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Friday
May192017

Posterized: Thomas Vinterberg

By Nathaniel R

Vinterberg at the Oscars in 2014When we were first were introduced (not literally) to writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, who turns 48 today (Gratulerer med dagen!), in 1998 we thought "he ought to be in pictures!".

⇱ Just look at that mug!

The Dane auteur IS in pictures, at least spiritually, since he still makes Danish pictures inbetween his English language films and some of them are clearly pulled from his soul. His new film The Commune is a fictional story but the director did grow up in a commune watching the adults struggle with their decisions (The Commune has a key teenage character who is very observant).

So with that film in theaters in select cities and also on VOD (you can stream it for a price on Amazon) let's look back at his career to date via movie posters.

He's made nine features. How many have you seen? 

The Splashy (Yet Modest) Start (1996-1998) 
After his debut feature (The Biggest Heroes), which didn't travel outside Denmark really, Vinterberg joined the Dogme 95 collective with Lars von Trier. That filmmaking manifesto declared that directors could not be credited. Even with his name absent from the credts that didn't stop Vinterberg from becoming a hot filmmaker. Though von Trier technically made the first of those features (The Idiots), Vinterberg's Festen (or The Celebration) was the first to be released internationally and was a bonafide critical sensation with a Canne Jury prize,  Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, and great arthouse box office.

Decidedly Indie (2003-2010)
Despite the international success of The Celebration the next decade of Vinterberg's career was weirdly quiet with a handful of small international features that didn't work or didn't break out (It's All About Love with Joaquin Phoenix and Dear Wendy with Jamie Bell). In this time period he also made Danish comedies (When a Man Comes Home) and dramas (Submarino), and a few TV movies at home.  

A higher profile (2012-2017)
The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelsen as a man falsely accused of pedophilia, returned Thomas Vinterberg to the spotlight. It was his first film to be Oscar nominated (losing to Italy's The Great Beauty). He followed that up with his biggest international hit to date, a remake of the classic Far From the Madding Crowd. He's just returned to cinemas stateside with The Commune, which harkens back to the dogme 95 days a bit (though it looks much more beautiful with all those pesky rules gone) given all its raggedy human dynamism, dark humor, and personal tragedy. The Commune (reviewed) was one of three finalists for Denmark's Oscar submission last year but eventually they chose the post World War II drama Land of Mine to represent them which went on to be nominated. 

Vinterberg's next feature is Kursk with perfect human specimens Matthias Schoenaerts and Léa Seydoux.

How many have you seen and will you be checking out The Commune

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Reader Comments (7)

I've only seen Madding Crowd, of which I'm a big defender, despite its flaws. I should really get around to The Celebration.

May 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Seen 'em all -
and only The Celebration is worth celebrating in my opinion.
Masterpiece.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

I've seen Festen, It's All About Love (terrible film), bits of Dear Wendy, The Hunt, and Far from the Madding Crowd. Festen is my favorite w/ The Hunt a very close second.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I really, really, really loved 'It's All About Love'.

And yes, I know I'm just about the only person in the world who feels that way about this film.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Festen is indeed a groundbreaking film technically and artistically. Dogme 95 was very new then and I love the sensibility that went with it having been immersed in guerilla filmmaking and Third Cinema aesthetics. And Paprika Steen is wonderful in that movie.

I also like The Hunt because of its moral ambiguity and of course, Mads Mikkelsen's performance. But I was not prepared for his wonderful adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. I like his version better than John Schlesinger's 1967 version with Julie Christie. And Matthias Schnonaerts, Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge gave very convincing portrayals and characterisations of this classic from Thomas Hardy. Much as I know how the story will unfold having seen the 1967 film version and having read Hardy's novel, I was still unprepared for the heart-tugging last scenes of the 2015 version. Maybe it was the way Carey Mulligan embodied Bathsheba, or it is the quiet sorrow I saw in Schonaerts' Mr Oak that made it so effective for me. It is one of the few films where I know how the story will end and yet I was still very touched how Vinterberg paced and delivered the story.

Looking forward to Kollectivet with Trine Dyrholm.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

I missed The Commune in theatres, which is too bad.

I prefer The Hunt to Festen -which works beautifully on stage- and Far from the Madding Crowd pleased me beyond words. I don't know why I haven't seen Dear Wendy and It's All About Love.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Humble brag segment.

I met him during one of the press con one (or two) day before the Oscars which was held right in front of Dolby Theatre. The Academy brought out all of directors who were nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature. I stood close to him and he complimented my look (I was kinda over-dressed for the occasion). I was so star-strucked I couldn't really muster a response to him. I'll always be his fan thanks to that one brief moment :)

I watched two (The Hunt and Madding Crowd). Like them both.

May 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJija

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