It's a mystery how Peter Schonau Fog manages to combine child abuse, a study of a rural community, affecting tragedy and black comedy into a satisfying whole, but in "The Art of Crying" he pulls it off. A gently offbeat study of a Jutland family in the early 1970s as seen through the merciless, innocent gaze of an 11 year-old boy, this refreshingly unconventional pic tackles its taboos with
compassion, grace and wit.
Jonathan Holland, Variety

Emotionally devastating and astonishingly mature, this is a unique feature debut. Steve Gravestock, Toronto International Filmfestival

A young Scandinavian genius tackles Bergmanesque themes of family taboos and relationships with pathos, humor, and a loving eye. Chiseko Tanaka, Tokyo International Film Festival

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wins at Mannheim Heidelberg filmfestival

The Art of Crying has won the following prizes at Mannheim Heidelberg filmfestival:

The Audience Award

For the film most liked by the Festival audiense, regardless of genre and length.

Jury's Special Mention for

Jesper Asholt

"For creating an amazing acting achievement for his role of Henry,

in which he succeeds in accomplishing a portrait of a complex,

strong and amusing character"

Recommendations of the Jury of Cinema Owners

First: The Art of Crying

"The film is a tightly directed and sensitive tragicomedy.

Told from little Allan's simple-minded perspective, the film

moves the spectators without leaving a bitter aftertaste behind."

Congratulations to the cast and crew!!

Find more pictures here.

Read about the festival wrap up:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Glasgow Film Festival

THE ART OF CRYING has been invited to a Danish Focus during:

(Feb 15 - 25).

The chilling tyranny of domestic abuse is told with black humour and acute understanding in this unsettling debut feature. Based on the bestselling novel by Erling Jepsen, it unfolds in the early 1970s when eleven year-old Jannik Lorenzen does everything he can to keep his family together. His innocence is his best protection against a father (Jesper Asholt) who behaves more like a child as he bullies, sulks and misbehaves to always ensure that he gets what he wants, however forbidden his desires.

Glasgow Film Theatre: Thu Feb 22 18:15:00 2007,

Diderot's Diary - review

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kunsten at græde i kor (The Art of Crying)

BASED on the eponymous roman à clef by Erling Jepsen, Kunsten at græde i kor is a tale of abuse and, moreover, the peculiar moral framework families construct for themselves, enabling them to except their own actions from the moral standard to which they hold the outside world. Much to my own surprise, the film is a black comedy, balancing the tragedy of sexual molestation with the absurd humor of adult self-pity and the innocence of youth. This balance is handled with remarkable skill by first-time feature director Peter Schønau Fog and an excellent cast of actors.

Kunsten at græde i kor is set during the 1970s in a village in Jutland near the German border, and 11-year-old Allan (Jannik Lorenzen) is our narrative touchstone. In voice-over Allan eases us into the film by describing how his parents would fight in the evenings, prompting his weak, frustrated father to cry and mope downstairs on the couch, usually punctuating his hysterical sobs with threats of suicide. It's quite unsettling for him to think that Papa (Jesper Anholt) should be so upset, and he waits for Mama (Hanne Hedelund) to relent and temporarily assuage the crying by patching the rift. If Mama has taken one of her sleeping pills, Allan asks his 14-year-old sister, Sanne (Julie Kolbeck) to go downstairs and console Papa.

Allan's naiveté shields him from the madness taking place around him. Even when his older brother Asger (Thomas Knuth-Winterfeldt) visits and warns him not to let Sanne go down to Papa any more, he doesn't understand the reasons why. He sees his Papa as someone to be pleased, not ignored, and Allan takes his constant suicide threats as literally as most children his age. He is aware enough of other families in the village to know that Papa's behavior isn't exactly normal, but, in the unique way that only children can, he accepts it as a fact of life.

Allan proves precociously resourceful when a village boy dies and he accidentally discovers that, like his father, he can manipulate people through tears. Delivering funeral eulogies appears to be the only time Papa comes out of his shell, and the more people cry (encouraged by young Allan's tearful sideshow) the more Papa comes to life. Allan even tries to help Papa's sister, the attention-craving hypochondriac Aunt Didde (Gitte Siem Christensen), into an early grave so Papa will get to enjoy another eulogy. He quite happily and unquestioningly carries out all of Papa's requests, spoken and unspoken, never grasping the seriousness of their consequences. Lorenzen himself must be quite clever to be so capable as a child actor, making his ability to feign straight-faced compliance during some his most appalling acts even more commendable.

