the subject. The camera focuses on the beauty and vulnerability of these young boys. You well see how scared they are  without hiding any details but also conveys the strength of their dreams and their struggle for survival. Little by little we are interested about those characters where they are from and what they will do when they come back home. The sergeant who is pissed about the german taking his country has no remorse for those kids that are from the age 15 to 18. It is as real as it gets It is based on real events here and the director has done a great job to film that. There is a real tension here that will rise until it blows up. Land of mine tells a human story that explores tactfully the beauty of the hidden face of humans.

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KOLLEKTIVET (2017)

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A film by Thomas Vinterberg   

Cast: Fares Fares, Ulrich Thomsen, Trine Dyrholm

English Title: The commune 

Thomas Vinterberg returns to home soil with his latest picture The Commune. In is set in the 70’s and yes I did love the 70’s this is far from the free sex and drug use environment you may have thought it has a naturalist environment with sensible adults with different walks of life and different jobs.

Married couple Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) and Anna (Trine Dyrholm) seek something new in their life, and following a 25 year relationship, which has given  their teenage daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrom Hansen), they decide to open up a commune, at the former home of Erik’s recently deceased father. You see the have this big mansion but it is too expensive to maintain. So they round-up some friends so the share the expanse that goes with a big mansion, basically they charge them rent. Everything is in place they even have rules and they have to respect each other. And may the emotional roller coaster beginning.

It has realism here a surrealistic approach to the comedy, having said that some of you will laugh nervously. It’s actually a nightmarish ideal, that have some intimacy issues. There is the question why didn’t Anna (Trine Dyrholm) leave Erik. You will feel the uncomfortable  at times with some serious uneasiness. Once The Commune gets off the ground it is going to be an emotional melt down and many of you will feel that they should be more and has questions that was not answered but I still like the film. It is not his master piece , his master piece as we all know is Festen which I will review soon and no I have not seen it yet, on  my list. Have fun.

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the-commune

BLEEDER (1999)

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A film by Nicolas Winding Refn

Cast: Kim Bodnia, Mads Mikkelsen, Rikke Louise Andersson

Leo (Kim Bodnia) drift ever further out of society following the news that his girlfriend, Louise (Rikke Louise Andersson), is expecting their first child, something she is rather more enthusiastic about that he. His friends are  Lenny (Mads Mikkelsen), who works at a video store, and Louise’s brother Louis (Levino Jensen), a small-time gangster. Lenny’s friends meet to watch violent horror films and pornography, freely and knowledgeably discussing films and filmmakers.

Here is a dude who got his girlfriend pregnant and does not know what to make of it. So he goes out to clear his head and make sense of it all. Lenny however is shy and is trying for weeks now to ask this girl who works in this restaurant. The thing is that Leo is going to set a chain of event that will sets off in a bad way. This film just got here in France but was released  in 1999. The scene that you will see in the video store influenced Tarantino in Pulp fiction big time. Seriously , Bleeder is a straightforward enough story, opening in  with four of the main characters strolling through downtown Copenhagen. Refn develops four strong leads with only the use of music and the mannerisms of each actor to highlight the drama that is about to unfold before your eyes. You see how the 4 characters interacts with each other and how leo is still thinking if it is a good idea to have a child or not, he is distracted by it when his girlfriend wants to keep it and getting pissed off which build the tension in the story. The story takes a detour it is not predictable as I thought it was going to be. The casting is terrific here, the actor capable of expressing the emotions felt by their character without the need for a significant amount of dialogue.

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EN CHANCE TIL (2014)

A SECOND CHANCE

A film by Susanne Bier

Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas 

English Title: A second chance. 

I do love Danish thriller because they the writers as–has come up with a brilliant idea for a film. A cop thriller like you never seen before. It has come in theater just this week but was made last year, well I don’t know.

Simon and Andreas, policemen are best friends,they lead very different lives. Andreas has a blossomed relationship with his beautiful wife and their newborn. Simon, recently divorced, ending his evenings getting drunk in dark bars in the city. One morning while they were alerted to domestic dispute, Andreas finds a baby abandoned in the closet of a junkies’s couple. The case, which traumatizes the young father, will have unintended repercussions on his private life.

Here is the tricky thing I will not reveal too much of this film because i do not want to give it away. The premise of the film has a high concept and finally a director has tackled it. Well nobody wanted to get in this subject matter. witnessing the living conditions Tristan and Sanne have inflicted on their infant son, it’s impossible not to take Andreas’ side, dubious as his actions are. After the fact that will set in motion the event and the twist that is perfectly executed by Bier. I came out of the movie theater going here is a great film and an original idea came out of the subject matter of this film.

