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Flammen & Citronen

IT’S NOT VERY OFTEN that a big-budget period film comes out of Scandinavia, but recently there’ve been not one, but two. Here mentioned is the Danish film “Flammen & Citronen”, an action-drama based on the Second World War actions of Bent Faurschou-Hviid (nicknamed “Flame”) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith (“Citron”). Faurschou-Hviid and Schmith were members of the Holder Danske group, a Danish resistance organization primarily composed of Danes who had previously fought for Finland against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940.

Schmith is portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, who played the Bond villian Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale”. (One of his more memorable Danish roles was in the cannibalistic black-comedy “De grønne slagtere”).

Faurschou-Hviid is played by Thure Lindhardt, a Roskilde native who has acted in a number of Danish & English-language productions from his portrayal of an autistic boy in “Her i nærheden” to that of a Swiss Guard lieutenant in Ron Howards “Angels & Demons”.

Stine Stengade plays Ketty Selmer, a clerical assistant in the Copenhagen office of the Gestapo who is also a resistance member and is having an affair with Faurschou-Hviid. The actress is married to the film’s director Ole Christian Madsen.

Jesper Christensen is one of our favourite bad-guy actors, best known to Anglo audiences from “The Interpreter” and as Mr. White in the two latest Bond films, “Casino Royale” & “Quantum of Solace”. In “Flammen & Citronen”, Christensen actually plays a good guy for once. (In real life, Christensen is a rabid anti-monarchist, and turned down the Order of the Dannebrog when it was offered to him).

But whose this bad-guy in the back of the car?

That’s right, it’s the professional cinema-Nazi, Christian Berkel, playing Hoffman, the Gestapo leader. Berkel is probably most known for Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck, the valiant doctor in “Downfall” (“Das Untergang”). He played the evil General Käutner in “Zwartboek”, was a German officer in Spike Lee’s “Miracle at St. Anna”, and was Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim in the recent July-plot film “Valkyrie”. While he’s been acting in German since the 70′s, Berkel’s first English role was as a mortuary director in the 2005 Jodie Foster film “Flightplan”.

Filming took place in Denmark, Germany, and Bohemia, with Prague standing in as Nazi-occupied Copenhagen.

Flammen og Citronen” was released in the UK in March, and will have a limited release in the United States from July 31.

This post was published on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 5:54 pm. It has been categorised under Cinema History and been tagged under , , , .
Comments
  1. kd
    29 July 2009
    4:54 am

    Fascinating. Thanks, Andrew; I hope to see this one!

    Watched Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows (L’Armee des Ombres) last night. Recommended.

  2. 1 August 2009
    12:49 am

    Very dramatic, sad and pesimistic movie with just one tragicomic scene, but worth to see.
    I would like to recommand Norwegian film “Max Manus” about resistance in Norway, much more hope in it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Manus_(film)

    PS HolGer Danske means OGIER THE DANE, the legendary knight of Charlemagne.

  3. Michael Brabazon
    31 August 2010
    5:34 am

    I was lucky enough to catch ‘Flammen & Citronen’ recently, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I quite enjoyed it, in part helped by the strong performances of the two principal actors. This Scandinavian film was a considerable improvement on the last one I saw years ago, a piece of liberal Swedish nonsense by Lukas Moodysson called ‘Show Me Love’…what was I thinking?

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