The film is in competition for Politiken's Talent Award 2019. The award is founded to celebrate tomorrow's talents in Danish cinema. Five new Danish feature films are nominated for the award, that will be handed out by Politiken Film & TV on Sunday November 17th. The award includes a cash prize of 50.000 DKK for the director's next project.
Jette Søndergaard, Peter Hansen Tygesen, Ole Caspersen, Tue Frisk Petersen
Øst for Paradis
Film festivals often showcase portraits of families and societies in the outskirts of Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia or the American midwest but rarely do we get a story set in the Danish countryside. An increasing number of films are produced outside Copenhagen, but so few of them are uniquely tied to their region in story, spirit and dialect. Frelle Petersen is Southern Denmark’s new voice in Danish cinema - his debut ‘Where Have All the Good Men Gone’ took place in his home region and with ‘Uncle’ he is literally moving back to the marsh and into the house of an old farmer with a film that is as Southern Jutlandic as they come. And how refreshing!
In the flat marshes of the South 27 year old Kris (Jette Søndergaard) lives with her uncle (Peter H. Tygesen) at the Stenbjerg farm. A few years ago her father committed suicide, and Kris had to move in with her uncle while finishing high school, but now the tables have turned. After her uncle suffered a stroke, she must look after him and the farm, milking, cleaning out the stables and cooking. This has become routine, and every day seems like the one before until the chatty veterinarian Johannes and the neighbor’s kid Mike stir some of the dreams that Kris shelved long ago.
‘Uncle’ is a film present in its story and location, told with the mindfulness of its characters, with a curiosity about their seemingly simple lives and a real understanding of its depths. In preparation for his film, Frelle lived at the farm with Peter H. Tygesen, who plays uncle, granting the story a sense of authenticity. He has the courage to dwell on small details in the repetitive routines of the farm life, while Kris and uncle’s relationship is fleshed out and their silence speaks volumes.
René Frelle Petersen, born 1980 in Southern Jutland, made his debut with the critically acclaimed ‘Where Have All the Good Men Gone’ that screened at Seattle International Film Festival and was nominated for a Bodil later that same year. In 2013 he founded the production company 88miles with Marco Lorenzen, who has produced both ‘Where Have All the Good Men Gone’ and ‘Uncle’. Frelle also directed the shorts ‘Mommy’ (2013), ‘Going Nowhere’ (2011) and ‘The Smell of Hair’ (2007).
“I grew up in Southern Jutland. The family on my mother’s side are farmers, and I wanted to explore rural country life in this film as authentically as possible. I decided to cast a real farmer, Peter H. Tygesen, as uncle and use his home as our set with very few alterations. Kris is played by his own real-life niece who I’ve worked with on my previous film. I wanted the characters to be as real and authentic as possible and speak the region’s dialect.”