The Oscar-nominated Danish movie “Another Round” follows four middle-aged men who are friends and coworkers at a high school. They’re all in a mid-life funk, but in particular, Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) has lost his joie de vivre.
At a birthday dinner, one of the friends brings up a Norweigan philosopher who hypothesized that people may have a natural shortage of alcohol in their blood and could benefit from steadily maintaining a little boost.
The men agree to drink just enough to stay slightly buzzed throughout the workday.
For Martin, the experiment seems promising. Long checked out of his history teaching job, he comes alive in his lectures, and his relationship with his family suddenly improves.
Then the friends decide to kick the drinking up several notches.
Director Thomas Vinterberg says he and Tobias Lindholm, the co-writer of the film, were thinking about the idea behind “Another Round” as far back as 2013.
Vinterberg knew he wanted to make a movie about alcohol, but couldn’t quite figure out the plot. Years later, he finally had a script, financing, and a cast in place. Then just as they began shooting, tragedy struck.
Four days into filming, Vinterberg’s 19-year-old daughter was killed by a reckless driver. She was supposed to appear in the movie, and the film was shot at her high school and features her real-life friends.
Vinterberg’s co-writer Tobias Lindholm temporarily took over, but Vinterberg soon found himself coming back to the project. He says working on the movie kept him from insanity. “It gave me a direction … and it gave me a purpose. Some days, it was more difficult not to work.”
Vinterberg said it helped that he was longtime friends with all four leading men in his cast, and that they carried him through the darkest days of his life. “It was a very strange time, but I was met by so much care and so much love. And maybe you can see that on the screen.”
“Another Round” is Oscar-nominated for Best International Film and Vinterberg is nominated for Best Director, the first Danish filmmaker ever in that category. Vinterberg says the Best Director nomination was so surprising, he literally fell out of his chair.
Vinterberg will be traveling from Denmark to Los Angeles for the Oscars. His excitement around the film, which he dedicated to his daughter, is mixed with many other emotions. “It’s a long row of celebrations and love and praise, and yet, there is this grief. So it’s a very contrastful life right now, but I have to say, the praises for this movie mean something extra special this time.”