Bille August to shoot The Passion of Marie
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
10/06/2011 - For the first time since he won an Oscar, a Golden Palm and a Golden Globe for Pelle the Conqueror (1987), Danish director Bille August will return to local filmmaking, to direct The Passion of Marie (Balladen om Marie), about the relationship between two Danish famous painters in 1889-1905. The film will be ready in August 2012.
Well-known from the Danish Borgen TV series, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen will star as Marie with Søren Sætter-Lassen as her lover-husband. The cast also includes Tommy Kenter, Lene Maria Christensen and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason. SF Film produces the film with support from the Danish Film Institute.
Both Marie Martha Mathilde Triepcke Krøyer (later Alfvén) and Peder Severin Krøyer were prominent members of the Skagen Painters, a community of Danish and Nordic artists working at Skagen in the late 1800s. They met in an artists’ cafe in Copenhagen 1888, and after a whirlwind romance they married the following year.
His mental instability, however, destroyed their marriage; Peter Asmussen's script (based on Anastassia Arnold's 1999 bestseller) catches up with them, as his disease is deteriorating, and their dream of a life together as lovers and artists develops into sorrow and frustration. She left him for Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén and divorced Krøyer in 1905.
August has not helmed a Danish film since Pelle the Conqueror, although his US production of Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997), starring Julia Ormond, was partly shot in Copenhagen. He also won the top prize in Cannes for Best Intentions (1992), from Ingmar Bergman’s script, from and most recently made Goodbye Bafana [trailer] (2007).