In 1998, Thomas Vinterberg wrote and directed his debut feature: Firm O The celebration. In that, the patriarch of the family (in celebration of his 60th birthday) is accused of having sexually abused his daughter and daughter when they were both young. What could quickly turn into a dark and dense drama, through the eyes of Vinterberg, rather turns out to be a black comedy about the consequences of these terrible acts. One more round, his most recent film, and for which he won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film this year, takes the same path of dark comedy.
In the movie One more round, the Danish director returns to address a kind of celebration, but now his approach is much more dangerous. As if child sexual abuse were not enough, here we are faced with the mid-life crisis experienced by four men who decide to do a social experiment for the sake of science. Everyone will drink a certain amount of alcohol a day, in order to find greater happiness and dynamism.
The first thing that stands out in the movie One more round, is the subtlety with which Vinterberg approaches this subject without falling into the moral or prejudices. Something that would easily happen in the hands of anyone else behind the scenes. And not only talking about the Hollywood industry -although this film will already have its remake-, but even about Latin American or European cinema: approaching alcohol intake as the starting point of a story can be extremely risky and quickly fall into melodrama or crude comedy.
In the film, Vinterberg is once again paired with one of the best Danish actors of his generation: Madds Mikkelsen. The duo meet again after The hunt (2012), but now that film under a different spectrum. Mikkelsen plays a man who, in his 40s, feels his life is off course, and as he talks to his friends at a birthday dinner, they all realize that they are carrying a burden that they have not been able to let go of.
A feature of the movie One more round is that alcohol consumption is not the main thread, but its photography. The director enlisted the services of Norwegian photographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, who had previously captured a vastly different work from Vinterberg’s tape: First and Last Men, opera prima and posthumously finished by the Icelandic composer Jóhann Johannsson. In this one it is related what was of the planet Earth once the humans stopped inhabiting it, all this narrated by Tilda Swinton.
First and Last Men is a slow paced black and white work, while One more round does not hide that celebration of life while the characters discover the benefits of alcohol. However, the film is not a mere pretext to get drunk, since Vinterberg knows that he is playing with fire with his characters and each one develops it differently.
Thus, Madds Mikkelsen takes us by the hand of this self-discovery of his character. It shows us that the human being must always allow himself a constant learning and even a deconstruction of himself in order to advance. The movie characters One more round they carry an invisible weight (even to themselves) over the shoulders. But once they let go, they finally allow themselves to be free.
Of course there are consequences to this experiment. Of course, there are results that this study throws up that will not be to the liking of these gentlemen. But in the end, they allowed curiosity to lead them to unfamiliar terrain. A curiosity typical of the youngest and that is lost as we grow older. No wonder Vinterberg wrote this script with the help of his daughter, who taught him the drinking culture that exists among young people in Denmark. Four days after filming began, his daughter died in an accident and the director rearranged his ideas so that the film would stop being a story about the celebration of alcohol and more a reaffirmation of life. The Danish filmmaker brought his pain and grief to a dance that celebrates that we are here … even for a moment.
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