Back to IndieWire

Joshua Oppenheimer, Tobias Lindholm, & Anders Thomas Jensenn Vie to Represent Denmark at the Oscars

Joshua Oppenheimer, Tobias Lindholm, & Anders Thomas Jensenn Vie to Represent Denmark at the Oscars

The Danish Film Institute has announced a shortlist of three films in
the running to become the Scandinavian country’s official Oscar entry in the Best
Foreign Language category. But this is not an ordinary selection of films and
there is also not a clear favorite despite what might seem like an obvious
choice.

Each of these films includes some of the most important
talents within the Danish film industry today and as a group they showcase an
impressive range of subjects and styles. Their selection also represents a
decisive position on the part of the Danish Film Institute to focus on creators with unique perspectives in a year that saw films from two of the nation’s most
successful filmmakers. Susanne Bier’s divisive “A Second Chance” and Bille
August “Silent Heart” could have easily occupied two of the slots in the
shortlist. Both directors have won the Academy Award and have established
careers abroad, yet this year those outstanding qualifications were overlooked
in favor of new daring visions.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence,” Tobias Lindholm’s “A War,” and  Anders Thomas Jensenn “Men and Chicken,” form this impressive trio that will
surely  make the decision-making
process a challenging one because this is a fantastic lineup to choose from.

The Danish Film Institute will announce its final
selection on September 23.

Here’s a closer look at the Danish candidates

Men and Chicken” (Mænd & høns)

Dir. Anders Thomas Jensen
ISA:
LevelK
U.S. Distribution:
Drafthouse Films

Oscar-winner Anders Thomas Jensen focused on writing screenplays for an
entire decade putting his directorial abilities aside during that time. Jensen has
penned the screenplays for some of the most acclaimed Danish film in recent
memory as part of his close relationship with Susanne Bier: “Brothers,” “After
the Wedding,” “In a Better World,” and her latest, “A Second Chance.” But the fact
that he is behind all of these morally complex dramas doesn’t mean he can’t be
as successful in the comedic realm.  Dark comedy “Men Chicken” is his first effort behind the
camera since 2005 and appears to be a promising return. This film centers on
two brothers discovering their family’s disturbing secret and exposing their
true colors. It stars Dane superstar Mads Mikkelsen, which is of course a marvelous asset. “Men and
Chicken” has just been picked up by Drafthouse Films out of TIFF

A War” (Krigen)

Dir. Tobias Lindholm
ISA:
StudioCanal
U.S. Distribution: Magnolia Pictures

With his sophomore effort, “A Hijacking,” Tobias Lindholm demonstrated
an extraordinary ability for crafting searing tension and compelling human
drama. And while that film propelled his career as a director, the talented
filmmaker had already made a name for himself as a close collaborator of
another Danish auteur: Thomas Vinterberg. Lindholm co-wrote “Submarino,” the
Oscar-nominated “The Hunt,” and the upcoming film “The Commune.” Following a troubled Danish soldier in
Afghanistan, his third feature “A War,” was well received by critics after
premiering in Venice last week, and has just opened theatrically in its
homeland. Like Lindholm’s previous work, his latest will also be distributed in the U.S. by Magnolia Pictures. “A
War’s” relevant themes, Lindholm’s dominance of intimate tragedy in the midst of greater
conflict, and Pilou Asbæk presence make it a fascinating option.


The Look of Silence

Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer
ISA: Cinephil
U.S. Distribution: Drafthouse Films

With scores of awards and unanimously considered a
masterpiece, Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to the “The Act of Killing” could be
considered the frontrunner among these three films. Despite being a documentary
about a terrifying chapter in Indonesian history directed by an
American filmmaker, the film qualifies because it’s a Danish production,
and, while not in Danish, it’s in a language other that English. “The Look of
Silence” is one of the best films of the year and should take all the honors
dedicated to documentaries – including the Academy Award, which Oppenheimer
also deserved for “The Act of Killing” – but the road in the Best Foreign
Language Film category could be much harder. Documentaries rarely get nominated
for that award even though multiple countries select a non-fiction piece as
their submission every year. The last documentary to achieve such feat was “The
Missing Picture.” 

READ MORE: 12 Things Joshua Oppenheimer Wants You to Know About ‘The Look of Silence’

This Article is related to: News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,