As Papa, Anholt cuts a despicable and pathetic figure, an object of pity one moment and utter hatred the next. His underhanded attempts to control the lives of his family through a divide and conquer strategy, all for selfish reasons, are at the center of most of the separate narratives and indeed the film as a whole, though there are more than a few hints that the inclination toward abuse didn't begin with him. What makes this such an unconventional picture of abuse is that Papa rarely resorts to force and violence; he is too feeble for that. All his manipulation is psychological and rests on nothing more than filial loyalty. The trick lies in making his family feel obligated to do what they do not want to. On one or two occasions Anholt does cross the line and slips into caricature during one of his tantrums. These mark the very rare moments when the tragicomic balance is skewed too far in the direction of the latter.

Both the acting and the treatment of such a sensitive subject are first-rate, and the cinematography is equally good. Schønau Fog's domestic interiors have the cozy banality of family homes; the rooms all look and feel like they're lived in, not sets. His exteriors make use use of vivid natural color, with wide, empty landscape shots to show, for instance, how far the bus has to travel to connect this isolated rural village to the rest of the country. Taken together, all these aspects make Kunsten at græde i kor an outstanding film and impressive feature debut.

Read other Mannheim-Heidelberg filmfestival reviews from Diderot's Diary here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Radio Aktiv - review

Radio review by Heidi Simon:
(in german)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mannheim - Heidelberg screenings

The Art of Crying is in the International Competition in Mannheim-Heidelberg. Jannik, Julie and Peter will participate in the festival.

From the festival catalogue:

"Papa is often sad. He cries a lot. Sometimes all night long. Only when his daughter Sanne goes to him, does he somehow calm down. Little brother Alan doesn't understand any of it but he knows how to get Sanne to go to their father. He doesn't understand much of anything that goes on around him actually. Why everything happens at night. Why mother escapes into a knockout sleep using pills. Why daddy always wants to die and eventually never does commit suicide. And why his big sister becomes ever stranger. An eerie look at a scenario of abuse."

A news release from the festival: Fractures in childhood.


Date Time Cinema
November, 19 9.00 pm Atlantis 1
November, 20 11.00 pm Odeon
November, 22 6.00 pm Stadthaus

Date Time Cinema
November, 18 7.00 pm Gloria
November, 21 10.30 pm Schloss-Kino I
November, 22 10.30 pm Studio Europa

The Hong Kong International Film Festival

The Art of Crying has been invited to The Hong Kong International Film Festival(20.3-11.4 2007).

The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) is one of Asia’s most reputable platforms for filmmakers, film professionals and filmgoers from all over the world to launch new works and experience outstanding cinema. Established in 1977, the 16-day event showcases over 200 new films and several retrospective programmes. Previously operated by Urban Council and Leisure and Cultural Services Department from 1977 to 2001, and Hong Kong Arts Development Council from 2001 to 2004 respectively, HKIFF is officially corporatized as an independent, charitable organization – Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Limited after completing its 28 th edition.


The Art of Crying has been invited to the 10TH TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL.

The 10th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival takes place from 23rd November to 10th December, 2006 in Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Narva, Jõhvi and Kärdla. Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is an unique event combining a feature film festival with the sub-festivals of animated films, student films and children/youth films. The festival aims to present Estonian audiences a comprehensive selection of world cinema in all its diversity with the emphasis on European films, providing a friendly atmosphere for interaction between the audience, Estonian filmmakers and their colleagues from abroad.

The director of The Art of Crying, Peter Schønau Fog, won in 2001 the prize for best fiction film and best fiction director in the Sleepwalkers filmschool competion. Sleepwalkers is a part of TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL.

