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The young, international directors reshaping Danish film

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Besides its author-driven aesthetic, Danish cinematography has been famous for strong storytelling, bold realism and dark humour. As the world is constantly changing, so are new trends within the film industry. The next generation of filmmakers are bringing their own sensibilities, ideals, topics and aesthetics; but they also have to face inevitable compromise regarding their cinematic expression.

My video research focused on young foreign filmmakers who live and work in Copenhagen. Through my interview with two, very talented directors, Milad Alami and Andreas Thaulow, I wanted to discover more about their relationship to film as a mirror to their own ideals and their ways of viewing the world.

Outsiders and the search for identity

"I think that even a film feels local, it can be as important in Denmark as in Thailand. There are similar type of people, stories and conflicts and they are quite universal," says Milad Alami as we talk about his debut feature. The film will start shooting in August and Milad is as excited as he is focused. There’s still a lot of work to do.

Alami was born in Iran. As a child he grew up in Sweden. He moved to Copenhagen when he was accepted to the National Danish Film School where he made several very successful short films. This young, talented director is especially fascinated by the transition between being a teenager and a young adult.

The characters in Alami’s movies are strong and complex individuals, often young women who are positioned as outsiders within society. The motif of an outsider attracts this author because it gives him an opportunity to see the world in a different way through the eyes of his protagonists. This is also a major quality of his work, as we, the audience, are unquestionably taken in by his universal cinematic stories about belonging, loss, love and the search for identity.

Finding one's purpose in a larger world

Andreas Thaulow is a Norwegian film director who moved to Denmark in 2003. He graduated from the non-traditional film school Super16 located in the Nordisk Film Studio in Copenhagen. For a while now, Andreas has been inspired by philosophy, especially ethics, specifically its moral aspects. "Those who write about moral philosophy, actually write fiction," says Andreas.

The line between internal rage and being a soft touch, themes of conscience and miscommunication are among the frequent motifs in his work. His characters are often young men, misunderstood by their surroundings, as they are built out of a strong mixture of contrasts. This usually results in intense conflicts, as much with themselves as with their environment.

When I asked Thaulow about his ideals, he told me the following: "For me it’s important to think about what my role as a filmmaker is, what purpose do I have in a larger world. I think our job is to entertain people and to make them think about situations that they might not thought of before."


Words and videos by Marijana Verhoef


This feature report is a part of our EUtoo 'on the ground' project in Copenhagen, seeking to give a voice to disenchanted youth. It is funded by the European Commission.