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Film Description

Film Description


In a Better World

Few directors have addressed the issues of the past decade as courageously as Denmark’s Susanne Bier.  With the much celebrated Brothers, she raised troubling questions about the First World’s relationship with the Third. After the Wedding pursued this subject further, contrasting the conflicting demands of the domestic and the societal. Her latest, In a Better World, a Special Presentation at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival® and winner of the 2011 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film, explores similar terrain while offering a devastating critique of masculinity.

In a war-torn African nation, physician Anton (Mikael Persbrandt, Everlasting Moments) confronts a steady stream of tragedy and loss. Much of what he faces can be traced back to a vicious and sadistic local warlord. Back home in Denmark, his estranged wife Marianne (Trine Dyrholm, Troubled Water, The Celebration), is concerned about their eldest son, Elias, who is picked on mercilessly by the class bully, Sofus.

When new kid Christian arrives in class, he and Elias bond over a mutual hatred of Sofus. Surly and vicious since the loss of his mother, Christian is hardening into a rigid and ferocious manifestation of masculinity. His heartbroken father, Claus (Ulrich Thomsen, Adam’s Apples, The Celebration), is finding it impossible to cope with Christian’s behaviour. The volatile situation is exacerbated by Anton’s return home and by an encounter between Anton, Elias, Christian and a violent, bullying mechanic (Kim Bodnia, Pusher).

At the heart of the film is the issue of male responsibility, specifically what it means to stand up for oneself and others. Far more than a mere exercise in suspense, In a Better World raises essential questions about human instincts and our interpretation of knowing what's right and what's wrong.


“Bathed in a golden light that contrasts with the film’s dark emotional currents, In a Better World brilliantly dramatizes the vexing problem of trying to do right in a world of situational ethics” Peter Howell, The Toronto Star


Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Bodil Jørgensen, Camilla Gottlieb
Year: 2011
Runtime: 119 minutes
Country: Denmark
Language: Danish w English Subtitles
Distributor: Mongrel Media

Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR


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