6 Super Depressing Danish Movies You Really Should See

June 11, 2012  //  By:   //  DISCUSS, GUIDE, OFF CAMPUS  //  No Comment

When I wrote The 10 Best Danish Movies (And What They Say About Danes), I left some out. It was not negligence, it was just because almost all the best Danish movies are depressing and I didn’t want students from abroad to cry themselves to sleep every night. But now that you have watched a few Danish movies, it’s time to buckle down, get the tissues and cry your heart out with these great movies:

6. Armadillo

This documentary paints a startlingly realistic view of the horrors of war. Loneliness, the dehumanization both of the enemy and of yourself, risky behavior, and the complex moral guidelines are all characters in this play.

Film maker Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and cameraman Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometer away from Taliban positions. This is a documentary that takes no sides, but leaves you with a feeling of moral nausea.

How much you will cry:

Not that much, probably, the damage here is entirely internal.

5. Brødre

Another war movie, this one fictional, but it still packs a punch. It explores the personal consequences of war, for the soldier and also for the family at home. Two very different brothers get separated when one is reported missing in combat in Afghanistan. They have to come to terms with their actions and life after the tragedy.

A testament to how good this movie is; it was remade as an American movie – Brothers.

How much you will cry:

Women will cry a lot, but men will probably put on a manly thousand-yard-stare and offer their shoulder to the nearest female.

4. Nordkraft

A movie from Jutland that does not portray the people as hilariously dumb farmers. Aalborg competes with Randers for being the Detroit of Denmark, and this movie puts Aalborg firmly in the lead. Violence, drugs, failing industry and bad weather plagues this place and the people living there. Sad story about wasted lives.

How much you will cry:

A bit and then decide never to go to Aalborg (which is truly a shame, it can be a really nice place).

3. Festen

Dogme founder, Thomas Winterberg, won so many prices for this movie, Kleenex ought to sponsor him. It takes place at a birthday party, but is by no means a happy celebration. It deals with family relations, suicide, and truth. It’s daring and powerful and proves that you can make a great movie without a big budget. Winterberg went on to make strange American movies, like Dear Wendy and All About Love.

How much you will cry:

You will need something to hydrate yourself with, this one will hit you harder than you think.

2. Arven

As sweet and uplifting “Bænken” could be, Arven just kills you. It is the second part of Per Fly’s trilogy about the different social classes in Denmark. It’s odd that the movie about the upper class is so much more painfull than the lower class. The son has to step up and take over the family business. That sounds relatively harmless, but it will rip out your heart and change the way you feel about CEOs of major companies. Probably a hard movie to watch for the more ambitious business students.

How much will you cry:

Buckets. And then some. Any scene with the mother, Ghita Nørby, will wipe you out.

1. Dancer in the Dark

Lars von Trier is the master of super depressing, but great movies. Dogville is haunting. Mifunes Sidste Sang and Idioterne are disconcerting. And Antichrist is terrifying. Breaking the Waves is depressing. The recent Melancholia is as beautiful as it is suicidal. But the one that takes the price is Dancer in the Dark. It is arguably the most depressing movie of all time. First, he wins us over by having Bjork portray the sweetest musical mom in the world. And then he fucks us over by having everything bad happen to her. It’s cruel and beautiful and heartbreaking and entertaining at the same time and you will be glad you saw it.

How much will you cry:

Human beings are 60% water and I will say that there will be about 40% left of you after this film.


About the Author :

Sine Morris is a fugitive from Århus who is constantly baffled by the strange actions of these "copenhageners." She never leaves Frederiksberg, where she lives at a kollegium with her adopted hamster, Sved. Sine studies IB so that she can one day become an American and manipulate the world with her marketing magic. Sine is starting to warm to this strange part of Denmark, but is still not convinced that they will ever accept her need to say "ikk'å" and "midtbyen".

Leave a reply