DANISH FILMS (Foreign Film Discussion)

I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from film/tv for the moment, but as soon as I’m ready to start consuming again, I’d like to start with some Danish cinema.

Unfortunately, I only know the popular stuff. Susanne Bier, Thomas Vinterberg, NWR and Lars are the only Danish filmmakers I’m really familiar with. I’ve seen random Danish films from other auteurs/writers/directors, but outside of the latter four heavy weights, I’m kind of clueless.

Can anyone help me out?

I’m Danish and I don’t even bother watching Danish films :joy:
There are a few good ones now and then. If I had to name a few off the top of my head, it would be “Adams Æbler”, “Blå mænd” & “Alle for en”/ “Alle for to”.


Well lets start with comedy movies you have to watch a couple of movies from the director Anders Thomas Jensen. Movies such as Flickering Lights.

Flickering Lights (Blinkende Lygter)

  • Four small-time gangsters from Copenhagen trick a gangster boss: they take over 4,000,000 kroner which they were supposed to bring him. Trying to escape to Barcelona they are forced to stop in the countryside, in an old, wrecked house, hiding there for several weeks. Slowly, one after another, they realize, that they would like to stay there, starting a new life, renovating the house and forming it into a restaurant. But they can’t avoid being caught up by their past.

The Green Butchers (De Grønne Slagter)

  • Svend and Bjarne work for a butcher in a small Danish town. Fed up with their boss’ arrogance, they decide to start their own butcher shop. After dismal beginnings, an unfortunate accident happens which coincides with a large order of meat. One hasty decision leads to another and soon the business thrives. In the meantime, Bjarne has to deal with his twin brother who has been in coma for years following a gruesome car accident.

Adam’s Apples (Adams Æbler)

  • A neo-nazi sentenced to community service at a church clashes with the blindly devotional priest.

all three film stars Mads Mikkelsen and you soon see a hole different side of him as an actor, all films are filled with Dark humor and lot of depth and imagery. The newer stuff is more or less a danish ripoff of American blockbusters, but trying to be more outrageous. Simply put they suck. Though if you havn’t watched it then ‘Klovn the Movie’.

Klovn the movie

  • In order to prove his fatherhood potential to his pregnant girlfriend, Frank ‘kidnaps’ her 12-year-old nephew and tags along on his best friend Casper’s debauched weekend canoe trip.

Then we can get to the dramas, i’m pretty sure you have watched ‘The Hunt’?. So let’s skip that and go into an older movie from Thomas Vinterbeg called ‘The Celebration’ (Festen)

The Celebration

  • At Helge’s 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.

Not go to much into this, because they mean a lot for the film.

Brothers (Brødre) by Susanne Bier.

  • Two brothers must negotiate changing roles and shifting family dynamics when one is sent to war in Afghanistan.

A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære)

  • A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with her physician - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever.

Flame and Citron (Flammen og Citronen)

  • A drama centered on two fighters in the Holger Danske World War II resistance group.

Then we get to the Action / Crime movies


  • A drug pusher grows increasingly desperate after a botched deal leaves him with a large debt to a ruthless drug lord.

Pusher II

  • Tony is released from prison - again. This time he has his mind set on changing his broken down life, but that is easier said than done.

Both Pusher movies stars Mads Mikkelsen.

There is one horror recommendation, The Night watch staring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (The King Slayer)

The Night Watch (Nattevagten)

  • In order to finance his law studies, Martin starts as a night watchman in a mortuary. When the victims of a serial killer of prostitutes are deposited there, scary things begin to happen. Therefore and because of a strange bet with his fellow student Jens, the police begins to think he is the murderer. Police detective Wormer wants to help him but Martin is more and more suspected.

There is a lot of crap from more recent times, i would stay clear of ‘Blå Mænd’ and ‘Alle for en’ and ‘Alle for to’. That is the cheap Hollywood knockoff i talked about earlier on.

There there is a couple of tv-shows like Klovn, which Klovn the movie is based on. It’s about Frank Hvam, a comedian who plays himself and his socially awkward misadventures.

Then here is a crime show called ‘The Protectors’, where Agent 47 aka “David Bateson” plays a C.I.A agent. No idea if it’s good, i just knows that’s in there. David got a lot of Cameos in shows, like Klovn and other comedy shows.


Basically everything @Mads47 said, although there are a couple of them i haven’t seen.

Also, R is a very realistic and kinda disturbing film about life in a Danish prison for violent offenders. It is made Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm, who also made a couple of other films about gang violence and war.

My favorite Danish film is probably Flickering Lights. It’s a bit Tarantinoesque, but spiced up with some dark Danish humor. It is made by Anders Thomas Jensen, who also made The Green Butchers and Adams Apples. They’re all dark comedies, and I’d say Flickering Lights is the best one.

@Neon_Ronin Where are you from if you don’t mind me asking? And where does your interest for Danish films come from?

Here’s a little to get you started.

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Can attest to this one. Very good.

I’d also recommend Valhalla Rising. It also stars Mads Mikkelsen and is directed by Nicholas Winding Refn of Drive fame. It’s a very odd film, heavy on atmosphere, minimal on dialogue and has long moments of unsettling calm with brief bursts of very savage violence. It’s filmed in the Scottish highlands and what little dialogue there is is in English, so it doesn’t “feel” very Danish - But it is anyway. So there.

It also has a soundtrack by Peter Peter and Peter Keyd who did a lot of the music for Hitman Absolution.

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Appreciate the heads up, friend. Really looking forward to ADAM’S APPLE. The other two though, since I’m not a big comedy guy, don’t look super interesting to me. I mean, I live in America, the home of fifteen average comedy features being released a week. I’m basically allergic to the genre now.

