'In a Better World': second time lucky for Dane

"In a Better World," which won the best foreign film Academy Award on Sunday, is a Danish-language drama about child anger by director Susanne Bier, which won her a second Oscar nomination.

The movie tells the story of an aid doctor who travels between his quiet home life in an idyllic village in Denmark - where his marriage is collapsing - and a chaotic refugee camp in Africa.

His 10-year-old son Elias is meanwhile getting bullied at school, but strikes up a friendship with another boy, Christian - and the pair plunge into a violent circle of revenge that eventually leads to them blowing up the truck.

Also called "Revenge," the translation of its Danish title, the film has attracted over 400,000 movie-goers in Denmark and has been distributed in more than 50 countries.

Its Oscars triumph comes four years after Bier won her first Oscars nomination, again for best foreign language film for her 2006 drama "After the Wedding."

"I don't make movies to be nominated at the Oscars, but because I like telling stories," said the 50-year-old filmmaker who made her first movie in 1986, and is well-known in her homeland.

According to Frederikke Lett, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's movie critic, the film is a "masterpiece" in which Bier manages to "describe and show the feelings that touch us directly at the heart."

The director says the film is about learning.

"Christian goes from being a very angry kid to be someone who has learned something, and who might eventually turn into a compassionate human being, because he has met compassion," she said.

"There is substance in my films, but also entertainment, and that combination seems to have got the attention of the selection committee," the director added.

The movie, which beat films from Mexico, Greece, Canada and Algeria to win at this year's ceremony, has already snagged the best foreign language film award at last month's Golden Globes.

Bier also made the 2007 drama "The Things we Lost in the Fire," which received rave reviews and starred big names like Halle Berry and Benicio del Toro.

Bier describes her work as "popular," a label she blames for her lack of acclaim at the Cannes film festival, which "selects extremely elitist films, and my films are not for them," she said.

"She is not Lars von Trier," their common producer, Peter Aalbaeck Jensen told AFP shortly before the Oscars. "But she draws spectators on another register with touching stories, on the limit of melodrama," he said.

"Making films is for me not about making small avant-garde films no one wants to see," Bier told European film industry news website Cineuropa last August.

Speaking in Los Angeles more recently, she said: "I don't want to make movies where you leave the cinema and just want to jump from the next bridge.

"I want people leave the cinema and have things to think about, but still feel that there's hope and feel that human being is capable of acting in a way that makes the difference. Because that's what I believe."

burs/mt/jkb

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world