Danish Film Festival presents A Royal Affair

The following article was originally published in The Herald

20 January 2015

The Danish Film Festival scheduled for January 21 to 22 at Alliance Francaise in Harare, will open with a screening of the internationally acclaimed and award winning historical drama “A Royal Affair” at 5pm.

The film, which was directed by Nikolaj Arcel received two Silver Bears at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards and at the 85th Academy Awards.

Set in the 18th century at the court of the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark, “A Royal Affair” is a story about the dramatic romance and political aspirations of the Queen, Caroline Mathilda and Johann Struensee, the royal physician.

The film features award winning Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen who is supported by Alicia Vikander. Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his role the movie.

In the story Caroline and Johann dream of a better world for the country’s common people. They use Johann’s influence on the King’s governance to diminish the power of the aristocracy and introduce reforms. The intrigue filled plot sees court officials initiating counter manoeuvres that result in the aristocracy regaining their hold on the King.

The Danish Film Festival will feature four award winning films which will be screened free of charge to all cinema enthusiasts over the two-day period. The festival will present a variety of cinema genres including historical drama, contemporary dilemmas and family entertainment.

Other titles that cinema enthusiasts should expect to enjoy at the festival include “The Keeper of Lost Causes”, a thriller that was directed by Mikkel Nørgaard (2013), “Antboy” (family viewing, 2013) directed by Ask Hasselbalch and a 2013 modern drama entitled “The Hunt “, which was directed by Thomas Vinterberg.

The festival is organised by the Royal Danish Embassy Office in cooperation with the Danish Film Institute in order to promote understanding and cooperation between Zimbabwe and Denmark through culture.

The Danish head of mission Charge d’ Affaires Erik Brøgger Rasmussen, said due to limited seating in the auditorium at Alliance Francaise, attendance will be on a first come-first served basis and there is no facility for pre-booking seats.

He said the film festival will create new a platform for promoting stronger bilateral relations, understanding and cooperation between Zimbabwe and Denmark through interaction and culture.

He said: “The international policy community recognises that culture is a key contributor to sustainable development alongside economics, socio-politics and the environment. We believe that culture underpins development and should be part of the development agenda and this event is yet another step in Denmark’s re-engagement process to rebuild ties with Zimbabwe.”

As part of its development cooperation with Zimbabwe, Denmark last year provided a $1 million grant to support interventions that enhance the role of culture as a medium for free expression in Zimbabwe.

The grant is managed by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust and will be invested in a variety of initiatives over the next two years to strengthen the capacity of key cultural operators in the country.

Denmark and Zimbabwe have a long history of cooperation dating back to the struggle for independence when the Nordic country was a strong supporter of the liberation movement. Since 2008 Denmark has emerged as one of Zimbabwe’s biggest bilateral donors in per capita terms.