May 24 2022


Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands
2020, 117 mins.

Danish, Swedish languages
English sub-titles

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

(Caution: These comments may contain plot spoilers)

This film stars the one-man Danish film industry star Mads Mikkelsen whose last outing for RFS was in the challenging Men and Chicken. In the UK, his last released film was Riders of Justice, a humorous revenge gore fest, the author of these notes thought it not quite to the taste of RFS, so was not included in our deliberations of films to be included in our 59th season.

So, onto Another Round. Martin and three of his teacher friends embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication whilst working to test a theory. As the units are knocked back, some of them see improvement while others go off the rails. Sounds, the sort of film we should have dovetailed with the RFS party last time out but unfortunately that did not work out.

There is a theory that man is born with half a per mille too little, that alcohol in the blood opens the mind to the outside world, problems seem smaller, and creativity increases. We know it well: after the first glass of wine, the conversation lifts, the possibilities open up. Martin is a high-school teacher who feels old and tired.

His students and their parents want him terminated to increase their average. Encouraged by the per mille theory, Martin and his three colleagues throw themselves into an experiment to maintain a constant alcohol impact in everyday life. If Churchill won World War II in a dense fog of spirits, what could the strong drops do for them and their students? The result is positive in the beginning. Martin's class is in a different way now and the project is being promoted to a real academic study with the collection of results. Slowly but surely, the alcohol makes the four friends and their surroundings loosen up. The results are rising, and they really begin to feel life. As the objects go inboard, the experiment progresses for some and goes off track for others. It becomes clearer and clearer that alcohol can generate great results in world history but that all daring can also have consequences. The film is described as a fun, touching and thought-provoking drama about friendship, freedom…. and alcohol.

One might like to consider the Danish context of the film: Denmark has some of the highest rates of teenage drinking in the world; a World Health Organization report released earlier in 2020 found that Danish 15-year-olds consumed alcohol at nearly double the European average. Recent efforts to raise the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to eighteen from sixteen have met with resistance, in part because older adults recall their own youthful intoxications so fondly.

The film was based on a play Thomas Vinterberg had written while working at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Additional inspiration came from Vinterberg's own daughter (Ida), who had told stories of the drinking culture within the Danish youth. Ida had originally pressed Vinterberg to adapt the play into a movie and was slated to play the daughter of Martin (Mads Mikkelsen). The story was originally "A celebration of alcohol based on the thesis that world history would have been different without alcohol", and according to Vinterberg, it was "a much angrier movie". However, four days into filming, Ida was killed in a car accident. Following the tragedy, Vinterberg stated that he considered to stop making the film and even considered to "stop living". However, he eventually decided to rework the script to become more life-affirming. "It should not just be about drinking. It was about being awakened to life," stated Vinterberg. Co-writer Tobias Lindholm served as director in the week following the accident. The film was dedicated to Ida and was partially filmed in her classroom with her classmates.

Despite COVID restrictions by opening weekend Another Round had sold 102,366 tickets, including 13,400 tickets in previews, in Denmark, thereby achieving the biggest opening weekend for a Danish drama in seven years (Later broken by Riders of Justice (2020) with over 125,000). Total admissions have since reached over 840,000.

Another Round was an awards success winning both the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film amongst many other awards too.

Peter Sheil - after IMDB and Amazon