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Honoring An Oscar Nominee


Sunday, March 5-----Today sees the Festival premiere of one of the five films nominated for this year's Best Foreign Language Oscar. AFTER THE WEDDING, the latest film from respected Danish director Susanne Bier, is the only one of the five nominated films that has yet to open commercially in theaters. In the run-up to its theatrical run next month, the Miami International Film Festival screens the film tonight, bringing the exceptional storytelling talent of this pioneering director to South Florida audiences. 

Susanne Bier is recognized as one of the top filmmakers on the world cinema stage. In her directorial debut FREUD LEAVING HOME (1991), Bier introduced her signature style of mixing dramatic tension with broad comedy, in a touching story of a terminally ill mother who is visited by her three dysfunctional children. The film won the fledgling director a Best First Film prize at the Montreal Film Festival. Her first big international hit was OPEN HEARTS (2002), one of the first dogme films, about an engaged couple that is torn apart after the man is paralyzed in an accident, and the woman falls in love with the husband of the woman who caused the accident. The film won Best Film and other honors at the Danish Oscars, and a FIRESCPI International Critics prize at the Toronto Film Festival. She is currently working on an English language version of OPEN HEARTS, to star television and film star Zach Braff (GARDEN STATE).

Her 2004 film BROTHERS was an international art house sensation, with a zeitgeist story about how a Danish soldier’s disappearance in Afghanistan affects his wife and family. The film is also the story of two very different briothers....Michael (Ulrich Thomsen), a successful military man with a beautiful wife and two daughters, and Jannik (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a drifter living on the edge of the law. When Michael goes missing in action in Afghanistan, his wife Sarah (Connie Nielsen, best known for her English language role in GLADIATOR) looks to Jannik for comfort and release. The tension really builds when Michael suddenly returns home, deeply traumatized by his imprisonment in a terrorist encampment. The film tells the often-neglected and universal story of how wars effect not only those who fight then, but whole families, and by extension, whole communities. Biers' beautiful film, which she co-wrote with Anders Thomas Jensen, won the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Best Actor and Best Actress prizes at that year's San Sebastian Film Festival.

Mads MikkelsenMads Mikkelsen

AFTER THE WEDDING, written by the same team as BROTHERS, is a story about making difficult choices. Mads Mikkelsen (James Bond's nemesis in CASINO ROYALE) plays Jacob Petersen, a man who has dedicated his life to helping street children in India. When the orphanage he heads is threatened by closure, he receives an unusual offer. A Danish businessman offers him a donation of $4 million dollars, if Jacob will return to Denmark and take part in the wedding of the businessman's daughter. The wedding proves to be a critical juncture between past and future and catapults Jacob into the most intense dilemma of his life. AFTER THE WEDDING has been hailed for its strong script, deft direction and naturalistic acting. Aside from its Oscar nomination, the film and its director were nominated for the European Film Award and the Danish Oscar. Miami audiences will have the opportunity to screen this superb film well ahead of its theatrical release next month at the premiere screening this evening at the Colony Theater.

Sandy Mandelberger, Miami Online Dailies Editor 


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Mandelberger Sandy

March 6-15, 2009

United States

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