Thomas Vinterberg: Dogme Day Afternoon

The Pioneering Director On Danes, Darkness and Rom-Coms

A Film by Alison Chernick

Cult director Thomas Vinterberg reflects on a childhood spent among "happy hippies," and explains how Danes are "just like Hobbits," in this short from NOWNESS regular Alison Chernick. Filmed at Aamanns-Copenhagen, the downtown NYC café frequented by Scandinavians hungry for a taste of home, Vinterberg had stopped off in the Big Apple for the premiere of his latest film The Hunt, in which a kindergarten teacher (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is falsely accused of sexually assaulting a child. "For me, interviewing Thomas brought to light how crucial context is; if you understand Danish culture, his films will resonate that much louder," says Chernick, for whom Vinterberg's Festen left a lasting impression. Also known as The Celebration, this excruciatingly dark family drama won the Jury Prize at the 1998 Festival de Cannes, and brought Vinterberg international acclaim. It was also the first production released under the avant-garde Dogme 95 movement, pioneered by Vinterberg and notorious cinematic provocateur, Lars von Trier. Eschewing Hollywood mega-budgets, Dogme emphasized simple production values and 'truthful' storytelling over "superficial action" and special effects: a very Danish approach.