Saturday, June 26, 2021

Another Round picks up an Oscar

 It was puzzling how a comedy about drinking could win the best foreign film Oscar.  "Another Round" ("Druk" in Danish original) deserved the award.  Drunks can be entertaining, but at some point they become pathetic.  The scriptwriter was making a statement about the Danish drinking culture which is not all that different from what we encounter in Canada and elsewhere.  

At the very beginning there is a clip about a drinking game where students form teams and carry a case of booze around a portion of a lake and then are obligated to drink.  The one rule I caught was that if they needed to vomit they had to do it as a team.  After some credits the story starts out innocently enough and we are introduced to the four main characters who are all teachers.  Their students seem disinterested.  Martin seems to have a sterile relationship with his wife Anika.  

The action develops as the four gather for a 40th birthday celebration.  Nikolaj, the birthday celebrant brings up about a psychology proposition that declares man was born with a shortage of BAC (blood alcohol content) short by 0.5% and would be better off if they could maintain a higher BAC.  Martin, at first is very reluctant to drink, but gradually gives in and the four all have a pleasant evening.

They get together the next day and formalize their experiment.  They are going to drink on the job, but not past 8 pm and not on weekends.  Before too long each of the four not only seem more relaxed and creative, but also get a better reception from their students.  Gradually, feeling the experiment is going well they increase their alcohol intake. 

The antics of the four inebriated teachers do seem very comical and they all seem happier not only in their jobs, but also personally.  Then the reality we all should have expected starts to set in.  The only two marriages we see become difficult and eventually Martin's wife leaves with the children. Somewhere at this time Nikolaj who had been writing up the experiment declared it was over.  Bad things still happen and one event will wait for your viewing.

Several small clips are shown with prominent politicians drinking and being drunk.  Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton holding each other up was memorable.

At the end we learn the students did unexpectedly well and went off to celebrate.  Three of the teachers join in and we see Martin for the first time dance as he had been earlier kidded about having taken jazz ballet dancing.  You should feel sober at the end, but Martin is not.

The movie does have a serioius impact.  It is well presented to make a point.

Sisse Graum Jorgensen, the producer has long been supportive of Danish directors such as Thomas Vinterberg and Susanne Bier.  She has produced such films as "Brothers" (2004), my all time favorite, "After the Wedding" (2006), an Oscar winner, "In A Better World" (2010), Oscar nominated "A Royal Affair" (2012), another Oscar nominated, "The Hunt" (2012), "The Salvation" (2014), an English language film with Danish director, writer and leading man.  She was also an executive producer for the English remake, "After the Wedding " (2019).

Thomas Vinterberg directed and wrote the script.  After graduating from the National Film School of Denmark he won awards at two international film festivals for short films.  An early film, "It's All About Love" (2003) was with Hollywood stars, Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes and Sean Penn. In 2005 he teamed up with Lars von Trier for "Dear Wendy," another English language film.  He directed and co-wrote "The Hunt" that received an Oscar nomination.  He directed "Far from The Madding Crowd" (2015).    He was also nominated for best director Oscar with "Another Round."  His daughter was due to make a film debut with this film, but died in a car accident just beforehand and the film was dedicated to her.

Tobias Lindholm co-wrote the script.  He wrote 10 scripts for popular Danish mini series "Borgen" (2011).  His scripts include "The Hunt" (2012),  "A Hijacking" (2012).

Music clips cover Tchaikovksy, choral, rock, choral and jazz.

Mads Mikkelsen was the leading actor, Martin.   His career had included numerous top films including "After the Wedding" (2006), "Casino Royale" (2006), "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" (2009), "The Salvation" (2014), "Arctic" (2018) and the American mini series, "Hannibal" (2013-2015).  As one of my favorite actors you can read more at:

Thomas Bo Larsen played the gym teacher.  His films have included, "It's All About Love" (2003), "Dear Wendy" (2005) and "The Hunt" (2012).

Quotes at the beginning from Soren Kierkegaard:  "What is youth? A dream.  What is love? The content of the dream."  Not sure how it relates to the film that follows.  Perhaps highlighting that we are all looking for some sort of meaning in life and maybe some of us get sidetracked with drinking.

Available through Apple.

As I am tidying up this post Denmark has beaten Wales in a semi final match of the Euro Cup.

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