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Goteborg 2016: A War

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this years Academy Awards, A War (directed and written by Tobias Lindholm – A Hijacking, The Hunt) is an emotionally tense exploration of soldiers under intense pressure in difficult circumstances.

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  • Domestic Premiere: 10th September 2015
  • International Premieres:
    • Estonia: 12th February 2016
    • USA: 12th February 2016
    • Hungary: 3rd March 2016
    • Sweden: 7 June 2016 (DVD)

Anticipation

Tobias Lindholm is easily one of the best screenwriters in Denmark at the moment. 

Viewing

Tense, well paced and shot in a documentary-like style, A War is an excellent war film that goes beyond the battleground. 

Recommendation

Excellent example of Danish film, and a worthy recipient of the Foreign Film nomination!

 

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Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this years Academy Awards, A War (directed and written by Tobias Lindholm – A Hijacking, The Hunt) is an emotionally tense exploration of soldiers under intense pressure in difficult circumstances.

Pilou Asbaek (Borgen) stars as Claus Pedersen, who commands a company of soldiers in Afghanistan, pushing back against the Taliban but with a frustrating mandate to minimise involvement with local Afghanis. Right from the start Lindholm layers on the stress (immediately reminding me of Land of Mine, which was stressful enough just two days ago), and by the time Claus issues an order in the middle of an intense firefight that later comes under question, we don’t understand why he is being questioned.

A War is more than just another war movie, and it isn’t particularly political (though it’s easy to see a political agenda in the narrative). A War is probably one of the more compassionate depictions of soldiers in battle, and it explores common moral dilemmas soldiers have to face out on the battlefield. And when Claus has to return to Denmark to face the trial, A War highlights the same amount of pressures these soldiers must face as Claus has to take care of his young family.

In terms of style, the film is pure contemporary Danish. Shot in a more refined version of Dogme, the documentary approach and twitchy visuals are used to effect in creating a drama that asks some rather tough questions. As with Lindholm scripts, the narrative is finely polished and carefully paced.

Overall, A War is a beautifully crafted film about a very delicate topic. When we spoke to Tobias Lindholm, he highlighted he desire to tell Danish stories on the screen as well as his inspiration for the narrative. You can read that here

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Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.