Below are excerpts from the September programme:
Flame & Citron — Danish film of the month
A boxoffice hit in Denmark, this lavish and beautifully constructed wartime drama is both hugely entertaining and at times brutally shocking. Starring Thure Lindhardt and Mads Mikkelsen. A World War II drama based on true events with much of the plot and dialogue developed from eyewitness accounts. "Avoiding the clichés often associated with wartime drama, director Ole Christian Madsen brings a piercing freshness of vision coupled with a real sense of history and passion" (London Film Festival, 2008). Read more in the articles, links in right column. Screening Thursday 17. 19:00
John Cassavetes — Independent film's master
John Cassavetes has a unique position in the evolution of American film over the last half century. The remarkable shot of intimacy and authenticity he gave cinema blazed a trail for the independent productions that have contributed so much to American film in the years since. This series is an opportunity to see a lion's share of his films – in addition to a few of his best acting performances that have never before been shown in Denmark.
Frank Capra — Voice of America
Very few directors have ever had their earliest works restored and shown at festivals. Frank Capra (1897-1991) is the rare exception. More than 80 years after they were made, the films in this series have now been restored to their original beauty. Capra's films from the 1930s – before he had his big popular breakthrough with the masterpieces "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" – are carried by a common theme of innocence going up against corruption in America. Fellow director John Cassavetes called Capra "the greatest American director of all … the epitome of the American dream."
Juliette Binoche – Icon of flesh and blood
Some find her sensual and sexy, others utterly unapproachable. Her roles have ranged from saucy ("The unbearable Lightness of Being") to mournful ("Blue") and chocolicious ("Chocolat"). She has played an adventuress ("Le Hussard sur le toit") and also put a razor-sharp edge on everyday living ("Caché"). At 45, Juliette Binoche – who will soon be seen in a new drama, "Paris" – is a singular creature in cinema: a multifaceted, often frayed flesh-and-blood person with the ethereal, timeless face of an icon.
KomplEKS-Yugoslavia – Once upon a time there was a land
The demise of Yugoslavia and the ethnic conflicts in the Balkans have been the subject of more than 50 features and 200 documentaries. One upshot of the tragic events is a new generation of talented directors and writers coming into their own. While the first films from the former Yugoslavia described an anarchic and amoral nightmare, a spate of more recent films have been more contemplative meditations on war trauma and the hope of reconciliation. The nine films in this series all take off from the breakdown of Yugoslavia, including the Golden Lion winner "Before the Rain" (1995) and the Golden Bear winner "Grbavica" (2006).
Whack! Swash! Kapow! – Martial arts films from Hongkong to Hollywood
Martial arts film can be split up into a parade of subgenres – kung fu, karate, boxing, Thai boxing, wuxia and so on. The common thread in these films is that it is not only the protagonist's foes that come under attack, but also the norms of what the human body can do or resist. Though these films have been unfairly pooh-poohed as mindless juvenile entertainment, they are examples of the type of film that values aesthetics over narrative. Extreme brutality and extreme gracefulness come together in these films, as they do in the term itself, "martial arts" – war arts.
Sunday Doc: "A Blooming Business" – the wiltered odour of globalization
The smell of fresh flowers has hints of rot in the documentary "A Blooming Business," as three workers discuss their jobs at big industrial export nurseries in Naivasha, Kenya. Twelve-hour workdays, debilitating chemicals, sexual exploitation, polluted drinking water and slave-like labour conditions – so that well-to-do citizens can have fresh flowers on their tables. Crafting a powerful and poetic tale, director Ton van Zantvort illuminates his subjects' dreams in a shady world.
The director will be present for a question-and-answer session after the screening Sunday 13. 14:30.