Denmark enters the Oscars with Sorrow and Joy
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Nils Malmros’ 11th feature will be Denmark’s official submission for the 2015 Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-language Film
“I didn’t see it coming,” said veteran Danish director Nils Malmros when the Danish Oscar Committee yesterday (18 September) selected Sorrow and Joy [+see also:
film profile], his film from last year that took 272,000 local admissions, as Denmark’s official submission for the 2015 Oscars nomination for Best Foreign-language Film.
Chaired by the managing director of the Danish Film Institute, Henrik Bo Nielsen, the committee chose Malmros from a shortlist that also included Niels Arden Oplev’s Speed Walking and Pernille Fischer Christensen’s Someone You Love [+see also:
film profile]. “It was a difficult decision – three very personal films by directors who are very well known, whom we can be proud of, and who have all been noticed internationally over the years,” explained Nielsen.
“Malmros has had a very long career. He is a gifted storyteller who dares to stand out. He is not afraid to tackle taboos; he deals with universal themes and has the ability to move us, his audience. He has loyal fans both in Denmark and abroad who admire his courage and personal style,” he concluded.
Scripted by Malmros and John Mogensen, and starring Jakob Cedergren and Helle Fagralid, Sorrow and Joy depicts a tragedy in Malmros’ own life, when in February 1984 his teacher wife Marianne, while in a psychotic state, killed their nine-month-old daughter in their home, while he was out delivering a lecture. Today, after all these years, they are still married and living together (see the Film Focus).
“It is not a film about forgiveness, because a psychotic person cannot be guilty, so there is no guilt involved. I wanted to show that love conquers all, and I needed a true story – if I had made it up, it would have been like issuing a bad cheque,” Malmros recalled, adding that he could not judge whether it is the best film he has made, “but it is the one closest to my heart”.
Produced by Thomas Heinesen for Nordisk Film, Sorrow and Joy was world-premiered at last year’s Rome Film Festival and has since toured numerous international showcases. The 69-year-old director’s 11th feature was awarded the Danish Film Academy’s Robert for Best Actress (for Fagralid).