Fantastic Fest

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Denmark comes to Austin

When most folks think about Danish cinema, they think Lars Von Trier. He and his Dogma 95 cohorts dominated the scene in the 90s and into the current decade. EUROPA (ZENTROPA), BREAKING THE WAVES and DANCER IN THE DARK all garnered critical acclaim and Lars Von Trier became the darlings of the international film festival circuit. Below the surface of this high-concept, somewhat cerebral identity of Danish cinema, there was also another scene developing below the radar of arthouse critics, the often overlooked world of genre film that we so wholeheartedly love here at Fantastic Fest.

Our pal Anthony Timpson from the Incredibly Strange Film Festival in New Zealand first turned us on to director Lasse Spang Olsen and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen's 1999 brilliant dark-comedy/action film IN CHINA THEY EAT DOGS. Since then, we've hungrily sought out as much Danish genre film as we could devour. Fantastic Fest programmers Blake Ethridge, Harry Knowles and I all did backflips for ADAM'S APPLES back in 2005. It topped both Harry's and my "year's best films" lists that year and features an unstoppable performance by Mads Mikkelsen, now known to American audiences as the CASINO ROYALE arch-villain. Try to track down this surreal comedy, and you'll understand the full breadth and depth of his acting talent.

Last year the festival had the honor of screening our first Danish genre film, OFFSCREEN, with a brilliant, personal tour-de-force performance by Nicolas Bro (also in ADAM'S APPLES). This year, we have gotten to know the folks at the Danish Film Institute, the nerve center of the country's film industry, and have crafted a four film retrospective of the best Danish genre films of the year.

FIGHTER (2007, Dir. Natasha Arthy) A Danish kung fu coming-of-age drama choreographed by and featuring a supporting role by action master Xian Gao (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, FONG SAI YUK)

HOW TO GET RID OF THE OTHERS (2007, dir. Anders Rønnow Klarlund) When it is discovered that the least productive 5% of Danish society consumes 60% of government spending, the conservative politicians decide to quietly eradicate the problem.

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY (2007, dir. Ole Bornedal) JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY is not as benign as the title might suggest. A mild mannered forensics photographer is involved in a traffic accident with a young woman. Curious, he visits her in the hospital only to be mistaken as her boyfriend. When she awakens blind and suffering from mild amnesia, he continues his charade. As you might expect, things don’t turn out so well.

THE SUBSTITUTE (2007, Ole Bornedal)
The middle-high school students in a small Danish village have figured out that their abusive new substitute teacher is actually a space alien on a vanguard mission to investigate taking over the earth. They just can’t seem to convince their parents or the administrators.

If you are coming to Fantastic Fest to explore the nooks and crannies of genre cinema and find out the hottest talent from across the globe, start in Denmark!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home