Straight Outta Denmark

By Yabroff, Jennie | Newsweek, February 28, 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Straight Outta Denmark


Yabroff, Jennie, Newsweek


Byline: Jennie Yabroff

When Danish director Susanne Bier delivered her acceptance speech at this year's Golden Globe Awards, she left the audience speechless. Literally. Accepting her award for best foreign-language film from Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson, Bier nervously joked that her movie features "people who speak like they have potatoes shoved down their throats." Dead silence. After several awkward seconds, the director hastily wrapped up her speech.

Weeks later, Bier still sounds chagrined. "I got a bit paralyzed," she explains. "I'd very carefully written a speech, and I couldn't even read it. What was worse, I did not kiss Robert Pattinson, and now my daughter is never going to speak to me again."

In a way, the director's experience at the Golden Globes mirrors the contrasting perceptions of her at home and abroad. In Hollywood, she's considered a European artiste: reviewing her film, In a Better World, Variety punned, "In a better world, auds would line up for such quality fare; in this one -- [the] release won't travel far beyond arthouses Stateside." Yet in Europe, Bier is seen as a Hollywood crowd-pleaser, even though her only English-language film was 2007's Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio del Toro and Halle Berry. "There's something obviously Hollywood about the way she presents her stories with their grand emotions," one critic sniffed in the magazine of the Danish Film Institute. Perhaps most telling, while In a Better World is an Oscar frontrunner for best foreign-language film, it wasn't nominated in the best-film category for Denmark's equivalent of the Academy Award, the Robert. The movie's executive producer theorized that the Robert's jury found Bier's movie "too commercial"; a box-office hit in Denmark, it sold more tickets there than Toy Story 3.

Paradoxically, Bier got her start as part of Scandinavia's Dogme group, which was formed in reaction to the "Hollywoodization" of Danish films. Led by director Lars von Trier, the movement eschewed props, costumes, artificial lighting, and music (although at least a few Hollywood stars, including Nicole Kidman, appeared in Dogme films).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Straight Outta Denmark
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?