Archive for April 17, 2009


We went to see the Danish film Flame and Citron, discussed  on here on FriendFeed crime and mystery room,  yesterday evening at the Barn Cinema at Dartington. You can read an interview with one of the film’s stars Mads Mikkelsen here

The film, directed by Ole Christian Madsen, is a brilliant portrait of the a country under occupation and the moral problems faced by those who refuse to collaborate. It is a very violent film but gets inside the emotions of the characters and shows that no one can be trusted in that situation. Denmark was in a unusual position among the occupied countries in that the Germans regarded Danes as fellow Nordics,  and the occupation regime was not as harsh as it was in Poland. The population were caught in a moral dilemma of whether to resist and bring down the wrath of the Germans, or accept their privileged place in Nazi Europe.

Citron played by Mikkelsen starts out as the driver for Flame [Thure Lindhardt], a dedicated anti-Nazi, who is the designated assassin killing Danish Nazis and collaborators for the Holger Danske resistance movement. They work under orders from their shifty superior Aksel Winther, who might in fact  be the traitor within the network. The situation escalates when he gives orders to begin assassinating Germans, and also the femme fatale Ketty Selmer, played by Stine Stengade. We never know who is going to betray, or to be betrayed, as the film progresses to its violent end.

The effect of all the violence on us was mitigated by the setting of the Barn cinema on the beautiful Dartington Hall estate near Totnes , and an excellent post film dinner in the Great Hall. 
I could not help thinking as we had our meal how grateful I was for the location of English Channel, and the deeds of the RAF and Royal Navy during those years. The resistance movements in Occupied Europe were only very small minority of the population but they made up for that with extreme bravery and a necessary ruthlessness.