I love watching foreign movies but sometimes without subtitles, I find it difficult to connect with the characters. I know a lot of you feel the same way so I have pulled together a great list of Danish movies accessible to the non-Danish speakers among you. Keep reading and you will find the early works of not just one but 2 superstars. You never know where the next Hollywood star will come from.
The Celebration (Festen, 1998)
I cannot believe this movie is already 20 years old. Where did time go? The Celebration is one of my favorite haunting movies that unfortunately has a pretty lousy trailer. It is about a wealthy family in Denmark coming together to celebrate the 60th birthday of the patriarch. You know there is plenty of dysfunction as you watch the family interact but you learn slowly what is really going on behind the facade. It is a movie that will stay with you after you watch it and it lingers as you digest the message and the story. Of the Danish movies on the list, this is probably one of the easier ones to come by. You can purchase it here.
Open Hearts (Elsker dig for evigt 2002)
A story of 4 people whose lives get intertwined after a car accident. It tells the story of adultery and obsession in a powerful and real way. Bonus you get to see Mads Mikkelsen before he became a bigHollywoodd name. You can find a few copies on Amazon or ebay but it is getting harder to get.
The Nightwatch (Nattevagten)
The Nightwatch is a thriller of the darkest kind. You follow Martin as he gets a night job doing security at the Forensic Medicine Institute. Part of his job is to check the morgue. At the same time, a killer is on the loose in Copenhagen. You watch and find out what happens. If you are a game of thrones fan you may recognize the lead actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Denmark really does produce some amazing talent. It was also remade with Ewan McGregor but the original Danish movie really is better, and I say that as a McGregor fan. You will need to get a UK copy to get the subtitles but it’s worth it.
Italian for Beginners (Italiensk for begyndere 2000)
After the horror, it is time for a switch. Italian for beginners follow 7 strangers who come together after signing up for an Italian class for beginners. We follow their developing relationships as they embark on learning a language and learning about themselves and love. It is a beautiful real movie and you get connected to each of the characters as they struggle. You can watch it now on Amazon.
The Kingdom (Riget 1994)
While this is not actually a Danish movie I have added it because it is amazing and creepy and everything and my favorite Lars von Trier work. It is the story of a hospital in Copenhagen and the unnatural things that occur there. It has so many treasured amazing Danish actors that I keep going back to watch it, even if it is super creepy. Probably doesn’t help that I lived very close to the actual hospital for a while. It was so good that Stephen King attempted to copy it for America TV but like with most things, watch the original. You can find a copy on Amazon,
Enjoy the eclectic selection of Danish Movies.