HomeCiak In MostraCiak In Mostra 2023Bastarden di Nikolaj Arcel

Bastarden di Nikolaj Arcel


Venezia 80 – Competition

Denmark, 2023 Director Nikolaj Arcel Cast Mads Mikkelsen, Gustav Lindh, Amanda Collin Running time 127′ Distribution Movies Inspired

Epic, noble ambitions and thirst for revenge in 18th-century Denmark. Having forgotten the ill-fated overseas interlude of The Black Tower (2017), Nikolaj Arcel returns with Bastarden to narrate Danish courts as he did with the acclaimed Royal Affair (En kongelig affære), which won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay in Berlin in 2012 and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. He does so by making his competition debut at the Venice Film Festival with what he has already called “his most personal film,” based on Ida Jessen’s novel Kaptajnen og Ann Barbara, and born out of a realization that led him to reflect on the failed path of human desires when driven by toxic ambitions. “Life is chaos, painful and unpleasant, beautiful and extraordinary, and we often cannot control it. We make plans, and God laughs at it,” Arcel reminds us in the director’s notes, helpful in framing the characters of Bastarden and their actions. Among them is penniless Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen), who, willing to do anything to receive the noble title he has always so desperately desired, sets out to conquer the rugged and uninhabitable Danish moors with the (seemingly impossible) goal of founding a colony in the king’s name. His plans, however, clash with those of the ruthless Frederik de Schinkel, the area’s sole ruler, arrogantly convinced that land belongs to him alone. When the latter learns that the maid Ann Barbara and her husband have fled to take refuge with Kahlen, the treacherous ruler swears revenge, doing everything in his power to drive out the captain. Kahlen is not intimidated and wages an unequal battle, risking his life and the family that has formed around him.

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