Danish cinema for beginners

I have been wanting to do a post like this for ages: A small collection of – in my opinion – the ‘must watch’ Danish film. I am of course biased, and absolutely love every single film listed below for various reasons.

Here goes, in no particular order:

1. The Celebration (Festen) (1998).

Dogme Classic by Thomas Vinterberg. Uncomfortable, gripping film about a family with unspoken secrets, which all appear at a 60th Birthday party. I love the realness of the film, how the handheld cameras provide a feeling of being right there at the party. It is a story that wants to be told, and no longer ignored.


2. Melancholia (2011)

Another rather strange film from Thomas Vinterbergs partner in crime, Lars Von Trier. Von Trier probably doesn’t need much further introduction. Like him or not, he does have certain abilities of making film that stand out. Melancholia is a gripping story where we follow a dramatic time in a family’s life. And if that wasn’t enough, a giant meteor called Melancholia is steering right at Earth. I loved the images and the time the film takes to tell the story. It is so much more than just another disaster film.


3. The One and Only (Den Eneste Ene) (1999). 

A romantic comedy by Susanne Bier. Not exactly my preferred genre, but this one takes the cake. It is genuinely funny with a lovely storyline. It’s biggest strength is the amazing characters this film has, and how an impossible situation turns for the better for everyone involved. It also has Sidste Babett Knudsen in a leading role (aka Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen).

“If your relationship was a car, which one would it be?” (Saying a ‘van’ is probably not the right way to go).

No English subtitles on the trailer unfortunately, such a shame!


4. After The Wedding (Efter brylluppet) (2006). 

One more by Susanne Bier, starring Sidse Babett Knudsen (again) and Mads Mikkelsen. A story that goes straight to the heart, the contrast between Indian slum and Danish welfare  the battle between loyalty and love. This is one of my all time favourites, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching it.


5. Adams Apples (Adams Aebler) (2005)

A film written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, starring Mads Mikkelsen as a slightly disillusioned priest, who tries to guide and help criminal types to rehabilitate. When a neo-nazi joins the group, things start to get out of control. He is told to set a goal for himself, and he decides to bake a giant apple pie using the apples from the tree outside the church. Serious, hilarious  and thought provoking, all at the same time.


I could go on almost forever, but perhaps there will be a sequel at some point.


2 thoughts on “Danish cinema for beginners

  1. Jeg synes du mangler Hjemve, en overset morsom og underfundig film om hvad der sker i en lille provinsby efter man har set en nøgen mand gå rundt om natten kun med en avis i hånden. Instrueret af Lone Scherfig og Niels Hausgaard

    1. Den har jeg ikke set, men den lyder bestemt interessant! Mangler en del på den her liste, italiensk for begyndere, per fly’s triologo, osv. Man kunne blive ved! 🙂

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