It’s already won an Oscar and there’s a remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the works, but UK audiences haven’t been able to see Another Round until now thanks to delays because of the pandemic.
The Danish film, about a group of teachers who decide to test the theory that having a blood alcohol level of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed, has been a big hit since it premiered at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival, with a slew of award wins and a 92% approval rating on reviews site Rotten Tomatoes.
And despite the strange scheduling of international release dates meaning it’s taken a while to come to cinemas in the UK, director Thomas Vinterberg tells Sky News’ Backstage podcast he’s happy to still be promoting the movie.
“I had stopped talking about this film actually a while ago, it kind of peaked at the Oscars after a five-month stretch of talking about this movie,” he says. “But of course, it’s now opening in Britain and I’m back here talking about it again – it’s fine, I love the movie and I’m so proud of it. And I’m excited that it’s coming out in the UK now and in real cinemas, so that’s amazing.”
Another Round won the international feature film prize at the Academy Awards and Vinterberg himself was in the running for best director; he lost out to Chloe Zhao, who helmed the night’s big winner, Nomadland.
Accepting his award, Vinterberg gave an emotional speech in which he paid tribute to his daughter Ida, who was killed in a car crash just four days after Another Round had started shooting.
Later returning to the movie, which he partly shot at Ida’s school, he chose to make it more life-affirming.
“I hope that people will understand that this movie is not only about drinking, it’s a movie about living as opposed to just existing,” he says. “It’s a film that can feel liberating for people who have been living in confinement for a long time as well.”
There’s no doubt that watching a film about friends drinking alcohol with abandon strikes a chord for those who have been unable to socialise as usual because of coronavirus restrictions. But Vinterberg explains he’s not simply talking about lockdown when he references confinement.
“I do also think that there’s an element of confinement in our society already,” he says. “We live in a performance culture where everyone is constantly evaluated all over the place, all the time – your cell phone is going to measure how many steps you take, if you’re a journalist you’ll be told how many clicks your article gets and how long people stay per click, if you’re a student you’ll be evaluated at school and on social media 40, 50 times a day, and it creates a slightly oppressive element of self-awareness.
“This movie is rebelling against that. It’s a movie that celebrates elements of the uncontrollable, the inspired moment where you’re not necessarily a part of a plan or a strategy in life, where you allow yourself to [make] mistakes as an example, and that, to me, is even more important than a pandemic.”
Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as the central character, Martin, has been hailed by many, and Vinterberg says he hired the “best actors he could get” for the film.
But it’s now about to get the Hollywood treatment, with an English-language remake in the works after Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way bought the rights at auction.
As the film is so highly personal to Vinterberg and has already been so successful, it would not be surprising if he said he isn’t enthusiastic about it being remade with The Revenant and Wolf Of Wall Street star in the lead role, but that’s not the case.
“I’m very excited about it, I’m excited to see what they do with it, and I’m excited about Leonardo DiCaprio, of course,” he says. “I’m excited to see their interpretation of it. I did a film many years ago, centuries ago, called The Celebration, and it’s touring as a play all over the world and it has done ever since, and it’s been interesting to see how much people could get out of that same text.
“So I’m happy to pass it on to them and to see what happens when you add Leonardo DiCaprio, American culture, American drinking culture as opposed to ours, and see what they get out of it.”
Perhaps tellingly though, Vinterberg says he won’t be working on the remake.
“I’ll leave it with them,” he says. “I’m not going to be controlling the process.”
Another Round is out in cinemas in the UK now