Whether you are a film buff or simply a connoisseur of Scandinavian culture, chances are you may be aware of Denmark’s flourishing presence on the world cinematic stage. In 2014 alone, 25 feature films were released nationally, which is rather significant for a nation with a population of approximately 5.6 million. Denmark is emerging as a premiere destination for high-quality films, so while enjoying some of the best food, music, art, and places to stay in Copenhagen, don’t forget to take in some of the local cinema as well.
While understanding film from a different culture can be daunting, consider that you may be more knowledgeable about Danish cinema than you realize. Many of today’s hottest screen and television actors hail from Denmark, such as Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelson and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Meanwhile, Lars von Trier (Antichrist), Susanne Bier (Things We Lost in the Fire), and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) are all internationally recognized Danish feature film directors. These talented directors have made their mark with audiences both in Denmark and abroad, racking up multiple film award nominations and wins over the past decade.
So, what is the best way to begin learning about Danish cinema? Fortunately, Copenhagen is home to several movie theaters and art houses, such as the Danish Film Institute Cinematheque, which screens up to 60 films a month, and many of its titles are offered in English or with English subtitles. The Cinematheque also has its own coffee shop, as well as an extensive library of Danish films called the Videotheque.
Film festivals are another way to become immersed in Denmark’s film industry. The Copenhagen International Feature Film Festival in April and the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival in November are both centered on recognizing the best in Danish cinema. Though not televised, you can try following the prestigious Bodil Awards or the Robert Awards, Denmark’s answer to the Academy Awards, to get an idea of the best films Denmark has to offer.