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Denmark, 2012, 103 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Biographical, Drama, Family Issues, Historical/Period
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Danish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Bille August
Producer: Karin Trolle, Signe Leick JensenEditor: Gerd TjurCinematographer: Dirk BrüelPrincipal Cast: Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Søren Sætter-Lassen, Tommy Kenter, Sverrir Gudnason, Nanna Buhl Andresen, Lene Maria Christensen
She is the beautiful wife of one of Denmark’s most famous artists, the widely admired subject of many of his paintings, yet Marie Krøyer sorrowfully confides to her best friend that her life is “a living hell.” Her admission comes about a third of the way into this biographical drama, based on Marie’s heartbreaking love losses. From the couple’s strolls along the beaches of Denmark’s northernmost promontory, to art openings packed with an adoring public, director Billie August presents the facade Marie shows to the world. We witness idyllic scenes interspersed with ones of Marie hopefully enduring her husband’s wild mood swings and his ultimate descent into mental illness.
Peder Severin Krøyer and Marie were part of the Skagen Painters, a lively community of Nordic artists working in the style of the French impressionists. We see the Krøyers enjoying wealth, fame, and the love of each other and their daughter, Vibs, but it all goes awry as P.S. becomes more and more unstable. His scathing criticism of his wife, his huge ego, and his cruelty to their daughter become intolerable for Marie. She and Vibs take a vacation to Sweden, where Marie falls madly in love with another man. All of this passion and turbulence seethe beneath the proper Victorian manners and dress of the time. The celebrated light that attracted artists to the area floods the screen, and glimpses of beguiling canvases appear throughout.
- JULIET SHERWOOD
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