King’s Game opens for the Scandinavian contingent
by Vitor Pinto
If one had any doubts King’s Game reinforces the idea: politics is often an obscure world, where ambition may become a synonym for lack of scrupules, where appearances may be the result of strategies that could easily be inspired by Machiavel's ‘The Prince’. The first feature film by Nikolaj Arcel, which last Friday opened the second edition of the European Film Festival of Brussels, seems to take these disillusioned statements as the point of departure to built a story about a journalist’s investigation of a donnish political scandal. The films dives at once into the backstage of politics and journalism, without treating them in a Manichean way.
A few days before the elections, the leader of the most popular party, is involved in a car crash. The party faces unstable days despite the image of serenity which is projected outside. Ulrik Torp, a journalist, must then deal with a series of information and counter-information concerning some members of the party, particularly Lone Kieldsen – who might become the first female Prime Minister of Denmark – and her rival Erik Dreier. Different from the typical Nordic melodramas, from which not even Dogma Films – or especially those – could escape, Arcel manipulates a script that is an efficient incursion into political thrillers. Based more on a "suggestive" style rather than using straight forward explanation, the film's rhythm remains rather slow and we cannot avoid thinking how plot oriented it is, leaving behind the contradictions and anguishes of the characters. King's Game is not a film to allow its actors show off, although Anders W. Berthelsen, Soren Pilmark and Nastja Arcel efficiently manage to balance their performances between tension and self-control.
Produced by Nimbus Film with the support of the Danish Film Institute, King’s Game has already been screened in several international film festivals. It arrives now in Brussels now, where it became the first of several Scandinavian films to be presented (till the 9th of July) within the framework of a festival which Cineuropa will cover on daily basis. Other Scandinavian titles include Daniel Espinosa's Babylon Disease, Maria Blom's Dalecarlians [+see also:
interview: Maria Blom
film profile], Voksne Mennesker's Dark Horse [+see also:
film profile], Sara Johnsen's Kissed by Winter, Jacob Thuesen's Accused, Erik Poppe's Hawaii, Oslo [+see also:
film profile], Hella Joof's Oh Happy Day, Aku Louhimies's Frozen Land.
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