It’s not uncommon for films to split audiences, but ‘Lukkede Øjne’ (closed eyes) is dividing opinion and filming hasn’t even started yet.
The Danish film company Zentropa’s announcement on Friday that Manyar I Parwani is directing a film about the Copenhagen terror attacks in February this year has raised questions about the appropriateness and timing of such a project.
Parwani himself was the first to admit the sensitivity of the subject matter of the production. He was quick to emphasise it is not an action film but an investigation into what drove Omar El-Hussein, and people like him, to perpetrate terrorist attacks.
“To embark on a film about what happened at Krudttønden and the synagogue requires careful thought,” he said.
“The events in Copenhagen affected me a lot and I therefore decided to investigate to what extent it is possible for me to get into Omar’s closed and dark world and thereby examine the phenomenon more generally.
Mogens Jensen, Socialdemokraterne’s culture spokesman, told DR there is value in such an undertaking.
“Of course it’s in the public’s interest to tell the story of how people like that become radicalised,” he said.
“It’s good to go behind the person and show what it was that made him commit this act. But I think we should show respect for the families of both victims. And also the family of Omar El-Hussein, for that matter.”
However, Jensen suggested it might be coming too soon. “With respect for the deceased and their families in mind, I think it’s very soon to be launching a project like this,” he said.
Alex Ahrendtsen, Dansk Folkeparti’s culture spokesman, is critical of the film’s stated aim.
“It’s just the usual left-wing excuse rhetoric that it’s the social conditions that creates these people,” he told DR.
“You can’t prevent this kind of thing. Islam is, after all, the source of inspiration for these people. And it’s regardless of where they come from: upper class, lower class, smart, not smart, university-educated or not university-educated. It’s Islam – that’s the source.”