Bille August begins production on epic historical drama

IN PRODUCTION. Bille August's romantic drama with the Danish title 'Kysset' begins principal photography in Hungary and Denmark. It stars Esben Smed and Clara Rosager as two young lovers on the precipice of World War I. The film is expected to premiere August 18 2022.

Bille August is keeping busy. His latest feature, 'The Pact', only just premiered in the Danish cinemas, nevertheless the acclaimed director is now ready to begin production on a new historical drama.

Later this week he begins production on the epic romantic drama with the Danish title 'Kysset' ('The Kiss'), loosely adapted from Stefan Zweig's novel 'Ungeduld des Herzen'. The screenplay is written by August and has been adapted to a Danish setting.

The action takes place in 1913 in the days leading up to World War I. Shooting stars Esben Smed and Clara Rosager star in the grand tale of the young, ambitious man Anton Abildgaard, whose highest priority is to graduate with honors as an officer in the cavalry. 

One day, he is invited to a dance hosted by Baron Løvenskjold, played by Lars Mikkelsen. By mistake, he invites the nobleman's beautiful daughter Edith to dance, not knowing that she is paralyzed following a tragic accident. Embarrassed and guilt-ridden by his oversight, Abildgaard tries to make up for his mistake, leading the young lady to fall in love with him. 

Struck by pity and pride, Abildgaard has trouble being honest with Edith and his attempts at doing the right thing fail. Suddenly he is caught in a web of false promises and lies that slowly spirals out of control. Meanwhile, World War I approaches steadfast, threatening to seal Anton and Edith's faith for good. 

The team

Bille August has had great success with his historical dramas based on literary classics. He won an Oscar for 'Pelle the Conqueror', based on Martin Andersen Nexø's novel of the same name, in 1987. His follow-up feature 'The Best Intentions', written by Ingmar Bergman, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival. In more recent years, August has interpreted Henrik Pontoppidan's 'A Fortunate Man' with the box office hit of the same name. His latest feature 'The Pact' is based on Thorkild Bjørnvig's novel about his relationship with world-renowned author Karen Blixen.

'Kysset' reunites August with actor Esben Smed whose starring turn in 'A Fortunate Man' earned him a nomination at the Danish Film Awards. Smed is known for his parts in the primetime series 'Follow the Money', which earned him a Danish Film Award, and as the lead in Niels Arden Oplev's hostage drama 'Daniel'. 

Clara Rosager was nominated for a Danish Film Award and a Bodil Award for the Danish western 'Before the Frost' by Michael Noer. She has also starred in the box office hit 'The Purity of Vengeance' as well as TV series 'The Rain' and 'The Interrogation'. 

Also on the cast are international stars Lars Mikkelsen and David Dencik as well as Rosalinde Mynster, Klaus Tilsted Søndergaard, Kurt Dreyer, Henrik Blauner, Lukas Toya, Mikkel Baden-Jensen, Nicolai Dahl Hamilton and Lane Lind.

Behind the camera are, amongst others, cinematographer Sebastian Blenkov, production designer Jette Lehman and editors Anne Østerud and Janus Billeskov.

Thomas Heinesen is producing for Nordisk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute's Market Scheme. The film is also supported by FilmFyn, the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film and TV Fond, Clausen Group and Hungary Tax Rebate. The film is expected to premiere August 18 2022.