Oct 7, 2019

As much as I like to think that I know more about world cinema than the average person (not a brag! I’m just a movie nerd), I obviously have my own blindspots. This includes movies from Scandinavian countries like Denmark. I only know one Danish film, “Ordet,” and that’s only because I watched it for a film class in college. (And, well, Lars von Trier’s stuff but that’s a whole other conversation.)

My obsession with world cinema is born out of the knowledge that every country has their own great big masterpiece. Hollywood isn’t the keeper of great movies, not by a long shot, and every nation has to have their own great big director—Carl Theodore Dreyer, the director of “Ordet,” is one of Denmark’s.

If you’re like me and you want to know more of the films from the Danes, you’re in luck: Shangri-la Plaza is once again holding their annual Danish Film Festival from Oct. 9 to 13. They’ll be showing nine Danish films, while the headliner, a movie featuring the silverscreen reunion of Aga Muhlach and Alice Dixson, was shot in Greenland—the first Filipino film to do so. Here’s a list of the lineup:

1. “Nuuk” directed by Veronica Velasco

Made in partnership with the Embassy of Denmark, “Nuuk” is a psychological thriller about an immigrant woman slowly growing mad in the wintery landscape of Nuuk, Greenland. It stars Muhlach and Dixson, and it’s their first film together after almost three decades.

2. “Ordet” directed by Carl Theodore Dreyer

“Ordet” is a 1955 film by Dreyer, largely hailed as his masterpiece. It’s also really strange, but in a blissfully unique way. Chris Fujiwara writes for the Criterion Collection:

“The strangeness of “Ordet” is something that no number of viewings, God willing, will rub off. I want to stress this strangeness. That “Ordet” is a great film, one of the greatest ever made, only a rash or foolish person will deny. But even less than with other great films can we afford to let the category of greatness limit our response, because “Ordet” demands more from us, and has more to give, than almost any other film.”

The movie revolves around one family: a widower and his three sons, one of whom went insane after reading Søren Kierkegaard (a mood) and now believes he is Jesus Christ. There’s little plot, and modern viewers used to fast-paced blockbusters might become frustrated with its languidness. But dammit it’s a good movie.

3.  “Across the Waters” directed by Nicolo Donato

Set during the Holocaust, “Across the Waters” is a 2016 film that follows a Jewish jazz musician on the run from the Nazis. The escape of Danish Jews to the nearby stronghold of Sweden during World War 2 isn’t something that’s shown very often, and it’s a welcome addition to the canon of wartime films set during that horrific era.

4. “I am William” directed by Jonas Elmer

“I am William” is a comedy drama that focuses on a young child saving his gambler uncle from gangsters who are out to claim the debt they’re owed. Fun stuff.

5. “Darling” directed by Birgitte Stærmose

“Darling” is about a world class ballerina who, after injuring her hip, is forced to reckon with the fact that she can never dance professionally again. Another thing she’s forced to face: She has to mentor her replacement. Think “Black Swan”/”Perfect Blue” mixed with “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” but a little sweeter.

6. “The Day Will Come” directed by Jesper W. Nielsen

This movie stars Lars Nikkelsen! Based on a true story, “The Day Will Come” centers around two brothers trying to thrive in an orphanage rife with horrific abuse.

7. “A Fortunate Man” directed by Bille August

An adaptation of a novel by Danish Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan, “A Fortunate Man” is a historical drama. It’s essentially about a young man from rural Denmark trying to adapt to the cultural milieu of a very modern and cosmopolitan 1880s Copenhagen.

8. “The Charmer” directed by Milad Alami

“The Charmer” is yet another psychological thriller centered around an immigrant narrative. It follows an Iranian man desperately trying to seduce women in order to secure a Danish citizenship through marriage.

9. “Team Hurricane” directed by Annika Berg

If you’re looking for a good teen drama with a DIY punk chick aesthetic, this one’s a good choice. “Team Hurricane” is a coming of age movie about eight teenage girls banded together by the Internet and follows them (in a non-linear fashion) as they go through the rites of passage of teenagedom.

10. “Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros” directed by Jannik Hastrup

Bring your kids to this one! “Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros” is a children’s animated film about a ragtag group of friends (two of them are mice) on a journey to Africa to boost the self-esteem of a tiny rhino.

Remember, this festival is free admission! Here’s the screening schedule:


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TAGS: danish film festival embassy of denmark nolisoli.ph Shangri-La Plaza