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Mads Mikkelsen highlights packed CPH PIX line-up

Grab the popcorn, it's that time of year again.

Mads Mikkelsen highlights packed CPH PIX line-up
The festival will kick off with the world premier of 'Doctor Strange'. Photo: Marvel/CPH PIX
Denmark's largest film festival, CPH PIX, is back for its eight edition and will delight film enthusiasts for two weeks, between October 27 and November 9th.
 
This year’s programme is the festival's largest both in terms of the number of overall films (226) and Danish productions. These 12 Danish films were created mostly by first-time filmmakers, eight of whom will make their world premieres at CPH PIX.
 
Copenhague – a love story/CPH PIX

 

This time around, CPH PIX has also joined forces with the children's film festival Buster, giving the programme a stronger family profile. The films within the Buster programme will be screened during the daytime, while the rest of the movies will screen in the evenings in cinemas across Copenhagen.
 
All non-English speaking films will be subtitled and therefore accessible to everyone. 
 
Awards
 
In addition to the film screenings, CPH PIX also bestows a number of awards as part of its two-week programme. Debuting directors will compete for the ‘New Talent Grand PIX’ award worth €10,000, while films will vie for the ‘Politiken Audience Award’ which will support the winning film's distribution in Denmark, Nordisk Film Fonden's ‘Best Children's Film’ and the ‘Best Children's Short Film’.
 
Opening Night
 
 
The world premiere of Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ (starring among others Benedict Cumberbatch as the main hero, and Denmark's very own Mads Mikkelsen in a familiar role as the main villain) will kick-start the festival on October 27th at Imperial Cinema. Fans of Mikkelsen should make sure to have their tickets to the event, as he will be on hand to introduce the movie to the audience. On the same night, the Nordic Film Award will also be awarded to the chosen best new Danish filmmaker.
 
Live events
 

Múm + Menschen am Sonntag

Múm playing Menschen am Sonntag/CPH PIX

 

CPH PIX programme also features several not-to-be-missed cinematic concerts around town. This year the concerts will include, among others, the silent classic 'Menschen Am Sonntag' (People on Sunday) performed by experimental Icelandic outfit Múm, the animated classic 'Fantastic Planet'  performed by trio B/B/S at the Planetarium and a performance by Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons after the screening of 'The Greasy Strangler’. 
 
On location
 

The together project

The together project/CPH PIX

 

CPH PIX also offers four on-location events, which are film screenings held in untraditional venues in the city. To name a few, Absalon Church will host the event ‘Sunday With The Devil’, featuring two indie horror films at 1 and 3pm, and Sundby Badet will screen the quirky, romantic comedy ‘The Together Project’ at 5pm. You want to bring your swimsuit for the latter, as the initiative ‘Bio i badet’ will have the audience watching the film while swimming. 

 

PIX Talks
 

Terence Davies

Terence Davies/CPH PIX

 

Three master classes by directors and actors will be held as part of the PIX Talks programme: Amat Escalante, James Schamus and Terence Davies will let the audience into their minds and give a sense of what’s behind their work.
 
If your Danish is up for it, you can also catch Mikkelsen in an exclusive artist talk in which he'll discuss his career and starring roles in Danish and international films.
 
There will also be industry talks from PIX participants on the cinema's creative and production processes, all open to the public.

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FILM

How Danish Oscar-nominated dark booze comedy was inspired by director’s tragic loss

‘Another Round’ (Danish title: ‘Druk’), a film about a pact by four world-weary Danish schoolteachers to spend every day drunk for a loosely scientific "experiment," was always going to walk a fine line between comedy and darkness.

How Danish Oscar-nominated dark booze comedy was inspired by director’s tragic loss
Director Thomas Vinterberg talking to press in Denmark. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Director Thomas Vinterberg wrote his script, originally a play, upon realising many of the world’s great historic feats were made by people regularly intoxicated on alcohol — the very same substance that can rip lives and families apart.

But four days into shooting, Vinterberg’s daughter was killed in a car crash. He somehow still finished the uniquely funny, tender and tragic film — which has earned him a rare Oscar nomination for best director. 

“The movie was always meant to be life-affirming and full of love, and bare to some extent… raw,” Vinterberg told AFP in an interview via Zoom. 

“But the tragedy that happened in my life left all defenceless and open.”

Starring as the teachers are four of Vinterberg’s close friends and collaborators, including former 007 villain Mads Mikkelsen, who all spent the shoot doing “everything they could to make me laugh in these circumstances.”

“There was so much love on the set — and I guess you can see that on the screen,” said Vinterberg, whose movie is a favourite to take home the Oscar for best international film on Sunday.

While the film is clearly about alcohol, it is also “about living inspired, about forgetting about yourself, about being curious, and being in the moment and all that comes with drinking.”

Those life-affirming elements were inspired by his daughter Ida, who was due to play Mikkelsen’s daughter, and whose real-life friends play classmates who participate in a joyous teen drinking competition around a lake.

“There’s an alarming bunch of people and countries who connected to this thing about drinking,” joked Vinterberg.

“Yes, they drink differently in California — they put the bottle in a [paper] bag — whereas in Denmark, teenagers run around in the streets with bottles out,” he said.

“But it seems that the film connects on a different level, and hopefully we succeeded in elevating this film… to a movie about something more.”

Humour is not always associated with Vinterberg, co-founder of the ascetic Dogme 95 filmmaking movement with Lars Von Trier, and director of movies tackling issues such as child abuse including “The Celebration” and “The Hunt.” 

But Vinterberg, 51, has often defied categorization. The famous Dogme 95 “manifesto” imposing strict naturalistic limits on directors was always half serious, half tongue-in-cheek.

And while he has dabbled in Hollywood — for instance 2015’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” starring Carey Mulligan, also an Oscar nominee this year — his most widely acclaimed films are often his most Danish and local.

“It seems like when I dig in my own garden, that’s when people really get interested, also abroad,” he said.

The universal themes of “Another Round” may partly explain how Vinterberg landed one of just five Oscar best director nods, for a non-English-language film (fellow nominee Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” is in Korean and English).

“The pleasures of alcohol, but also the destructive side of drinking, have been around for thousands of years, in all cultures almost,” said Vinterberg. 

The director served his cast booze during rehearsals, and they watched Russian YouTube videos together to observe episodes of extreme inebriation.

“We needed to see these characters being in the zone,” he recalled. “It wasn’t like they were very drunk, actually, but there was alcohol.”

On set, however, everyone was sober, Vinterberg said — “they had to act, basically, which I think they did well.”

Much as the production of “Another Round” is a story of contrasts — tragedy and camaraderie, humor and philosophy — the fates of the teachers diverge when the temptation of booze takes hold to varying degrees with each of them.

But the movie itself deliberately “did not want to moralize” or “make an advertisement for alcohol,” said Vinterberg.

“Very importantly, I did not want to have a message.”

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