Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round (Druk) (2020) was the big winner of last night’s European Film Awards 2020, receiving the awards of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor for Mads Mikkelsen, and Best Screenwriter for Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm.
The Danish film has been a favorite in many festivals, winning the Audience Awards at the BFI London Film Festival back in October. The film was a huge hit at the box office in Denmark, and became Denmark’s entry for the International Feature Oscar. With one of the most joyous closing sequences, probably that has ever existed in a film, it is no surprise Another Round is doing so well.
Another Round tackles unashamedly a difficult subject without placing any sort of moralistic preconceptions on the issue. The film tells the story of four high school teachers, tired and weary of the everyday monotony of their lives. Together, they decide to test the theory, conceptualized by a Norwegian psychologist Finn Skårderund, who contended that a certain constant level of alcohol in the system was required to thrive in society. As the four friends experiment with this theory, Another Round shows how it affects them all quite differently.
The film is an equally sad and joyous ride through the disinhibiting pleasure of drinking alcohol. But if taken a step too far, it can lead to dire consequences. At the heart of the film is Mads Mikkelsen’s character, Martin, a once-brilliant history teacher who now bores his classes almost to death, and doesn’t even notice nor care when he feeds them the wrong information.
At first, that little percentage of alcohol enables Martin, and his three other colleagues, sport teacher Tommy (Bo Larsen), music teacher Peter (Lars Ranthe) and psychology teacher Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), to come out of their shells and inspire their students to improve. But as they take the experiment further, it all goes out of hand.
The sheer joy of the film’s closing sequence will stay with you long after seeing it. It gives a sense of catharsis, without being in any way moralistic.
Thomas Vinterberg, who tragically lost his nineteen-year-old daughter Ida in a car accident while making the film, said as he accepted the award: “she loved this project, she was a part of this project—she was supposed to act in it, it was made at her school, amongst her friends in her classroom—and the only thing that made sense when she died was to carry on and make this movie for her. It’s made by all of us who love her and miss her dearly, and your votes and your award will honor her memory.”
Upon winning the prize for Best Actor, Mads Mikkelsen said: “One reason this film was made, one reason why this film was finalized is one little shining light that is not here anymore. But her light is in every frame of this film, so we dedicate it to Ida Vinterberg.”
European Film: Another Round (Druk), dir. Thomas Vinterger
European Comedy: The Big Hit (Un Triomphe), dir. Emmanuel Courcol
European Discovery – Prix Fipresci: Sole, dir. Carlo Sironi
European Documentary: Collective (Collectiv), dir. Alexander Nanau
European Animated Feature Film: Josep, dir. Aurel
European Short Film: All Cats Are Grey In The Dark, dir. Lasse Linder
European Director: Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round
European Actress: Paula Beer for Undine
European Actor: Mads Mikkelsen for Another Round
European Screenwriter: Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm for Another Round
European Cinematography: Matteo Cocco for Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi)
EFA Award for Innovative Storytelling: Mark Cousins for Women Make Film: A New Road Movie through Cinema