The Promised Land Selected for Main Competition at Venice Film Festival

FESTIVAL. Nikolaj Arcel's Zentropa production 'The Promised Land' is competing for the Golden Lion when the festival opens its doors to its 80th edition on August 30th.

Director Nikolaj Arcel co-wrote the script with Anders Thomas Jensen. In the title role is Mads Mikkelsen, and in other roles are Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Melina Hagberg, Kristine Kujath Thorp, Gustav Lindh, Morten Hee Andersen, and Jacob Lohmann.

The film takes place in the mid-1700s, where Danish King Frederik V has declared that the wild heath of Jutland should be tamed, cultivated, and colonized to allow civilization to spread and generate new taxes for the royal house. However, no one dared to heed the King’s decree. The heath was synonymous with certain death – a godforsaken place haunted by ravenous wolves, highwaymen, and a brutal, unforgiving nature. But in the late summer of 1755, a lone soldier named Ludvig Kahlen rode into the heath, stubbornly pursuing a lifelong dream. He was determined to reach his goal: The heath would either bring him the wealth and honour he had long sought… or it would conquer him.

Louise Vesth has produced the film for Zentropa with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

The Venice Film Festival

Claus Ladegaard, CEO of The Danish Film Institute, says: "The selection of 'The Promised Land' for the main competition in Venice is not just a recognition of the film's quality and the talent behind it, but also a testament to Danish cinema's ability to create stories that resonate on a global scale - stories that challenge, inspire, and touch audiences around the world.".

The last time a Danish film was in the main competition in Venice was in 2014 when Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary 'The Look of Silence' picked up a Grand Special Jury Prize among other awards, and back in 1955 Carl Th. Dreyer secured the Golden Lion for 'Ordet'.

The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival run August 30 to September 9, 2023.