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This has been a great way to burn time until Mafia III’s release :slight_smile:


There’s definitely nothing wrong with venting, especially considering we have a thread here just for that. I might be interested in reading your screenplay, purely out of curiosity since I don’t know that much about script writing, but feel free to send it / post it. I wont promise anything though, but I’ll try to get around to reading it.

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I’m Danish and usually don’t like danish films that much, although the dark comedies already mentioned and a few of the others are great.

So here are a few not mentioned that I remember was good or really liked.
TERKEL IN TROUBLE - Animation (Rated R), very much in line with the dark danish humour of the other comedies. There’s also other animations in the same style, but I didn’t think they were that great. (JOURNEY TO SATURN is one)
THE BENCH - Starring Jesper Christensen of Bond fame (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Spectre), It may not be something for everyone and I think it impacted me harder, because I had family members which were alcoholics. Maybe I should watch it again, since I haven’t seen it since that first time.

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Interesting. I appreciate the recommendations. Definitely will look those films up.

The Hunt is probably my ultimate “favorite movie that I’ll never watch again”.

And speaking of NWR what did you think of the Neon Demon. I’ve watched it once and am on the fence about it. Some of it is genius, some of it fell flat for me. I still need to give it a second watch though.

After the Wedding is another great Danish movie featuring Mads that I haven’t seen mentioned here.

Yeah you hit the nail on the head with this one. I have a fascination for his visual style and he really is original and unmatched in what he does. I’m also one of the few who liked only god forgives and I’m still willing to defend that movie every occasion I get. When it comes to a neon demon, some parts were lazy and uninspired (the mountain lion didn’t really serve any purpose), some needlessly provocative (I didn’t mind the morgue scene but I realize he was mainly trying to be edgy here, it doesn’t really fit in).

But I think the themes of the movie went a bit deeper than most people give it credit for. Yes on the surface it’s about Hollywood and the dream factory (reminded of Mulholland Drive) but it’s also about beauty and youth. Why is it so important to us, how is it so ephemeral, etc. That’s where it merges with the vampire theme which although not new, I thought it worked well here in the context of the movie.

The interviews I’ve seen of NWR talking about the movie didn’t help me appreciate it at all though. He seemed really complacent and self-important… even more so than usual. And when he says he wrote that movie for his wife… yeah that’s just weird dude.

Regarding After the Wedding, I can see what you mean. It didn’t really bother me though. It was like watching a play, you have to accept that it’s going to be a bit over the top.

And I haven’t seen Submarino yet, but it’s on my list :slight_smile:

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It just resonated with me I guess. It’s a much tighter and cohesive movie than the neon demon, imo. More similar to Drive actually, but pushed to the extreme, as if NWR was finally givien the opportunity to realize his vision after the commercial success of drive. Only god forgives isn’t to supposed to be judged on the basis of its story, especially if you take it in the literal sense, since it’s loaded with symbolism.

I see it mostly as a visual trip. The pacing, the cinematography, the acting… every thing in this movie felt overcooked in one way or another while still remaining genuine and it really fascinated me. You really can’t walk away from that movie with neutral feelings. It’s supposed to elicit a visceral reaction. I like this movie because it’s bold and uncompromising and I admire that. It’s certainly not my favorite film and it had its flaws (hate the karaoke for example) but I never get bored watching it.

Wow, very interesting personal history! I am not sure if you are familiar with Japanese films since you have Ronin in your name. Kurosawa Kiyoshi (not Akira) and Miike Takashi’s films are great! Also Ozu’s Anti-Cinema is a highly-recommended book to read! Good luck with your movie scavenging! xD

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Dane here.

Blinkende Lygter (flickering lights) is by far the best danish comedy in my opinion. I have watched that so many times. In addition to being funny as hell it is also a very good and well told story.

However I have always wondered if the danish type of humor can be understod by others. Oftentimes it’s about how things are said, the tone in witch it said and the words used. I imagine that some of it flies right by foreigners? Blinkende Lygter is much about this. It not so much the actions that are funny, it’s much more the dialogue. There are only few punchlines or obvious funny situations, it’s a more of a subtle and dark type of humor.

It’s definitely more like British humor than American, which I guess is why I prefer the British comedies. But I have the advantage of being quite familiar with the english language, which will not be the case for Brits watching a danish movie.

I guess my question is - What are your experience with this?

Topic: Well Neon-Ronin, you have already watched a lot of the good ones. I’m glad you enjoyed Submarino which I think is an underrated movie.

I would also sugges “The Bench” that Tigon_3rd mentioned.

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My favourite foreign film is Life is Beautiful (1997) - absolutely brilliant film. Will make you cry.

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Go watch “Under Sandet” (Land of Mine), it’s easily one of the better Danish produced movies in years.

It’s a WW2 movie about young German boys being forced to “clean up” after the war, they’re forced to crawl around on the danish beaches to disarm mines.

Really thought provoking film.


Agree, it was a great film and i learned a bit of Danish history.

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I also got reminded of an old Danish horror called SIDSTE TIME that I also liked when I was younger.
I’m not really that into horror anymore, unless it is more of a psychological horror. Even then, by me just avoiding horror generally, those also get caught in my web of avoidance.

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I posted this in the movie thread, but since this has been rebranded “Foreign Film Discussion” I may as well repost.

I saw an Iranian horror film called Under The Shadow this weekend. It’s set in the late 80s in Tehran, during the Iran Iraq war. It’s about a famly who start to experience strange things after an unexploded missile comes through the roof of their apartment complex. It’s got some proper gooseflesh level scares that get under your skin.

It’s only on very limited release at the moment but they’ve obtained a deal for it to come to Netflix soon. I would recommend it.

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