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THE GREEN BUTCHERS (2003)

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A film by Anders Thomas Jensen

Cast: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen, Line Kruse

Svend (Mads Mikkelsen) and Bjarne (Nikolai Lie Kaas) work together in a butcher’s shop. When they have had about enough of their evil boss, Svend convinces Bjarne to go into business with him and open butcher’s shop to give it a little competition to their evil boss. Bjarne has to make a big decision in order to raise his share of the stake – well a little accident happens and Bjarne takes the decision of ……

This is a black comedy at its best some of the genre of the delicateness from Jeunet and Caro that became a classic. The cinematography is delicious here, understated cutting, low angles, lingering shots, bright colors. It is snot a slasher flick here by long shot. The director had a vision of social dysfunction here a satire of sorts. You see they have this special dish that comes from a secret recipe and people start loving it a little too much however this recipe came in by accident. It is an intelligent comedy that will suit a certain audience. Int is free of all the predictable gags here, well bravo to the director. He let the story play out, he asked himself what if and then goes for it. It might be offensive for some so be careful here wi this one but it is a wonderful dark comedy with 2 great actors that delivers more than they should.

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the green butcher

JAUJA (2015)

Jauja (2014)

A film by Lisandro Alonso

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger

First off don’t expect a linear, mainstream film or you may be disappointed. I just gave you the warning. The story takes place in Argentina Patagonia, and what a beautiful landscape I might add. The story goes like this. It is the 19th century and Captain Dinesen (Viggo Mortensen) is a Danish engineer on a quest to find Jauja, a mythical land of happiness. His daughter ( Viilbjork Malling Agger) wants a dog that follows her everywhere. When captain Dinesen goes to bed one night has this feeling, and decided to go to see it his daughter who should be  asleep safe and sound comes to find out that she is gone. He saddles up and goes after her.

Here is a neo-neorealism film and beyond. The film was shot in a 1.33:1 ratio frame and has unmated  rounded corners. It is a slow cinematic film so if that is not your thing do what other people did do not see it. I went to see this film and 5 people got out within 20 minutes of the film. Technically I called it an art film. You will immerse yourself in this cinematography of beautiful and raw landscape. Alonso deploys a large distance between the characters and you can see the landscape rich color. When Dinesen goes in the cave to see the old women that lives there you get the sense that is his daughter when she is older. Towards the end it is as I call it his Urban daughter, yes it is a strange art film but beautiful as hell. Yes it does not make any sense but it does not have to. Viggo Mortenson is fluent in both Danish Spanish and French. You might interpret the film differently, Alonso even said that some stuff that he really didn’t understand and he co-wrote it, how funny is that. So there you are going to love it or hate it, no in between. After all it is not your typical western.

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FASANDRÆBERNE (2015)

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A film by Mikkel Nørgaard

Cast: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Pilou Asbæk

The translation of this title is Pheasant Killers. But I am guessing with a little research the english title is going to be The absent one. It is the highest grossing film in Denmark. I heard it’s coming to DVD internationally and you’ll have a chance to see it as well. And I suggest that you do. Fasandræberne is an extremely graphic and undaunted crime film one that you should be warned about before you decide to see it. I am just putting this out there just in case that some people are a little weak of the stomach. To me it was fine. It is well made and well told.The film is a bit resembles of the TV series  Cold Case  in that the story involves a police unit which investigates unsolved crimes called the department Q.

the absent one

There is this party in honor of the new department who is being open the department Q (cold cases). Three people will be in charge of the department headed by a woman. Carl Mørck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) goes outside to smoke a cigarette. When he is surprise by a man who tells him about a case that happened  20 years and is he going to look into it. The next day Carl is called on the crime scene. It is the man that he talk to last night. A retired detective who committed suicide but opening his veins in a bath tub. So carl now looks into it with his partner Assad ( Fares Fares). They soon discover that a bunch of crimes in the area that happen 20 years ago is connected to each other.

Here is a danish thriller that kick ass. The Danish knows how to make those thriller. I have been watching some of them from time to time and I find them really good. Although there is the first of before Fasandræberne called the Keeper of last causes. Which I did not see yet unfortunately. The third installment will be the Keeper due by next year. It is the adaptation of the books by Nikolaj Arcel who is known for the Girl with the Dragon tattoos. Nothing of the unusual here it is somewhat a similar set up police story. it moves along just fine. The thing is that those detectives the way they get away with some of the things they do they would end up in jail. The tension never lets up though out the story; That shows you that some rich kids can get away with shit that  they shouldn’t get away with. Carl is obsessed with the case to the point it is consuming him big time. No one wants to put up with him but his partner Assad. Wj-hile their boss does not think that she is made to do this job. a pretty gruesome job where you see death day in and day out. Great thriller by Mikkel Nørgaard which I would recommend big time.

the absent one