After many years of working abroad, Danish director Bille August has returned to his native country to direct "Passion of Marie", a film set in the late 19th century about Marie Krøyer who was married to the great Danish painter P.S Krøyer.
First time in 25 years
"It's been a pleasure for me to work with Danish actors," says Bille August who has been shooting for two weeks in Skagen and Marstand in Sweden.
The Skagen Painters
P.S. Krøyer was a member of the Skagen Painters from the late 1800s who gathered in the northernmost part of Denmark to take advantage of the quality of light and the realist subjects of the local fishermen. His wife Marie, herself a painter, appears in many of Krøyer's paintings.
"It's been 25 years since I last worked in Denmark and new actors have entered the field, which means that I have been able to choose freely among them – without any preconceptions or regard to who has starred in what."
The relationship between Marie and the manic-depressive P.S. Krøyer in the years 1889-1905 is remarkable and provides apt material for a dramatic love story, says Bille August.
"The film is about the painters in Skagen at that time, so we have filmed mainly in Skagen. It's been a great experience to try and capture the landscape and the Nordic light from the paintings."
On 17 October, when autumn has set in, Bille August and his team will resume filming for four more weeks. Peter Asmussen has scripted the film, and Signe Leick Jensen and Karin Trolle produce for SF Film Production. Domestic release of "Passion of Marie" is set for August 2012.
Bille August's breakthrough into international recognition came with his Palme d'Or and Oscar winner "Pelle The Conqueror" (1988), and in 1991 August received his second Palme d'Or for the Swedish production "The Best Intentions" with a script by Ingmar Bergman.
He has since directed a number of international co-productions including "The House of the Spirits" (1993), "Jerusalem" (1996), "Smilla's Sense of Snow" (1997), "Les Misérables" (1998), "Return to Sender" (2004) and "Goodbye Bafana" (2007).