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Beyond the Dogma: The Seattle International Film Festival gets Danish in 2006 (from May 25 - June 18)

By Heike Grodecki
posted May 2006

If you are familiar to the fact that Seattleites see more movies per capita than any other city in the nation, it will not surprise you that one of our city’s biggest events, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), is considered to be the largest and most highly attended festivals in the US and one of the best “audience festivals” in the world. Beginning May 25 through June 18, SIFF has again promised to bring the best in cinema from all points of the globe in an incredible line-up of more than 250 features and 100 shorts from more than 50 different countries.

This year the festival’s spotlight focus is on Denmark, a small Nordic European country with an incredible resurgence in extraordinary filmmaking; it represents some of the best new work in film today. Danish cinema, which is best known for its Dogma films and renowned director Lars von Trier, has emerged to reveal a remarkable breadth of work that crosses over from art house to genre and even animated fare. SIFF also states that a record-breaking year of success in film marks Denmark as a “cinema hot spot” in the world.

“Although Danish cinema has always made a significant impact internationally, this year in particular features an explosive vintage with a high concentration of the best and most innovative work to be found anywhere in the world,” says Carl Spence, SIFF Artistic Director.

The spotlight is on 14 Danish feature films, including five North American Premieres. The diverse line-up will include 1:1 (One to One) directed by SIFF’s 2004 Emerging Master Annette Olesen. This North American Premiere portrays the relationship between the Danish people and Arab Muslim immigrants in Denmark. When a teenager is found beaten unconscious, the suspicion falls on a Palestinian whose brother happens to be dating the victim’s sister. Although the film was produced before the recent cartoon controversy, it is prophetic in its look at Europe trying to maintain an equitable balance between clashing cultures and values.

Annette Olesen: “When the world as we know it changes, it makes us feel insecure. When we feel insecure we fear we’ll lose what we’ve got. When we fear that, we try to exert control. At best fear is an instinct that enables us to survive. At worst it is a cancer that spreads and mutates into angst. This is a film about fear. I wanted to tell this story eye to eye. 1 to 1.” 

Director Pernillle Fischer Christensen will present her feature debut En Soap (A Soap), for which she has received both the New Directors Prize and the esteemed Silver Bear Prize at the most recent Berlin Film Festival. In the story Pernille leads the viewer through what could have been a conventional story, and weaves it with a bit of the soap opera genre to lead through the maze of gender identity. Truly one of the most bizarre love stories to ever appear on screen.

For those looking for an edgier evening, SIFF presents the gripping and ultra-violent mafia saga The Pusher Trilogy by Nicolas Winding Refn. Unlike the Sopranos, family, compassion, loyalty and empathy are largely absent, and betrayal and vengeance are the norm in these three films. Refn is being honored as an Emerging Master this year —a SIFF showcase that honors four directors per year from around the globe who are poised to become the world’s next cinematic masters.



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