The Danish Oscar Committee met Thursday to name Denmark’s official entry for the 87th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The committee, made up by the Danish Film Institute and local film industry organisations, selected Nils Malmros’s “Sorrow and Joy” from a shortlist of three films that also included Niels Arden Oplev’s “Speed Walking” and Pernille Fischer Christensen’s “Someone You Love.”
“It has been a difficult decision. These are three very personal films by directors who are very well known and who we can be proud of, and all three have been noticed internationally over the years,” says CEO of the Danish Film Institute Henrik Bo Nielsen who chairs the committee.
“The director of ‘Sorrow and Joy,’ Nils Malmros, has a very long career. He is a gifted story-teller who dares to stand out. He is not afraid to tackle taboos, he deals with universal themes and has the ability to move us, his audience. The director has loyal fans both in Denmark and abroad who admire his courage and personal style,” says Henrik Bo Nielsen.
Sorrow and Joy
In “Sorrow and Joy,” Nils Malmros recounts a horrifying chapter in his life with great courage. A powerful portrait of mental illness and compassion, the film tells the story of Johannes and his wife Signe who experience the biggest sorrow and misfortune one can ever imagine: Signe, in a psychotic fit, kills the couple’s young child. Nevertheless, in all the hopelessness they must try to reach for mutual and mature love in order to continue life after death.
“Sorrow and Joy” celebrated its world premiere at Rome Film Festival last fall and was warmly received by Danish audiences, reaching 272,000 admissions since its release in November 2013.
“Sorrow and Joy” is written by Malmros and John Mogensen, and Thomas Heinesen is in the producer’s chair for Nordisk Film. The film has received support from the Danish Film Institute. International sales are handled by Trustnordisk.
Read background A Mosaic of a Life’s Experience
About Nils Malmros
In all his eleven feature films Nils Malmros, Danish cinema’s perhaps most significant psychological realist, has created a meticulous mosaic of his life, richly detailed with lucid precision.
Nils Malmros was born in 1944. He graduated in medicine in 1988. Malmros found inspiration early on in the French New Wave. As both screenwriter and director, Malmros maintains a strong autobiographical element in his works which draw on the director’s memories of growing up in the provincial town of Aarhus. In his films, he has often used amateur actors from the actual milieus he depicts.
Malmros’ breakthrough film “Lars Ole 5c” (1973) is the first part of a trilogy on childhood and adolescence, followed by “Boys” (1977) and “The Tree of Knowledge” (1981), all considered major classics in Danish cinema. The autobiographical inspiration is directly evident in “Aarhus by Night” (1989), which replays the making of “Boys”. Selected for competition in Berlin were “Beauty and the Beast” (1983), “Pain of Love” (1992) and “Barbara” (1997).
About the Danish Committee
The Danish Oscar Submitting Committee is set up by the Danish Film Institute and film industry organisations. The Committee consists of chairman Henrik Bo Nielsen (CEO of the Danish Film Institute), Tivi Magnusson (Danish Producers), Martin Strange-Hansen (Danish Film Directors), Andreas Fischer-Hansen (Danish Cinematographers), Louise Kidde Sauntved (Danish Film Critics), Kim Pedersen (Danish Cinemas) and Steffen Andersen-Møller (head of Audience & Promotion, Danish Film Institute).
10 Years of Oscar / Danish Feature Films
By Awards Year
2015 Sorrow and Joy / Nils Malmros
2014 The Hunt / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar nomination
2013 A Royal Affair / Nikolaj Arcel / Oscar nomination
2012 Superclásico / Ole Christian Madsen / Oscar shortlist
2011 In a Better World / Susanne Bier / Oscar winner
2010 Terribly Happy / Henrik Ruben Genz
2009 Worlds Apart / Niels Arden Oplev
2008 The Art of Crying / Peter Schønau Fog
2007 After the Wedding / Susanne Bier / Oscar nomination
2006 Adam’s Apples / Anders Thomas Jensen
2005 The Five Obstructions / Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier
Oscars 2015 / The Dates
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominations for Best Foreign Language film on 15 January. The 2015 winners will be announced on Oscar Night taking place in Los Angeles on 22 February.