Thomas Vinterberg: “The death of my daughter confirmed that I should shoot a celebration of life” | Culture


On May 4, 2019, on a highway near Brussels, a driver got distracted by his mobile phone, lost control of his vehicle, and crashed into another car, in which Maria Walbom, the first wife of Thomas Vinterberg, was traveling. and Ida, the eldest daughter of the ex-marriage. The 19-year-old girl died on the spot, her mother recovered after a hospital stay. They were on their way to Paris, to see some of Ida’s friends, before returning to Denmark, where the filmmaker was four days away from starting the filming of Another round. “It is difficult to talk about his death, but it is obvious that I dedicate the film to him, I myself have caused it,” said the director (Copenhagen, 51 years old) on Tuesday night through Zoom. On screen you can see the filmmaker in his home office, sipping tea from a white cup: “I’m a father of a family, I don’t drink anymore,” he laughed a few minutes earlier. For Vinterberg, Another round It is her most personal work: she was going to shoot at Ida’s high school, her classmates would come out in the figuration; Of the four protagonists, three are the director’s regular actors and the fourth, Mads Mikkelsen, has become his right-hand man on screen after The hunt (2012). “I hesitated, we doubted a lot. There was no point going on with the film. But she was part of the project, she even had an opinion on the script. I would have hated not to roll it. We decided to move on, ”he recalls. After the funeral, they began filming. “The days when I was defeated, pain replaced me Tobias [Lindholm, su coguionista]; luckily, he worked with friends. I wrote for them, they trust me. They are part of me”. The last day, by the way, they filmed in Ida’s class. “Consider it a monument to my daughter.”

Another round It is released in Spain on the wave of awards. After its premiere at the San Sebastián festival, where it won the Silver Shell for the best male performance for its four actors, it won the four main awards of the European cinema trophies (film, direction, script and leading actor, for Mikkelsen) , and it has entered two categories at the Oscars: best international film – it is the favorite – and best direction. “I’m going to fly to Los Angeles,” he clarifies. “They have told me that there will be European venues for the awards, but my invitation is to Los Angeles, and I will be there.”

The leading quartet of 'Another Round', by Thomas Vinterberg.
The leading quartet of ‘Another Round’, by Thomas Vinterberg.© Rolf Konow

Everything has been achieved with a seemingly simple premise: four high school teachers, fed up with the monotony that eats away at their personal and professional lives, decide to start drinking, measuring the doses, to enjoy some joy. Nevertheless, Another round, With its many twists and turns, it goes far beyond a celebration of alcohol. “Maybe at the beginning of writing it started there. However, the script went beyond mere provocation. The film does not try to sell alcohol or demonize it, because just as it disinhibits and helps conversations and socializing, it also destroys families. Also, the death of my daughter confirmed that I should shoot a celebration of life. I’m talking about choosing your life, making your decisions, ”he remembers. “In any case, we live immersed in the culture of representation. Everything is based on what you appear, on the prizes you win, on the likes that you get in social networks, in the tickets you sell … Imposture. Not even journalists escape the empire of clickbait. For teenagers it is even worse. My wife is a Lutheran pastor [mueve la cámara y se ve una sotana colgada a airear en una estantería de libros]And after seeing the movie he told me that talking about when you decide to lose control, forgetting about appearances sounds like when you fall in love: it is uncontrollable when it happens, how it happens and if it happens ”.

Vinterberg remembers growing up in a commune hippy (an experience that inspired his The commune) and that there were not many limits there: “I myself regulated myself. But, like any Danish teenager, he drank on the weekends. In my country, alcohol consumption is not frowned upon. Let’s see, we are descended from the Vikings. I suspect that in Spain it is similar, right? ”. Indeed. “Now I hardly drink. Writing The hunt yes, I became fond of cognac, a drink to enliven his writing … and I already gave it up ”.

The Brotherhood of Dogma 95

Another round I was going to participate in the 2020 Cannes festival; the pandemic ended with that launch in a contest in which the Dane won the jury prize with Celebration (1998), his second feature and the letter of presentation of the movement Dogma 95, of which Vinterberg was co-founder with Lars von Trier … and the first to abandon that master strategy of the marketing. The director releases one of his long speeches: “My first jobs were looking for provocation. In the nineties we were a somewhat savage brotherhood, and those kids would have considered Another round a decadent work [carcajada]. As for the pandemic, note that I thought that would make Another round irrelevant, and on the contrary today people have a desire to live. Not to mention how strange it looks now that several drink from the same bottle [risas]. The movie has turned out to be a strange artifact, very honest. Because many good things are born out of honesty. I just chatted 10 minutes ago with Luca Guadagnino [presidente del jurado de San Sebastián] and we’ve talked about how this success still amazes me. I can’t think of a more intrinsically Danish film from my career, and it has reached more people. I suspect that when you generalize, the public loses interest, when you focus on something of their own, you provoke curiosity. I’ve learned my lesson”.

Mads Mikkelsen, and 'Otra ronda'.
Mads Mikkelsen, and ‘Otra ronda’.

Before finishing the Zoom, Vinterberg comments that teachers are his “heroes, who are not sufficiently appreciated or supported by society”, and his next project, Families Like Ours: “It is a six-episode series that takes place in the near future, in which we Danes have to leave our country because the sea is devouring it. And not everyone has the money to settle a friendly country. Wait, that doesn’t mean I quit the movies. I am very optimistic about the future of the halls, because the communion that is achieved in them is like that enjoyed on a football field. I do not know, the same I am too naive ”.


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