Directed by Ali Abbasi — Screenplay by Ali Abbasi & Afshin Kamran Bahrami.
In 2022, only a select few films are as timely as Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider. For weeks, people have protested in the streets of Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, after she died in police custody allegedly due to police brutality. As far as I understand it, she was apprehended by the country’s morality police for not wearing the hijab in accordance with their government’s standards, and witness accounts claim that she was then tortured and beaten to death. In Iran, some women are even taking off their hijabs and burning them on bonfires.
Directed by Barbara Rothenborg — Screenplay by Anders Rønnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich.
As a Dane, I’d love to be able to say that each and every Danish film is a must-watch. But that definitely wouldn’t be true. Not every Danish film is as good as Another Round, Riders of Justice, Queen of Hearts, or Speak No Evil — to name just a few of the recent Danish hits. Now that Netflix has started to produce Danish films, one would hope that their presence in the Danish film industry would be a really good thing. It could be. It’s certainly offering new opportunities for Danish filmmakers. But based on Toscana, Against the Ice, and now Kærlighed for Voksne (int. title: Loving Adults) it is becoming clear that the streamer is having a difficult time making truly memorable Danish films. Kærlighed for Voksne doesn’t work.
‘Borgen – Power and Glory,’ the fourth season of ‘Borgen’ is available on DR in Denmark and on Netflix internationally. It consists of eight episodes.
A Danish political drama and international hit, Adam Price’s Borgen is a critically acclaimed television show that takes its viewers into the Danish political system by focusing both on politicians, their families, their spin doctors, and the media. It originally ran for three seasons from 2010 to 2013, but has now been revived by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and Netflix for a new season titled Borgen – Power and Glory (Borgen – Riget, Magten og Æren in Danish).
Directed by Mehdi Avaz — Screenplay/Story by Mehdi Avaz & Nikolaj Scherfig.
Thus far, Netflix has tried, and tried again, to make the kind of Danish hit series that would rival foreign language series hits like Germany’s Dark. They haven’t succeeded yet, as most of their series just come and go without making much noise. Shows like The Rain, Equinox, Chosen, or Elves weren’t really it, even though some of them had their moments.The Chestnut Man is, in my mind, still the best Danish straight-to-Netflix series that has come out.
However, when it is released on Netflix internationally on June 2nd, the revival of the Danish political fiction series and international hit Borgen — with its fourth season subtitled Power & Glory — could still amass a large following outside of Denmark (the season actually completed its run on Danish television a little while back, and I may write about it in the future). Toscana, however, is the first Danish Netflix Original Film, which is of course a big deal for the streamer and for the film’s director. Unfortunately, it is a film that I can’t recommend because there really is nothing fresh about it.
Directed by Christian Tafdrup – Screenplay by Christian Tafdrup & Mads Tafdrup.
At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, critics and festivalgoers alike were introduced to one of Denmark’s latest filmmaking provocateurs, Christian Tafdrup. The actor-turned-director got his career as a filmmaker started with his first two feature-length efforts Forældre (int. title: Parents) and En Frygtelig Kvinde (int. title: A Terrible Woman), the latter of which starred Amanda Collin (who you may have seen in HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves) and was a relative hit that provoked some audience-members. Speak No Evil — Tafdrup’s latest feature film — was received fairly well at the festival, and is, reportedly, one of the best films that actor Robert Pattinson has seen in many years. I won’t go that far, but I will say that I think this very unsettling Danish thriller is Tafdrup’s best film yet.
Directed by Peter Flinth – Screenplay by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Joe Derrick.
Against the Ice first showed up on my radar some time ago. I mean, can you blame me? As a Dane, it is really exciting when a major streamer like Netflix decides to acquire a historical survival drama about Danes, directed by a Dane, co-written by a Dane, and so much more. Really, I could go on and on about all of the Danes involved with the production. And yet, it isn’t actually in Danish. This aspect was a little bit of a disappointment to me, but I can understand why some may have felt it should be in English. Unfortunately, while I do think this is a mostly ‘okay’ survival drama, the language wasn’t my only disappointment.
International Title: Flee — Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen.
The Danish submission for the upcoming 94th Academy Awards, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flugt, is a mostly-animated documentary film about the experience of one refugee on his bumpy outer journey from Afghanistan via Eastern Europe to Denmark, as well as his complicated inner journey toward acceptance of himself so that he can open up to others and become the man that he wants to be, instead of running away from the sense of normalcy that he may desperately need.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua — Screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto.
Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty, written by True Detective-creator Nic Pizzolatto, is an American remake of the 2018 Danish single-location thriller Den Skyldige, which was then directed by Gustav Möller. The film follows Joe Baylor (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who is an agitated LAPD officer with a troubled past, while he is at a 911 call center. Though he is initially largely uninterested at the call center, he suddenly ‘wakes up’ when a distressed woman calls him and says she is being abducted by her ex-husband. From his computer and telephone, Joe must now try to figure out what is happening and try to get law enforcement to her position before it is too late.
In recent years, Netflix has gained a foothold in basically all corners of the world. As it becomes a global streaming service, Netflix is also starting to churn out local foreign language content that can grow a global audience. In recent weeks, that has happened with a show like the South Korean survival drama Squid Game, which has been compared to everything from The Hunger Games to Saw. But, of course, the most famous non-English language Netflix original series are Money Heist from Spain and Dark from Germany.
On Monday April 26th, 2021, the day after Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round (Danish Title: Druk) had won the Best International Feature Film Oscar, DEADLINE Hollywood reported that, to the surprise of no one, Hollywood wanted to make another English-language remake of a popular non-American hit. What was surprising, however, was that the English-language remake rights had been acquired by Appian Way, Endeavor Content, and Makeready for the purpose of developing a remake as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, arguably the biggest movie star on the planet. So, how should we feel about that? Is it an exciting pat on the back, or should we be upset?