Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Challenge Excepted: Denmark

To fit in with recent happenings, well ok not recent, my Aunt and Uncle went on a trip to Denmark a few weeks ago.

The country, Denmark and the film, Flame and Citron.

My first thought was, damn that guy has flaming red hair! But on a more serious note, it reminded me of when my family and I visited Denmark. The Danish really hated the Germans, still do. We had hired a German car so everyone thought we were German. They shouted at us in German and were kind of mean but as soon as they realised we were British they were really nice and changed completely. Another thing I remember was that there were quite a few museums dedicated to how terrible Germans were during the war. From seeing this film I can get a better picture and understanding why.

Flame, Bent Faurschou-Hviid and Citron, Jørgen Haagen Schmith were fighters in the Danish resistance during the Nazi occupation of Denmark.  Bent's code name was 'Flame' because of his red hair and Jørgen's was 'Citron' (Danish for 'lemon') because he used to work for French car manufacturer Citroen. The duo were the most famous resistance fighters in Denmark during World War ll.

The film is a fictionalised account based on fact and is set during 1943 and 1944. Flame and Citron assassinate known Danish collaborators and high ranking Nazis but find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy. Flame becomes involved with a suspected double agent, Kitty Selmer whille Citron loses his family. Ultimately the two can trust no one but each other.

Thure Lindhardt (Flame) and Mads Mikkelsen (Citron) give amazing performances. Having seen Mikkelsen in other films and thought how awesome he is, this film just enhanced it. I had, without realising it, seen Lindhardt in other films before. In Angels & Demons. he plays a member of the Swiss Guard, the one that is in the Library with Tom Hanks when the oxygen goes. And in Princess, an animated Danish film about a priest trying to find out what happened to his underbelly porn star sister. The latter is brilliant but horrible. Anyway, the point is now I'm a fan of Thure Lindhardt.

There is a line between a villain and a hero, Flame and Citron aren't quite seen as anit-heroes because they are fighting against the evil Nazis so they automatically good, But as the film goes deeper into the characters, that line is blurred. There is a scene where Flame realises that they might have killed innocent people and Citron has a fit, shouting that he didn't kill any innocent people. He becomes violent and even grabs his friend's collar. This is a turning point as Citron has always been the non violent of the two, he drives, Flame shoots. But now they are both killers.

Seeing as the story was based on fact I wanted to see this film. It was more interesting to see a film set during or about the war when it's not an American, British or German point of view. That's actually the reason why I liked War Horse, different perspective all together, not even human. The story was very moving, especially Citron's story with his family. The end, although I knew it was coming, was heartbreaking.

The film begins with Flame's voice reading a letter he has written and throughout, you wonder who he is writing to. At the end you find out (but you can guess half way through) and his voice reads the first few lines again, these words hit home to the character reading it.

An amazing film. There are other Danish films that aren't Dogma 95. Thank god.

End Line: Heated but in no way sour, true World War ll story.

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