Although I’m a couple of weeks behind the times, I thought I would post on Denmark’s recent success at the Oscars. For those who ignore the Academy or failed to last through the marathon of speeches, the Danish film “In a Better World” won for Best Foreign Film, beating out Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies” and Mexican heavyweight “Biutiful”. Although Biutiful was odds-on favorite, In a Better World’s win wasn’t a great surprise as it earlier claimed a Golden Globe for the same category, a rare and prestigious repeat. Needless to say, the win was a huge success for Danish film and has garnered lots of press in this tiny country of 5.5 million.
Directed by Susanne Bier, the title is rather peculiar given that the direct translation from the Danish title (Hævnen) is “The Revenge”. While largely unknown outside of Denmark, Bier is very well known within the country, having previously received an Oscar nomination for “After the Wedding” (2006). Also, in 2009, her film “Brødre” (Brothers) was remade by Hollwood, staring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman.
Although I haven’t seen “In a Better World”, my general impression is that if you are looking for light fare, this isn’t it. The movie spans from rural Denmark to the refugee camps of Darfur. Nor is Bier particularly known for brain candy. “Brothers” is about a man comforting his older brother’s wife and kids when the brother goes missing in Afghanistan. Interestingly enough, the movie touches a raw nerve in Denmark as the country has the highest per capita casualty rate of soldiers serving in Afghanistan; Canada is number two.
The following link is the trailer for “In a Better World” (with English subtitles).