Thessaloniki pays tribute to Bier

FESTIVAL. "In a Better World" and seven of Susanne Bier's earlier films are presented in a comprehensive retrospective series at Thessaloniki International Film Festival opening 3 December.

Susanne Bier is undoubtedly one of Danish cinema's most celebrated figures in recent years. Not least Bier's latest feature "In a Better World" is adding to her international renown. Running this week in Goa at the International Film Festival of India, the film is now off to the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (3-12 December) heading a retrospective series with seven of her films that span two decades.

In addition, the director will receive the festival's Creative Excellence Award, presented to her by the Greek Minister for Culture in connection with the screening of "In a Better World" on 10 December.

Thessaloniki on Bier

"Susanne Bier’s cinema is a brave cinema. The characters of her films are heroes. They may not fly through the air, or save humanity, or possess superhuman powers. But they live in contemporary societies; they have to surmount daily obstacles that are caused by external as well as internal factors; they have to go beyond their personal limits, reconcile with familial burdens, walk a dangerous moral tightrope, and, somehow, while still struggling, they must find it within themselves to joke after work, to smile amidst the conflict, to reach out after the loss.

Susanne Bier’s cinema is brave, but it is also generous. All her heroes are human. They have weaknesses, needs, desires; they get angry, sometimes they upset and hurt other people – and they’re afraid. Like their creator, who has said at times that there are different things she is afraid of: the randomness of events, the danger of contentedness, how we deal with the instinct of revenge. Susanne Bier is afraid and she makes movies to exorcise her fears. But in doing so she doesn’t burden her films – or her audience. Because she doesn’t unload her worries and anxieties; instead she shares, she listens, she discusses, she empathizes, she wonders – and always, at the end, she hopes. What could be more brave and more generous?"

– Elena Christopoulou

Oscar pick and solid hit

"In a Better World" is Denmark's pick for the upcoming Oscar nominations in the best foreign-language category. Bier's drama about two families, whose lives intersect as ethical principles are put to the test, was launched internationally in Toronto and took home the Grand Jury Prize and an audience award in Rome as well as awards for best direction and best screenplay in Sevilla.

The film, a solid national boxoffice hit, is sold to over 30 countries and has already enjoyed a warm reception in Sweden and Norway where it opened two months ago. Theatrical release in Italy and Spain are set for early 2011, and more countries are being lined up.

Also showing

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival has selected additionally three Danish films, all of which have received international acclaim in 2010: Thomas Vinterberg's "Submarino", Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm's feature film debut "R", and "Erotic Man" by Danish documentary's grand old man Jørgen Leth.

International sales for "In a Better World" are handled by

Thessaloniki International Film Festival / 3-12 December
International Film Festival of India / 22 November – 2 December