Danish Days in India

FESTIVAL. Films by Lars von Trier, Tobias Lindholm, Annette K. Olesen and others were presented to a Chennai audience at a festival co-organised with the Danish embassy in New Delhi. The event is the result of a longstanding collaboration between the Danish Film Institute and embassies worldwide.

"Danish films have been noted for their realism, religious and moral themes, sexual frankness and technical innovation," says Emanadar Thangaraj, director of this first ever Danish Film Festival in Chennai. The festival, running 10-13 June, was organised by the Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF) in association with the Danish Embassy in New Delhi.

The programme comprised a series of recent Danish films – from experienced auteurs to first-time feature directors:

"Aching Hearts" by Nils Malmros, "Love & Rage" by Morten Giese, "Antichrist" by Lars von Trier, "R" by Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer, "Little Soldier" by Annette K. Olesen, "The Experiment" by Louise Friedberg – plus the Norwegian production "Headhunters" with celebrated Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

RThe harsh reality of prison life is one of the stories presented to the Chennai audience. "R" is Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer's feature debut. Photo: Magnus Nordenhof Jønck

Love and human nature

"The films portray the difficulties of love among young adults, the dark sides of human nature, and the harsh realities of marginalised groups in society, and they are all rooted in individual life stories," says the festival director, whose ICAF association is also behind December's larger Chennai International Film Festival.

"Whether you live in Denmark, India or any other place on the planet, these films all hold the potential to challenge your world view and make you ask questions about right and wrong and all the layers in between."  

Embassies working with local partners

Danish cinema is represented at yet another Indian festival. The 18th European Film Festival entitled "Celebrating Women" is showing Martin Pieter Zandvliet's drama "Applause" whose lead actress Paprika Steen is featured on the festival poster. "Celebrating Women" takes place in 11 Indian cities and runs through July.

That these films are being made available to Indian audiences is the result of a longstanding collaboration between the Danish Film Institute and Danish representations around the world. Every year a DVD selection of new films is offered to Danish representations and cultural institutes abroad for them to arrange screening events with local film communities, such as the ICAF in Chennai.