Director Thomas Vinterberg wrote his script, originally a play, upon realizing many of the world's great historic feats were made by people regularly drunk.
Director Thomas Vinterberg wrote his script, originally a play, upon realizing many of the world's great historic feats were made by people regularly drunk.

'Raw' personal loss inspired Dark booze comedy

"Another Round," a film about a pact by four world-weary Danish schoolteachers to spend every day drunk for a loosely scientific "experiment," was always going to walk a fine line between comedy and darkness.

Director Thomas Vinterberg wrote his script, originally a play, upon realizing many of the world's great historic feats were made by people regularly intoxicated on alcohol -- the very same substance that can rip lives and families apart.

"The movie was always meant to be life-affirming and full of love, and bare to some extent... raw," Vinterberg told AFP in an interview via Zoom. 

Starring as the teachers are four of Vinterberg's close friends and collaborators, including former 007 villain Mads Mikkelsen, who all spent the shoot doing "everything they could to make me laugh in these circumstances."

While the film is clearly about alcohol, it is also "about living inspired, about forgetting about yourself, about being curious, and being in the moment and all that comes with drinking."

"There's an alarming bunch of people and countries who connected to this thing about drinking," joked Vinterberg.

"But it seems that the film connects on a different level, and hopefully we succeeded in elevating this film... to a movie about something more."

Humor is not always associated with Vinterberg, co-founder of the ascetic Dogme 95 filmmaking movement with Lars Von Trier, and director of movies tackling issues such as child abuse including "The Celebration" and "The Hunt." 

And while he has dabbled in Hollywood -- for instance 2015's "Far From the Madding Crowd" starring Carey Mulligan, also an Oscar nominee this year -- his most widely acclaimed films are often his most Danish and local.

The universal themes of "Another Round" may partly explain how Vinterberg landed one of just five Oscar best director nods, for a non-English-language film (fellow nominee Lee Isaac Chung's "Minari" is in Korean and English).

The director served his cast booze during rehearsals, and they watched Russian YouTube videos together to observe episodes of extreme inebriation.

On set, however, everyone was sober, Vinterberg said -- "they had to act, basically, which I think they did well."

But the movie itself deliberately "did not want to moralize" or "make an advertisement for alcohol," said Vinterberg.

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Originally published as 'Raw' personal loss inspired Vinterberg's Oscar-nominated dark booze comedy