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The Idealist starts with a nuclear disaster and gradually works up to a climax


- Danish director Christina Rosendahl starts principal photography for The Idealist, a thriller about one of the most secretive chapters of Denmark’s 20th century history

The Idealist starts with a nuclear disaster and gradually works up to a climax
Pictured: Thomas Bo Larsen, Søren Malling, Peter Plauborg, Christina Rosendahl; photo credit: Christian Geisnæs

Near the American Thule Air Base, Greenland, January 21, 1968: A US Air Force B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs is abandoned by the crew after a cabin fire and crashes on to sea ice in the North Star Bay, causing the conventional explosives aboard to detonate and the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse.

A couple of days later the Danish and US governments announce that the incident is under control – no need to worry about violation of Danish sovereignty, nuclear weapon policy or radiation danger. Meanwhile hundreds of Danish workers at Thule are mobilised for a gigantic cleanup operation; after eight months all traces of the smashed aircraft and the plutonium contaminated snow have been removed.

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18 years later a Danish young radio journalist, Paul Brink, is approached by one of the former Thule workers, who argues that a colleague’s mysterious skin disease was caused by the cleanup effort. Brink is skeptical, but as it turns out that other participants in the operation across the country are struggling with the same disorder, he confronts government agencies with his suspicions. The silence is deafening.

How he broke the silence is the subject of The Idealist [+see also:
film profile
, the second feature by Danish director Christina Rosendahl (after Triple Dare [+see also:
film profile
- 2006), which started principal photography last month (August 13) in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Sweden and the US for Toolbox Film, a new Danish production outfit created in 2011 by Morten Kaufmann and Signe Leick Jensen. The €2.7 million thriller is the company’s first project.

Scripted by Rosendahl, Morten Kaufmann and Simon Pasternak, The Idealist stars Peter Plaugborg (Submarino [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Thomas Vinterberg
film profile
) as Brink and Søren Malling as the founder of the Association of Irradiated Thule Workers, who realise that their case involves the country’s most powerful men and the top of the US government. The Danish cast also includes Thomas Bo Larsen, Jens Albinus, Nikolaj Cederholm and Helle Hertz.

The Leick Jensen-Jonas Frederiksen production will be released in the Nordic countries by SF Film, with the Danish premiere scheduled for August 28, 2014. Tine Klint’s Danish international sales boutique LevelK handles foreign distribution.


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