Three fantastic Danish films we caught at Glasgow Film Festival 2021

The Glasgow Film Festival took place between 24th February and the 7th March, with a whole host of fantastic movies to watch online. As always, we checked the line-up for any with connections to the Nordics, and managed to catch three fantastic Danish films that had been on our radar for a while. We hope they will get general release soon for you all to enjoy too! Find out more about these three screenings we enjoyed so much…

WILDLAND

We first heard about Wildland last year when there were glowing reviews from both Variety and The Guardian. Variety had described the lead actress Sandra Guldberg Kampp as having ‘something of the young Scarlett Johansson about her‘. It has been a long wait to catch it and expectations levels were high – and the movie lived up to these.

Sandra plays quiet and troubled teenager Ida who, after being involved in a dreadful accident with her mother, has to be placed in the care of her aunt (another brilliant performance from Borgen‘s Sidse Babett Knudsen). Her aunt seems to be operating in the criminal underworld with the help of her clumsy, wayward sons. Ida is thrust into this world, finding herself dragged into various dangerous situations with the three brothers and entangled in their relationships.

Variety’s review was right to alert you to the presence of Sandra in this movie who, for her feature debut, completely owns this film with a simmering performance that will leave you thinking long and hard about her character Ida’s intentions. The story has many layers and examines the themes of family, love, loyalty, loss, and is only fully appreciated once the film ends and you have chance to digest it all.

This movie is certainly a slow burn that is built of it’s performances and will haunt you afterwards with plenty to discuss.

Meet the family! Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kamp – far left) and her new family unit

SHORTA

There has been some great buzz around Shorta, with it picking up nominations at the recent Robert Awards in Denmark (including Özlem Saglanmak winning an award for best supporting actress).

One has to be careful with the trailer for this movie, as it paints a picture of a slightly different film – that of a high octane action flick, which this is not. Much like Wildland this movie is about the performances, and it has to be noted that for both movies these are directorial debuts and quite frankly if this is their first stab at features then the future is incredibly bright!

From the opening scenes a feeling of discomfort starts as we hear news of a police brutality incident injuring an innocent suspect. We follow two confrontational police officers associated with the investigation as they patrol the streets, meanwhile a sense of unrest is building in the community in response to the news.

As full chaos and violence breaks out, the officers get stuck on the wrong side of town and find themselves outnumbered and running for cover. They flee, with a youth (played by a magnificent Tarek Zayat) they just arrested in tow, and use his local knowledge to try and escape and get to safety.

A difficult journey ensues, both physically as they try to escape the area, and emotionally as they face their demons, prejudices, and own wrong-doings. Will they emerge alive and changed for the better?

Since watching the film we got the chance to speak to Jacob Lohmann, who plays one of the police officers, Mike. We can’t wait to share that discussion with you later in the year when the movie gets a UK release!

It has to be said we are suckers for great movie posters and Shorta’s is fantastic!

RIDERS OF JUSTICE

Our third movie was Riders of Justice, a dark dark comedy written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen and starring Mads Mikkelsen. The movie was released last year shortly after the incredible award-winning Another Round.

Mads’ character, Markus, broods as an emotionally vacant ticking timebomb, returning home to his daughter from the armed forces after the news that his wife has been killed in a horrendous metro train accident. He is then tracked down and told by one of the survivors of the incident that foul play might have been at work, while his daughter documents a trail of coincidences that led her and her mother to be on the train that day. What is really going on?

Mads as Markus gets into a spot of bother (Photo Credit:ROLF KONOW)

As much as Mads is the star draw for a future international audience, it is the cast around him who really capture your attention and steer this movie. We have Nikolaj Lie Kaas playing data analyst Otto paired with his colleague Lars Brygmann who plays Lennart – a role that bagged him a Robert Award for best supporting actor in the movie, and rightly so!

Their eccentric friend Emmenthaler, played by Nicholas Bro, joins the mission and together they are a tour de force when delivering the humour with this incredibly funny script. The comedy explodes on screen along with the violence, and don’t be fooled – this movie is brutal as much as it is hilarious.

Amongst the testosterone and ‘c bombs’, actress Andrea Heick Gadenberg who plays Markus’ daughter, shines with a performance that saw her pick up the best actress award from the Robert Awards. Her character comes to terms with being a survivor of the accident, trying to cope with her distant father and the band of misfits that he has brought home to track down the men they think are responsible for the incident that killed her mother.

This is a brilliant bit of entertainment to make you laugh, wince, and maybe even cry!

Lars, Andrea, Mads, Nikolaj and Nicholas hand out the laughs, the violence, and the tears in the excellent Riders of Justice!

So all in all a fantastic week and great to finally have the opportunity to see some of the much hyped Nordic movies – we will keep a close eye on when these movies will get a UK release and let you know.

Well done and thank you to Glasgow Film Festival for putting together an incredible programme and giving members of the public the opportunity to see these movies.

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