Sa 02.12 14:00 Kumu Kunstimuuseum (English subtitles)
Fr 08.12 15:00 Kosmos 2 (English subtitles)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Art of Crying receives a SPECIAL MENTION at AFI FEST 2006

'The Art of Crying' receives a SPECIAL MENTION at AFI FEST 2006 in Hollywood. Read about it here: Risky Biz Blog or or Hollywood Reporter or AFI FEST.

Congratulations to the cast and crew!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

La Ultima Pelicula - review

The Art of Crying... a film to come out the cinema feeling with sonrisilla in the mouth and that strange sensation of happiness well of to have seen a current but special film.

Zabaltegui: The Art of Crying
(Auto-translated by Babelfish)

Kunsten at græde i Kor is the original title of the first film of the young Danish Peter Schonau Fog, winner of the prize of the jury of youth in the festival.

The film counts the story of a peculiar family of a lost town of Denmark from the point of view of a boy, perfectly interpreted by Jannik Lorenzen. His father is an expert in the art to cry, is depressive and every night threatens committing suicide, before which the greater daughter (of about 13 years)"consoles to him" and the mother watches towards another side. Everything goes well until the girl refuses to console her father, which the young person Allan does not include/understand. But, after a death in the town, the father gives a speech by which all admire to him and Allan realizes of which that makes its father happy and tries that there are more funerales at all costs.

The form that has Schornau to treat a as delicate subject as the sexual abuse or the death is admirable. All it does from perspective the intelligent innocent although and perspicaz of a boy of 10 years.

The story makes reir, cry and maintains to the spectator catched and astonished in peculiar personages, an admirable photography and a close story who cause that you leave the room with that sensation of to have been witness of an exceptional but daily history.

The best thing: Allan.
The worse thing: That probably they do not release it in Spain or if they do it he happens unnoticed completely. A pain.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Blue Van - new CD out!

The great danish band playing live in The Art of Crying is The Blue Van. Their new CD, Dear Independence, with some of the songs from the film has just been released in Japan and the US. But it won't be released in Denmark until january. (I bought it in Tokyo - it's really excellent! - psfog).

Check out their website here:

And their myspace site here:

These days they are touring the US. and Japan.

Los Angeles Journal - review

The Art of Crying (Kunsten At Graede I Kor): If you ever felt too detached to relate to those who have been sexually abused, director Peter Schonau Fog’s is a film to bring you extremely close to the evil reality of sexual abuse. Just watching the excellent portrayal by Jesper Asholt as an abusing father makes you sick. Dad whimpers, cries, and threatens suicide, all to garnish whatever level of attention he can attain from the unsuspecting. His son Allan (Jannik Lorenzen) is completely entranced by his father. His father’s tears are unbearable to the point that Allan even encourages his sister, Sanne (Julie Kolbeck), to "comfort" their father. Allan is so naïve he does not understand or even conceive of the atrocities occurring between his sister and his father. For the psychological observer, the film virtually displays all levels of the family dysfunctions where molestation is occurring: detachment, secrets, silence, sympathy seeking, distractions fabricated when arguments occur, and the lack of empathy, escapism, and violence from the disassociated. Yes, it is all here, maybe to excess. At times this International Feature Competition selection reads like a psychology book – perhaps a little too blatant. Written by Bo Hr Hansen, eliminating some scenes might have tightened the film but, as it is, it sharply hits home. Not for the weak at heart or those emotionally disturbed easily. – Robert Buhrow
(Screenings Nov. 3, 7 p.m.; Nov. 4, 3:15 p.m.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

LA Weekly - review

What at first appears to be a rather conventional child’s-eye view of rural Danish life in the 1970s turns quickly into a dark portrait of a shockingly dysfunctional family. In director Peter Schønau Fog’s adaptation of Erling Jepsen’s novel, Allan (a haunting Jannik Lorenzen) is a daddy’s boy who quietly manipulates the goings on in his provincial town, disposing threats to his small-minded father with the ruthlessness of a mini Macbeth. The film’s cinematic style is conventional, but fine performances and Fog’s attention to detail create a truly claustrophobic setting. Soaked with suicidal themes and Schubert lieder, this is a domestic drama that’s more frightening than most horror films. (Fri., Nov. 3, 7 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 4, 3:15 p.m.) (James C. Taylor)

Getty Images

Director: Peter Schønau Fog