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“Another round” -how Thomas Winterberg teaches us to live and drink like Danes

Today at 8 pm in the Grand Hall of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality will be shown the last film by Thomas Winterberg “Another round”- one of the intriguing movies of 2020. Journalist Roman Huba shares his impressions of the tragicomedy of an experienced Dane.

Alcohol, of course, does not solve all problems. But it helps to organize adventures very well. Four school teachers, the youngest of whom turned forty, decide to test the theory of the Norwegian scientist Finn Skerderud – supposedly, each of us lacks 0.5 ppm of alcohol in our blood to be happy. The danger of alcoholism does not frighten the heroes, yes, and it seems that there are plenty of examples- you can even take Hemingway, for instance.

Said, done. History teacher Martin, played by the brilliant Mads Mikkelsen, decides to test the theory diligently. Martin’s life is halfway through. His work does not please him, the children do not listen to him, and his wife has lost interest in him. But if you start the working day with a couple of sips, then the students in the class are active, and the forgotten light appears in the wife’s eyes. Martin’s colleagues do not waste their time either, and although they stagger a bit, they also succeed. At first, experience has only one disadvantage – it is better not to drive drunk, but apart from that, there are many advantages. What happens next is well illustrated by the original title of the film “Druk”. It is the Danish name for drunk.

Beginning as a comedy, Änotoher round” immerses the viewer in the drama of aging men. After all, it seems like yesterday when they were no different from their students, conducting dashing alcohol races near the local lake. But now, the schoolchildren wake up in the morning as if nothing had happened. The negligent teacher has to face again his own adult life. And the hangover would seem like paradise against the background of the realization that youth is gone, and he never realized his life plans. It is not the alcohol’s fault because, as Martin-Mikkelsen’s on-screen wife notes: “in this country, everyone does not sober up”. Therefore, “Another round” is not “Bachelor Party in Vegas”, and not “Peculiarities of the National Hunt”, but a sad story about a midlife crisis and reconciliation with oneself. And the liquor is just something that is mentioned incidentally. However, cameraman Sturla Brandt Grövlen still captures glasses and bottles as if they were not alcohol at all, but masterpieces from the world’s best galleries. True, Winterberg’s attention is only enough for the alcohol and an ensemble of four beautiful Danish men, leaving women on the screen only with the insignificant roles.

Considering that the previous film by Thomas Winterberg was dedicated to the sinking of the Russian submarine “Kursk”, this one looks like returning home. The film continually emphasizes that this story happened in Denmark. Either the flag will accidentally fall into the frame, then the children’s choir will sing a song about the beautiful land. Indeed, if you travel through the Øresund Strait, and find yourself, say in Sweden, the attitude to alcohol will be completely different. Although, this will not affect the empathy for the main characters because parting with youth is sad in any language. The director of the film himself turned 50, and he could also find himself in the company of friends who decided to test the simple alcohol theory. Recently, grief occurred in his family. In the final credits, you can see the dedication to the director’s daughter, Ida, who died during the filming. Because of this, the “bright sadness”, that the director exploits in the film becomes closer and more intense. We cannot stop the passage of time, but while we are alive, we will rejoice. And you do not have to drink for that, although there is no need to stay sober either.

Roman Guba

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