Thomas Vinterberg Gives NFTS Masterclass

Screen International, April 23, 2015 | Go to article overview

Thomas Vinterberg Gives NFTS Masterclass


Director Thomas Vinterberg and NFTS Cinematography graduate Charlotte Bruus Christensen talked to students about working together on Far From The Madding Crowd, at an NFTS masterclass chaired by film critic James King.

Thomas Vinterberg had already won a European Film Award, British Independent Film Award, was nominated for BAFTAs and an Oscar and was one of the co-founders of the Dogme movement with Lars von Trier when he first met cinematographer, Charlotte Bruus Christensen.He says he was looking for a new approach for his film:"Submarino was a rebirth for me and working with Charlotte, who was fresh out of film school, was a good way to start again. Her work stood out as exceptionally beautiful, naked and pure."

They have since worked together on three films including The Hunt, for which they both won Cannes Film Festival awards and an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Far from The Madding Crowd for Fox Searchlight, which is on release from May 1st.

Far From The Madding Crowd

This is the first film that Vinterberg has directed but not written and says he fell in love with David Nicholls' script: "There is a fatalism in the story that is similar to the Scandi darkness or Bergman and I fell in love with it."

Being asked to direct a film for Fox was liberating he says: "I asked Fox what they wanted from me and they said, 'grandness and believability.' I set out to make a Thomas Hardy film not a Thomas Vinterberg film and chose to be loyal to the original story while making it modern; talking to an audience of the modern age."

Location

Set in rural Victorian England, the film tells the story of the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) who attracts three very different suitors Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer (Matthias Schoenaerts); Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant (Tom Sturridge); and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor (Michael Sheen).

Equally central to Hardy's novel is his description of the landscape. Vinterberg and Charlotte say they chose to shoot on location in Dorset, Somerset and Oxfordshire because, "...we wanted to be part of the landscape. We felt inspired by this the location."

Asked why they shot on film rather than digital, Bruus Chistensen says: "It was for story telling rather than technical reasons. Film allows you to feel the Dorset landscape, the texture and weather. To be true to Hardy's novel this film had to be pure and not have layers of digital manipulation. …

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