Drama hijacks the plaudits in Toronto

‘Love Is All You Need’ left in the shade by film about modern-day piracy

Several Danish entries made their mark at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last month, but as the dust settles, one film is clearly reaping more rewards than others.

‘A Hijacking’, which premiered in Denmark last week and is directed by Tobias Lindholm (co-writer of ‘The Hunt’ and director of ‘R’), chronicles the pirating of a cargo ship and the personal and political drama that unfolds in the wake.

After its screening at TIFF, TrustNordisk, the company in charge with managing worldwide sales for ‘A Hijacking’, signed deals with companies in the UK, France and Turkey, while initiating deals with several others.

‘A Hijacking’ was initially produced with financial backing provided in part by the Danish Film Institute and the Danish Broadcasting Co-operation.

Slightly less successful, but nevertheless still attracting a lot of attention thanks to a certain Irishman, Susanne Bier’s ‘Love Is All You Need’ is a romantic comedy that deals with the tragedies of cancer and death.

The film, which stars Trine Dyrholm as a cancer-stricken mother and Pierce Brosnan as a bitter widower, follows the romance that unfolds when the two meet in Italy while attending their children’s wedding.

According to Bier, the film became a romcom out of necessity, not personal desire. “When [writer Anders Jensen] and I started out, we wanted to make a movie that addresses the issue of cancer,” Bier told The Hollywood Reporter. Both Bier and Jensen’s mothers have been diagnosed with cancer.

“We wanted to make a movie where it was part of the movie, but we didn’t want it to be heavy. We wanted something that was light and where audiences weren’t alienated by it. So we came to romantic comedy from a slightly unusual place,” Bier told The Reporter.

The other significant Danish entry making a splash in Toronto couldn’t be more different from a romcom.

The Danish Film Institute-funded ‘The Act of Killing’ is a documentary in which former members of Indonesian death squads – responsible for killing an alleged million or more communists, ethnic Chinese and other intellectuals in the 1960s – proudly recount the massacres they perpetrated, often inspired by violence depicted in Hollywood movies.

Joshua Oppenheimer, an American-born director, spent over a decade with death squad leaders and their victims to tell their story.

And finally, an English-language remake of a Danish classic also made an impression in Toronto. ‘Pusher’ is a highly stylised version of the 1996 Danish film of the same name made by director Nicolas Winding Refn.

Directed by Spaniard Luis Prieto, its central character (played by Richard Coyle, the Welsh character in ‘Coupling’) is a street dealer in London. Refn served as executive producer on the film.

‘Pusher’ can be seen at select theatres from October 12, while both ‘A Hijacking’ and ‘Love is All You Need’ are already out at theatres. As yet, no theatrical release date has been confirmed for ‘The Act of Killing’.




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