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

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Some Habits are Meant to be Broken


Extended version:

Danish director Peter Schønau Fog has accomplished a great feat. He has taken a tragic film about depression and molestation and infused freshness and humor.

The Art of Crying is based on Erling Jepsen's novel about a rural South Jutland family in 1971. Their home life could not be worse, but youngest son Allan does not comprehend what surrounds him. However, when older brother Asger comes home from college, he is resentful of Asger's escape.

The family falls into an exhausting routine. To sum up the good days, Allan states, "When dad is happy, he forgets to kill himself." The bad days are something else. Father Henry argues with his wife regarding what a lousy person he is while threatening to end his life, and when she tires of this game Allan tries to cheer him up. As a last but all too common resort, Allan sends his 14-year-old sister downstairs to comfort their father, completely unaware of what that entails.

The story is narrated by Allan though his viewpoint is blurred. With the constant attention his dad requires to contain his depression, Allan guards him like a bulldog. He is young enough to
still be naïve, but on the brink of realizing all is not well. Jannik Lorenzen makes his film premiere in the role, and captures the character with a fierce rawness, shedding any possibility for pity.

Allan wishes harm on anybody who belittles his father, and surprisingly, this is where the humor is inserted. He discovers that his father gains confidence while delivering a eulogy and causing everyone else to cry for a change. Therefore, Allan surmises, his father's happiness must come from the death of others.

As he wishes his dad's grocery competitor ill and slides too many pills towards his ailing aunt, there is humor in his efforts. Sadly, he does not realize the irony of killing for a man who always
threatens to kill himself. But Allan has only ever known one purpose in life, and that is to ensure that his father lives to see the next day.

Allan's sister Sanne is portrayed by another first-time film actor, and Julie Kolbech superbly captures the young girl at the state when reason is edging its way into habit. Struggling to break free and enjoy life, every new experience is shattered by her jealous father. Each sibling is in a different stage of comprehension and thus coping while their mother watches in resignation. Jesper Asholt portrays Henry as an exposed nerve. He is not evil – he thinks his actions are
performed out of love, but they are the wrong actions and he clearly needs help.

Fog raises concern for a dreadful situation while allowing the film to be quite watchable. As protective as Allan is of his father, the viewer becomes protective of the little boy, hoping that he will realize some habits are meant to be broken.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Eight Awards from the Danish Film Academy!

Foto: Kristian Sæderup

All smiles for runaway best film
By The Copenhagen Post
Published 04.02.08 00:00

'The Art of Crying' capped a year of critical international and domestic acclaim by being named the best Danish movie of 2007

Winning a total of eight awards, including Best Film, Best New Director and the Audience Award, the riveting family drama 'The Art of Crying' was the evening's big winner on Sunday, when the Danish Film Academy handed out its 2007 Robert Awards.

'The Art of Crying' tells the story of precocious, eleven-year-old Allan, trying to keep his dysfunctional, rural family together during the social upheavals of the early 1970s.

In addition to being one of the country's biggest box office hits in 2007, 'The Art of Crying', and its director, Peter Schønau Fog, had harvested no less than 13 awards at film international festivals prior to Sunday's accolades.

It was also nominated as Denmark's entry in the Best Foreign Film category in this year's Academy Awards.

Also winning multiple awards on Sunday was the children's film 'Island of the Lost Souls'.

'Eastern Promises', starring Denmark's own Viggo Mortensen, received the Film Academy's nod as the Best Non-American Foreign Film. Mortensen is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category.

(Correction: The Art of Crying has received 26 awards plus the 8 Roberts, Red.)


  • Best Danish Feature Film: »Kunsten at græde i kor«, directed by Peter Schønau Fog.

  • Best Director: Peter Schønau Fog »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • The Audience Award: »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • Best Supporting Actress: Hanne Hedelund in »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • Best Supporting Actor: Jesper Asholt in »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • Best Screenplay: Bo hr. Hansen in »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • Best Score: Karsten Fundal in»Kunsten at græde i kor«.

  • Best Costume Design: Margrethe Rasmussen in »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

Also nominated:

  • Best Cinematography: Harald Paalgaard »Kunsten at græde i kor«.
  • Best Actress: Julie Kolbeck »Kunsten at græde i kor«.
  • Best Production Design: Søren Krag Sørensen »Kunsten at græde i kor«.

Nominated for Succes of the Year

Kunsten at vinde priser

Det er med filmen »Kunsten at græde i kor« som med barnet, der skal holdes i hånden og følges i skole. Vestjyden Peter Schønau Fog med baggrund på Fanø har slet ikke haft en chance for at slippe filmen og får det næppe heller foreløbig.


Kirsten Lund Hansen
Foto: Timo Battefeld.

MERE HÆDER: Priserne er regnet ned over instruktøren Peter Schønau Fog og filmen »Kunsten at græde i kor«, - og der venter uden ret meget tvivl flere endnu. Men de mange priser koster.Kunsten at græde i kor« rører og berører. På den ene eller anden måde. Filmens far, vestjyden Peter Schønau Fog, har med sin egen baggrund fra Fanø omsat den sønderjyske forfatters Erling Jepsens ord om seksuelt og andet misbrug i sin egen barndom og familie til en film af internationale dimensioner. Mange priser og nomineringer, blandt de sidste til en Oscar-statuette, er fulgt succesen på lærredet. Efter en forevisning i USA oplevede instruktøren to helt modsatte reaktioner at se og opleve filmen på: Den totale identifikation og fortielsen... (Læs resten i JyskeVestkysten)