CULTURE

Small countries with big ideas

The film festival also has tributes to Denmark and Ireland. «At the moment, Denmark is producing the most thoughtful and interesting films not only in Scandinavia but in Western Europe,» film critic Philip French wrote in the Observer. It is hard, however, to discuss the evolution of Danish cinema in Greece without being gripped by a certain sense of melancholy. And this because while in size they are similar, the chasm that separates them is fundamentally depressing. Henning Carme, managing director of the Danish Film Institute, speaks of state support on all levels, from education to project development and scriptwriting, and from production and marketing to national and international distribution. The tributes feature seven Danish films and six Irish, all of which are either the first or second feature films of each director, and they have been brought together by Constantinos Kontovrakis, who traveled to both countries and spent time singling out films that stand out on their own and that are representative of each country’s recent trends. The press got a preview of what is to come with screenings of «Manslaughter» by Denmark’s Per Fly and «Adam & Paul» by Ireland’s Lenny Abrahamson. In both cases we see the cinematic traditions of each country embodied, redefined and adapted to modern-day reality. In «Manslaughter,» Fly dissects Danish society and its sociopolitical system in a contemporary drama that is bold and balanced. The film has obvious influences spanning from Carl Dreyer, to Dogma ’95 and the cutting-edge Lars von Trier, expressed through a series of relationships that form a study on terrorism and the inextricable link between individual and mass culpability. Other films in the Danish tribute are the family drama «Brothers» by Susanne Bier, the stylized melodrama «Chinaman» by Henrik Ruben Gez, the edgy «I’m the Angel of Death: Pusher III» by Nicolas Winding Refn, the allegorical «Adam’s Apple» by Andres Thomas Jensen, the Dogma-style prison drama «In Your Hands» by Annette K. Olesen and the cerebral «Allegro» by Cristoffer Boe. Ireland’s Abrahamson takes a documentary-style look at 24 hours in the lives of two junkies, Adam and Paul, friends bonded by despair and need. A bittersweet drama, which is both tender and comic, the film is a testimonial on human endurance at a time when all seems lost. «Goldfish Memory» by Elizabeth Gill, «Mickybo and Me» by Terry Loane, «Sugar» by Reynold Reynolds and Paddy Jolly, «The Halo Effect» and Lance Daly and «Pavee Lackeen: The Traveller Girl» by Perry Ogden complete the tribute to Irish cinema.