Submarino

The story of two brothers who lose track of each other after an unstable childhood until they meet up again in prison is the focus of former ‘Dogma’ director Thomas Vinterberg’s film based on a book by Jonas T. Bengtsson, a Danish novelist celebrated for his unflinching realism. The film’s title refers to an horrific method of torture known as ‘submarino’ in which the target’s head is held under water to just before the point of drowning.

Nick and his younger brother have grown up in terrible circumstances: their childhood was marked by poverty, abuse and an alcoholic mother until the family was torn apart by tragedy. Nick is now thirty-three and has just been released from prison. He’s a man who knows what he wants: to train hard and drink hard in order to stand up against a hard world. A bodybuilder, he lives in a dilapidated hostel on the outskirts of Copenhagen. His brother is a junkie and a single father for whom only two things count in life: his daily fix and a better life for his six-year-old son, Martin. Reason enough for him to deal in heroin.

The brothers may live separate lives in grim Copenhagen, yet they are somehow searching for each other. What binds them is their mutual struggle for a life worth living. Occasionally their paths cross, but they only really find each other in prison. And that’s almost too late for them.

[Synopsis courtesy of the Berlin International Film Festival]

Nuummioq

The most ambitious film ever to emerge from Greenland, and the first Greenland/Inuit–produced feature, Nuummioq tells the story of a young man’s odyssey from mundane existence into an acute sense of the sacred. Like most regular guys in the tiny capital city, Malik works, cavorts with buddies, and fools around—toggling between Danish and Kalaallisut languages. All at once, when he discovers he’s very ill, mortality intrudes. Keeping the news to himself, Malik accompanies his cousin on a boat trip. What begins as an unremarkable outing becomes a transcendent journey at the edge of the world as he grapples with his elusive past and tunes into the present.

So breathtaking and luminous is Nuummioq’s landscape that you can almost feel the brisk air oxygenating your lungs. The tender play of shadow and light on the characters’ faces seems to suggest that we’re only a flicker in nature’s vast radiance; but during our short time here, there’s family, tradition, and maybe even love.