If you cast your eye upon the top 10 most-attended films in Denmark last weekend, you'd spot some familiar titles: Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Fantastic Four 2, Ocean's 13 and even Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino's stand-alone version). You might also recognize the controversial The Art of Crying, which garnered mixed reactions when it played at the Toronto film festival last year. You might try to pronounce Cykelmyggen og Dansemyggen -- evidently a lovely animated family film about a dancing mosquito -- and dislocate your tongue. Or you might idly wonder how that old Tom Berenger mercenary vs. gangs flick The Substitute managed to finish #2. Of course, you'd then wake up and realize it must be another film, and how right you would be!

The Danish title is Vikaren, but in any language, it sounds tantalizing. Paprika Steen, wonderful in films as different as Adam's Apples and Okay, stars as a new substitute teacher for a class of sixth-graders. "She wants to train the class for an international competition in Paris," says the description by the Danish Film Institute. "But something isn't right. How is she able [to] read kids' minds? Why is she so mean? And how does she manage to convince everyone's parents she is so great when the whole class knows she is really an alien?" It's categorized as a "children's thriller," but the trailer, even without subtitles, suggests it might also have a deliciously dark sense of humor. Among the cast is Ulrich Thomsen, who was also in the superb Adam's Apples and will be featured in the upcoming Hitman. I'm not familiar with the work of director Ole Bornedal; his previous film, I Am Dina, was released pretty much everywhere but in North America. I'm hoping The Substitute will make it across the Atlantic; it definitely looks like something I want to see.
categories Cinematical