Following a successful first run of its festival and in celebrating seventy years of diplomatic relations between Denmark and the Philippines, the Embassy of Denmark in the Philippines presents its 2nd Danish Film Festival, beginning anew on September 29 to October 2, 2016 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.
With the partnership of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) through its Film Cultural Exchange Program and Shangri-La Plaza, the Embassy of Denmark aims to further local interest in Danish culture and history. On the press conference of the festival on the 20th September, FDCP Chair Liza Diño was present to open the festival’s second year with Ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines, Jan Top Christensen, with Diño recognizing the event as a valuable means for the two countries to reinforce its cultural ties with each other, through the medium of cinema. Also present at the festival was acclaimed local independent actress Mercedes Cabral, who was starring in Rosita, a Danish film making its special gala debut at the Danish Film Festival.
In reference to the cultural exchange between Denmark and the Philippines, Ambassador Christensen commented, “We believe by engaging with each other, we can inspire each other.” Just like the Philippines, Denmark has a long history of cinema, marked by social realist works, documentaries, and youth films. Strong government support for local cinema fuels a competitive and thriving industry of talent and quality filmmaking.
Films from Denmark are brought yearly to the Embassy in the Philippines by the Danish Film Institute, with Ambassador Christensen optimistic for a bigger audience with the steady growth and distribution of Danish cinema. Ambassador Christensen opened up the possibilities of co-production between the Danish and Philippine film industries, inviting the FDCP through their Film Cultural Exchange Program. With this the FDCP and the Embassy of Denmark may explore partnerships through the Danish Film Institute and even hold a Filipino film festival in the European country in the future, one of many plans the FDCP plans to pursue with international embassies next year.
An invitation-only gala screening of Rosita, Frederikke Aspöck's domestic drama already making the festival rounds and a winner of the Best Director award at the Moscow International Film Festival, opens this year’s Danish Film Festival on the 29th. The film stars Mercedes Cabral as the young mail-order bride, Rosita, sent to a small fishing town to wed a middle-aged widower Ulrik, played by Jens Albinus. Plagued by loneliness since his wife’s passing years prior, stoic Ulrik longs for companionship and shyly and unsurely tries to test compatibility with Rosita, despite their lack of a common language. The feisty Rosita, recognizing the opportunity that the arranged marriage would give her, does her best and relies on Ulrik’s young and restless son, Johannes, to translate for the two of them. Rosita and Johannes find an easy closeness, complicating the relationship of the family.
The film on clashing cultures is just one of several offerings at the festival, with a children’s action flick, an offbeat political comedy, and a touching family drama just a few of the Danish works to look forward to.
In Christina Rosendahl’s The Idealist, a nuclear accident gets swept under the carpet by the government, and a reporter slowly uncovers the true story eighteen years after.
THE IDEALIST Trailer
Sex, Drugs and Taxation
Going into a more comedic turn is Sex, Drugs and Taxation by Christoffer Boe, a radical and colorful portrait of two of the most provocative Danish politicians, Simon Spies and Mogens Glistrup.
SEX, DRUGS AND TAXATION Trailer
With Your Permission
There’s the dark comedy With Your Permission by Paprika Steen, a film that follows prudish ferryboat supervisor forced by his boss to deal with his abusive wife by going into group therapy, where he makes unlikely friends with his classmates.
Interview with the director Paprika Steen
The Hour of the Lynx
Going into deeper territory is Søren Kragh-Jacobsen’s The Hour of the Lynx, the story of a priest who helps peer into the thoughts of a young man imprisoned for a brutal and mysterious murder.
THE HOUR OF THE LYNX Trailer
The Keeper of Lost Causes
Mystery is also at the heart of The Keeper of Lost Causes by Mikkel Nørgaard, where a detective and his assistant reassigned to the department of terminated cases reopen the disappearance of a politician, marked since as a suicide, years ago.
THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES Trailer
Antboy: Revenge of the Red Fury
Similarly thrilling for the young and young-at-heart is the children’s film, Antboy: Revenge of the Red Fury by Ask Hasselbalch—sequel to hugely popular Antboy—with the young hero now faced challenged with a competitor in his romantic conquest and a mysterious, new face in villainy.
ANTBOY: REVENGE OF THE RED FURY Trailer
The meaning of family lies at the core of Silent Heart by Bille August, a film following the tribulations and conflicts of a family on their last weekend together as their terminally ill matriarch has made the decision to end her life before the disease takes her.
SILENT HEART Trailer
Justice, on the other hand, is at the center of The Candidate by Kasper Barfoed, the tale of a defense attorney who is himself accused of murder, and he takes justice into his hands to try to uncover his blackmailers, leading him to the mystery of his father’s death years before.
THE CANDIDATE Trailer
Polar opposites cap off the festival, with lighthearted fare coming from Charlotte Sachs Bostrup’s Karla’s World, where the eponymous Karla desperately wants her family to be together for the holidays, despite her divorced parents and her obnoxious younger brothers.
KARLA'S WORLD Trailer
Fear Me Not
Kristian Levring’s psychological thriller Fear Me Not completes the lineup, the story of a man who finds a new peace in taking experimental anti-depressants, even as the clinical trial for the medication is ended and the terrifying side effects take over his life.
FEAR ME NOT Trailer
The 2nd Danish Film Festival runs from September 29 to October 2 at the Shang Cineplex, with screenings offered for free on a first-come, first-served basis. The festival was made possible by the Danish Film Institute, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Shangri-la Plaza Mall, and Shang Cineplex.