When the Danish western 'The Salvation' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday at a midnight special gala viewing outside of the main competition, it received a standing ovation for several minutes from the audience.
The reaction was overwhelming for the director Kristian Levring.
"I was deeply moved and didn't really know how to handle it," Levring told BT.
"I almost wanted to sit down and stop the ovation. But then Mads turned to me, smiled and said: 'Just enjoy it.' So I did."
Besides Mads Mikkelsen in the main role, international stars like Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and the US-based Danish singer Oh Land also appear in the film
Sergio Leone, Danish-style
'The Salvation' premieres in Denmark on May 22 and has already been sold to several countries and may even be shown in the US, where critics have already praised the Danish western.
Hollywood Reporter described the film as "Once Upon A Time in the West, Danish-style" after watching the screening in Cannes.
"Employing a strong visual style that evinces a great affinity for the genre, as well as for two of its most prominent practitioners, John Ford and Sergio Leone, the director also supplies a bleak, forbidding – one might say fundamentalist Nordic – temperament that well suits the themes of punishment, suffering, vengeance and redemption," the review said.
Variety also gave the film a generally positive review.
“This Danish twist on the most American of genres recycles stock elements from old Westerns, but does so in style,” the review said.
However, it did feel that “the pic is trying to drink from a dry well where box office is concerned.”
Meanwhile, another Danish performer getting international recognition for her role in a western is Sonja Richter, who stars in Tommy Lee Jones vehicle 'The Homesman', a feature in contention to win the Palm D'or this year.
The busy Richter also has a role in the Danish horror film 'When Animals Dream', which stars Lars Mikkelsen, the brother of Mads. It premieres on Saturday in the Semaine de la Critique competition.
"This polished Danish thriller about a sensitive female werewolf is full of restrained horror and tastefully Scandinavian carnage," applauds Hollywood Reporter.
The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival continues until May 25. New Zealand film director Jane Campion is the head of the jury for the main competition section.