‘Another Round’: a spirited Oscar-winning ode to life

Danish film ‘Another Round’ (‘Druk’ in the original Danish), which won an Oscar on Sunday for best international feature film, is a dark existential comedy about the joys and dangers of being drunk, and letting go to embrace life.

'Another Round': a spirited Oscar-winning ode to life
Thomas Vinterberg accepts the Oscar for International Feature Film on behalf of Denmark.Photo: A.m.p.a.s/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

It is the fourth Danish film to win an Oscar for best non-English language film, after ‘In A Better World’ in 2011, ‘Pelle the Conqueror’ in 1989 and ‘Babette’s Feast’ in 1988.

Filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg, who is also nominated for best director, gave a moving, tearful speech, paying tribute to his daughter Ida, who was killed in a car accident four days after shooting began in May 2019.

“We ended up making this movie for her, as her monument,” Vinterberg said at the gala in Los Angeles.

“So, Ida, this is a miracle that just happened, and you’re a part of this miracle. Maybe you’ve been pulling some strings somewhere, I don’t know. But this one is for you.”

The movie is set around four old friends, all teachers at a high school near Copenhagen. Martin, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a history teacher going through a midlife crisis, depressed about his monotone life.

To spice things up, the quartet decides to test an obscure theory that humans are born with a small deficit of alcohol in their blood, resolving to keep their blood alcohol level at a constant 0.05 percent from morning till night.

At first, they experience the liberating joys of inebriation, before things quickly go from bad to worse. 

But the film refrains from passing moral judgement or glorifying alcohol.

“‘Another Round’ is imagined as a tribute to life. As a reclaiming of the irrational wisdom that casts off all anxious common sense and looks down into the very delight of lust for life … although often with deadly consequences,” Vinterberg said when the movie came out last year.

Vinterberg was devastated by the loss of his daughter, and production on the movie was briefly halted, but he soon resumed shooting.

He said he was spurred on by a letter she had written about her enthusiasm for the project, in which she was to have had a role.

But the film took on a new dimension.

“The film wasn’t going to be just about drinking anymore. It had to be about being brought back to life,” Vinterberg said in the only in-depth interview he has given about her death, in June 2020 to Danish daily Politiken.

Selected for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival which ended up being cancelled due to the pandemic, ‘Another Round has already won several awards, including a BAFTA for best film not in the English language, and a Cesar in France for best foreign film.

The film is carried by Mikkelsen, who previously teamed up with Vinterberg in the 2012 psychological thriller ‘The Hunt’ (‘Jagten’).

In one of the most talked-about scenes in ‘Another Round’, Mikkelsen even shows off his dance talent — the former Bond villain was a professional contemporary dancer before becoming an actor.

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

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Leonardo DiCaprio production company buys remake rights to Danish Oscar-winning film

A production company owned by actor Leonardo DiCaprio is one of a group to have purchased the rights to an English-language remake of the Danish film ‘Another Round’ (‘Druk’).

Leonardo DiCaprio production company buys remake rights to Danish Oscar-winning film
Leonardo DiCaprio could take the role played by Mads Mikkelsen in an English-language remake of 'Druk'. Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The film, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, recently won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film.

The sale of its English-language remake rights was reported by US media Deadline and has also been confirmed by Vinterberg.

According to Deadline, DiCaprio himself could play the role taken by Mads Mikkelsen in the original film.

Appian Way, a company co-owned by DiCaprio, successfully bid for the rights in partnership with two other companies, Endeavor Content and Makeready, according to the report.

Vinterberg told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the prospect of seeing DiCaprio in a headline role in the remake is “exciting”.

“(DiCaprio) is – as well as being the biggest and almost the only true movie star in the world – an absolutely wonderful actor, and I think his career choices show real integrity and talent. So I think it will be exciting to see what they can get out of it,” he said.

The Danish director does not expect to be involved in the remake, according to the report.

‘Another Round’ was on Sunday awarded the Oscar for Best International Feature Film.

READ ALSO: ‘Another Round’: a spirited Oscar-winning ode to life