'Drunk' by Thomas Vinterberg will be the opening film at the 47th edition of Film Fest Ghent
"Many historical moments occurred under the influence of alcohol. From great literature - Hemingway - to the World Wars. Churchill used to drink in the morning", said director Thomas Vinterberg a few years ago, when the news spread that he was writing a film about alcohol.
Wim De Witte, programme director: "For us, having an opening film in these strange times almost feels like something historical. The fact that we are able to kick off the festival with Vinterberg's new film will undoubtedly contribute to this sentiment. We will have to miss out on the traditional opening glass this year, but Mads Mikkelsen will be drinking for the rest of us."
Four adult men venture into an experiment where they go through life with just enough alcohol in their blood: that is, in short, Drunk's premise. The Danish director who initiated the Dogme 95 movement at the Cannes film festival with Festen (1998), provides an exquisite mix of humor and misery. The fact that the wonderful Mads Mikkelsen, who already worked with Vinterberg for Jagten (winner of the North Sea Port Audience Award at Film Fest Ghent) in 2012, interprets the lead role, helps of course. Also screenwriter Tobias Lindholm was brought on board.
Drunk is about Martin (Mikkelsen), who went from the brightest high school teacher to a burnt-out man, so much so that students and parents want to intervene, while his marriage is slowly coming to an end. During a dinner, his three close colleagues convince him to join them for a binge drink. They become more and more intoxicated and the group's jammer Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) tells them about an obscure philosopher who claimed that people were not born with enough alcohol in their blood.
As an experiment, he suggests that they all start drinking throughout the day to maintain the “right” amount of alcohol (five percent) in their blood. The experiment initially goes well: Martin amazes his wife Trine (Maria Bonnevie) with his regained zest for life and the interaction with his students goes more smoothly then ever. But how long before things derail?
With his twelfth feature-length film, Vinterberg once again demonstrates his talent for sketching group dynamics after Festen and Jagten. The result is a noisy tragicomedy about how men cope (or fail to cope) with aging. It is also an intriguing, vigorously directed study on the - positive and less positive - effects of our daily life drinking culture.
The opening night will take place on 13 October at Kinepolis Ghent.