Athens celebrates Leth

Magnificent and multifaceted is the praise bestowed upon Jørgen Leth by Athens International Film Festival, who will present Leth with an Honorary Award 20 September.

Film director, journalist, poet, and guest lecturer at the National Film School of Denmark, Jørgen Leth has directed over forty films since the early 1960s. A key figure in the 1960's milieu of experimental documentary filmmakers and advocate of Danish poetic modernism, Leth developed a unique mythic and epic approach to the genre of sports documentaries.

Leth's films and awards

His most important films are »Det perfekte mennesker«/»The Perfect Human« (1967), »Livet i Danmark«/»Life in Denmark« (1971), and »66 scener fra Amerika«/»66 Scenes from America« (1981). Leth's most renowned sports documentaries are »Stjernerne og vandbærerne«/»Stars and Watercarriers« (1973) and »En forårsdag i helvede«/»A Sunday in Hell« (1976).


Read the interview by Mette Hjort in "The Danish Directors - Dialogues on a Contemporary National Cinema", Intellect, 2001.

Film awards include: Best Documentary at Bilbao for »Notater fra Kina«/»Notebook from China«; »Haïti. Uden titel«/Haïti. Untitled« (1996) received Best Film Award at Chicago; »Nye scener fra Amerika«/»New Scenes from America« (2002) was selected for IDFA Amsterdam's Silver Wolf programme; and »De fem benspænd«/»The Five Obstructions« (2003), co-directed with Lars von Trier, attracted attention at its world premiere at Venezia Festival D'Arte Cinematografica.

Leth's achievement awards and honours include theThomas Mann Award 1972, the Danish Academy's Special Prize 1983, the Hammerich Award 1992, and a lifelong grant from the Danish Art Foundation in 1995.

Athens Honorary Award ceremony

Jørgen Leth will receive the Honorary Award 20 September, 20:15 at the Apollon Cinemax Class theatre. The ceremony will be followed by the screening of "A Sunday in Hell". Engraved in the award is the inscription: In recognition of his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of filmmaking.

A bike-fanatics dream of a movie

"A Sunday in Hell", an international classic, is one of the ten Leth-films selected for the festival. It portrays the discipline and heroism of the biking elite on the famous Paris-Roubaix track. The complete list of films screening in Athens is as follows:

66 Scenes from America
Chinese Ping Pong
The Five Obstructions
Good and Evil
Haïti. Untitled
The Impossible Hour
Life in Denmark
The Perfect Human
A Sunday in Hell