Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The pact

Direction: Bille August

Country: Denmark

Year: 2021

Duration: 115 min.

Cast: Birthe Neumann, Simon Bennebjerg, Asta Kamma August, Nanna Skaarup Voss, Anders Heinrichsen, Marie Mondrup, Kurt Dreyer, Jytte Kvinesdal, Mikkel Kjærsgaard Stubkjær, Téo Lepetit, Susanne Bruhn, Bjarne Jønsson, Nathan Benson

Film script: Christian Torpe. Memories: Thorkild Bjørnvig

Genre: Drama.

Music: Frédéric Vercheval

Photography: Manuel Alberto Claro

Producer: Coproducción Dinamarca-Suecia; Motor, SF Studios

Distributor in Spain: Adso Films

Premiere in Spain: January 28, 2022

Original version: Danish with Spanish subtitles


End of the forties. Writer Karen Blixen, 63, is at the height of her success and appears to be the next to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Having left behind her resignation from the famous farm in Africa to return to her native Denmark and having lost the love of her life, Karen has now reinvented herself as a literary sensation. She is still an isolated genius. However, her life will be shaken the day she meets a talented 30-year-old poet. Karen promises him literary stardom if he obeys her unconditionally in return, even at the cost of losing everything in his life.


“It deals with the friendship between Karen Blixen, author of ‘Out of Africa’, and the young poet Thorkild Bjørnvig”

The veteran Danish director  Bille August, double winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, for Pelle, the conqueror  and The best intentions,  adapts in this film the homonymous book, in which the author  Thorkild Bjørnvig  reviews his cloudy and complex relationship with  Karen Blixen. It begins when he is 29 years old and has just published his first book, but despite the good reviews he has not achieved his dream of living on literature, so he survives thanks to the salary as a librarian from Grete, his wife and mother of his little boy. son. To his astonishment, he learns that the author of “Out of Africa” wants to meet him, who has returned to Denmark after the death of her husband, suffering from poor health, having contracted syphilis. He will offer her help to rise to stardom, although it turns out to be a very different woman from the one he imagined.

It is at least curious that August makes a portrait of his illustrious compatriot opposed to the image that the international public has, which above all reminds  Meryl Streep, in the film that covered her best-known work, Memories of Africa. Here Bjørnvig’s version is offered, which recognizes her literary talent, her enormous intelligence, and that she was a woman ahead of her time, but above all he paints her as a manipulator, capable of using the people around her for her benefit, and she is accused of double standards, by encouraging marital infidelities among her friends, whom she also forced to keep up appearances.

The director offers a lesson in good cinema, as he tells the story in an exemplary way, and with great elegance, suggesting the darkest points without showing them explicitly.  Birthe Neumann, known as the mother of Celebration, take advantage of the golden opportunity to play the character, very well described in the script, because he knows how to reflect the magnetism of Blixen, whose proposals are difficult to reject, despite the fact that according to what is said, going with the flow would be the closest thing to make a deal with the devil. They manage not to clash –which is no small thing–  Simon Bennebjerg, as Thorkild, and  Nanna Skaarup Voss, the self-sacrificing Grete, his wife.

The director sent the script to  Meryl Streep, thinking that she would be eager to recover her most charismatic character. But she replied that she had already played that role.

Next screening: June 2, 2022

MAIXABEL by Iciar Bollaín.

Maixabel Lasa lost her husband, Juan María Jaúregui, in 2000, assassinated by ETA. Eleven years later, she receives an unusual request: one of the murderers has asked to meet with her in the prison of Nanclares de la Oca / Álava), in which she is serving a sentence after having broken her ties with the terrorist group. 



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