Danish director Thomas Vinterberg speaks at the press conference to present his film 'Kollektivet' screened in the competition of the 66th Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: TOBIAS
Vinterberg is busy promoting his newest film ‘The Commune’ (Kollektivet) which is based on his own experiences growing up in a Copenhagen collective in the 1970s.
The film was shown at the Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday and the director used a press conference to weigh in to his country’s response to the European refugee crisis, saying Denmark has moved far away from the society it was when he grew up.
“I wrote this [film] out of longing. There was a time when people were sharing. Those days are over and I miss that,” he told reporters.
He then said that while he didn’t go out of his way to make a “politically correct” film, he has strong feelings about the current atmosphere in Denmark.
“I’m very shameful to be a Dane. I’m very shameful about the political life in our country and if there’s anything that can be brought from this film to inspire people to share and not humiliate other people I would be very happy,” he said to applause.
See the remarks here (skip to 3:50 if you just want to hear the political comments). Story continues below.
Reaction to his comments were swift in Denmark. Readers of the right-leaning Jyllands-Posten posted nearly 500 comments on Facebook, with many pointing out that the same Denmark that Vinterberg is so ashamed of has helped to finance his films.
“Such a clown; he wouldn’t be anything if he hadn’t been financed by the Danes he despises. Another member of ‘Upper Class Denmark’ who is happy to shit in his own nest while also gladly taking taxpayer money for their projects,” Jan Svendsen wrote in a comment that garnered nearly 400 likes.
Vinterberg is best known for his film 'The Celebration' (Festen), part of the Dogme 95 movement. He also directed 'The Hunt' (Jagten), a 2014 Oscar nominee, and the 2015 film adaptation of the novel ‘Far From the Maddening Crowd’.
Vinterberg is not the first Danish celebrity to slam the country’s refugee response. ‘The Killing’ star Sofie Gråbøl recently wrote a piece for The Guardian in which she said she has “a hard time recognising my country right now” and “want[s] to be proud about Denmark, but it’s not easy”.
Pop star Medina, meanwhile, called Integration Minister Inger Støjberg “an idiot” who has ruined Denmark’s reputation while singer Mads Langer said many Danes are “sickened and embarrassed” by the country’s current direction.
A trailer for Vinterberg's 'The Commune' can be seen here: