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.