2020 Watchlist: Eight Danish Films To Look Forward To – Special Features #60

Still image from the trailer for ‘Krudttønden (2020),’ SF Studios

I think 2019 was a very good year for Danish films. Sure, the great Danish selection, Dronningen (int. title: Queen of Hearts), was not nominated in the Best International Feature Film-category at the Oscars, but it was one of several noteworthy Danish films from 2019. There were exciting debut films, as well as strong follow-ups from proven filmmakers. But here’s the thing. I think 2020 is going to be even better. There are many Danish films in 2020 that I am looking forward to, and today I want to talk about eight of these films. So, if you have any interest in Scandinavian films, then read more below.

Do note that the release dates listed below are all Danish release dates, and, unless I’ve somehow found an international trailer, there are no English subtitles in the trailers below.

Klovn: The Final – dir. Mikkel Nørgaard

  • Danish Release Date: January 30th, 2020.
  • Genre: Comedy.
  • Notable Stars: Frank Hvam (Klovn: The Movie), Casper Christensen (The Hustle; Klovn: The Movie), Mia Lyhne (The Boss of It All; Klovn: The Movie).

Klovn is an R-rated Danish comedy franchise inspired by Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. The series stars the popular Danish comedy duo Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen. Their partnership goes back many, many years, and, since 2005, they have primarily been known for this comedy series. There are seven seasons of the Klovn-series, and Klovn: The Final is the third, and supposedly final, film in the series. Time will tell if Hvam and Christensen are actually ready to say goodbye to this series (I think they’ll be back), but, one thing is for sure, Danes everywhere are looking forward to this upcoming release. It’s going to be awkward, it’s probably going to be offensive, and a lot of Danes are almost definitely going to find it absolutely hilarious.

The Day We Died / The Attack in Copenhagen – dir. Ole Christian Madsen

  • Danish Title: Krudttønden
  • Danish Release Date: March 5th, 2020.
  • Genre: Drama, Based on a true story.
  • Notable Stars: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones; Mama), Lars Brygmann (Rembrandt; Kursk).

Krudttønden is a drama film about the 2015 Copenhagen terrorist shootings from the director of Flame & Citron and several episodes of Banshee. The shootings definitely shocked the nation, and this film will probably be one of the most discussed Danish films of the year. Based on the trailer, we know that the film will try to tell the story of both the perpetrator, select victims, and a worn-out police officer.

The Exception – dir. Jesper W. Nielsen

  • Danish Title: Undtagelsen
  • Danish Release Date: April 30th, 2020.
  • Genre: Thriller.
  • Notable Stars: Sidse Babett Knudsen (Westworld; Borgen), Magnus Krepper (Millennium).

Undtagelsen is a thriller about death threats, bullying, and drama at work from the director of the Lars Mikkelsen-led The Day Will Come. I wasn’t sure whether to put this film on the list or not. The official description didn’t exactly sell me on the film, but then I saw the trailer, which piqued my interest. So, I will definitely keep an eye on this film, and I suggest you do too. However, it is the film on this list that I am the most apprehensive about.

The Good Traitor – dir. Christina Rosendahl

  • Danish Title: Vores Mand I Amerika
  • Danish Release Date: June 18th, 2020.
  • Genre: Drama, Biopic, Based on a true story.
  • Notable Stars: Ulrich Thomsen (The Celebration; Banshee), Mikkel Boe Følsgaard (A Royal Affair; The Rain).

Vores Mand i Amerika is a war biopic about Henrik Kauffmann, the Danish ambassador to the United States during World War II, from the director of The Idealist. Following the German invasion of Denmark, Kauffmann took it upon himself to act ‘in the name of the King.’ Kauffmann supposedly believed he was the right person to represent Danish interests since the German occupation of Denmark had made the Danish government untrustworthy. This is right up my alley. Frankly, this is a true story that I did not previously know about, and I think it will not only be a great history lesson but a genuinely great film. I don’t know why, but I have a great feeling about this one. I thought that Rosendahl’s last narrative feature, The Idealist, was a great Danish film about the relationship between Denmark and the United States in the style of All the President’s Men, so I think she is the exact right person to tell this World War II-story.

Another Round – dir. Thomas Vinterberg

  • Danish Title: Druk
  • Danish Release Date: September 3rd, 2020.
  • Genre: Drama.
  • Notable Stars: Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt; Hannibal; Arctic; Casino Royale), Thomas Bo Larsen (The Celebration; The Hunt), Lars Ranthe (Dirch; The Hunt).

I think that The Hunt (Danish title: Jagten) is one of the best Danish films ever made. Of course, Vinterberg directed The Hunt and also co-wrote it with Tobias Lindholm. In 2020, they are reteaming on Druk. The cast is about as great as any Danish film cast could be, but I have no idea what to think about the plot. Supposedly, Vinterberg’s film is about a group of upper-secondary school-teachers, who conduct an experiment to “uphold a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday.” It sounds bonkers, but when Vinterberg, Lindholm, and Mads Mikkelsen team-up, you pay attention.

Erna at War – dir. Henrik Ruben Genz

  • Danish Title: Erna i Krig
  • Danish Release Date: September 17th, 2020.
  • Genre: Drama, War.
  • Notable Stars: Trine Dyrholm (Nico 1988; In a Better World; Queen of Hearts), Ulrich Thomsen (The Celebration; Banshee).

Erna i Krig is a war drama based on the Danish novel of the same name by Erling Jepsen. The story takes place prior to the 1920 Schleswig plebiscite when the new border between Denmark and Germany was decided. In the First World War, thousands of men from Southern Jutland were called into the war on Germany’s side, even though they were Danish at heart (the Danes were neutral in the First World War). In this film, we will follow one of these families from Southern Jutland. Trine Dyrholm will play Erna, the mother of a young man who has been drafted to go to war. In the story, Erna decides to pose as a soldier to protect her son on the Western Front.

Shadows in My Eyes – dir. Ole Bornedal

  • Danish Title: Skyggen i Mit Øjne
  • Danish Release Date: December 10th, 2020.
  • Genre: Drama, War, Based on a true story.

Ole Bornedal is a seasoned Danish director, who has previously made plenty of Danish hits. Bornedal’s latest film will tell the true story of how Institut Jeanne d’Arc in Copenhagen (Den Franske Skole) was bombed by mistake by the British Royal Air Force in 1945. The bombing caused more than 120 deaths, including the death of 86 children. The film will supposedly tell the story of those who were lost that day.

Riders of Justice – dir. Anders Thomas Jensen

  • Danish Title: Retfærdighedens Ryttere
  • Danish Release Date: December 25th, 2020.
  • Genre: Comedy.
  • Notable Stars: Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt; Hannibal; Arctic; Casino Royale), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Green Butchers; Angels & Demons), Lars Brygmann (Rembrandt; Kursk).

In 1999, Anders Thomas Jensen won an Oscar for his short film Election Night. Since then he has become one of Denmark’s most popular filmmakers. His feature film debut Flickering Lights (starring Mads Mikkelsen, Søren Pilmark, and Ulrich Thomsen) is one of the most celebrated Danish films of the 2000s, and his next two follow-ups The Green Butchers and Adam’s Apples (both starring Mads Mikkelsen) were also huge hits. Though his fourth film as a director, Men & Chicken (also starring Mads Mikkelsen), wasn’t as successful as his previous films, I am very excited about his next film, Riders of Justice. Though the film will supposedly be about a reaction to a tragic train accident, the film is still being described as a comedy. I can’t wait to see what Anders Thomas Jensen’s latest project is all about.

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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