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DK/USA: Danish Filmmakers Look at Our America

Since 1980, the Danish Film Institute and the Danish Film Workshop have actively supported the work of Danish film and video makers. Workshops held throughout Denmark each year seek out and encourage the creation of independent work. For some reason, Danish documentary filmmakers have produced a number of titles that take as their subject Americans and the United States. The films in this series look at our American landscapes and communities from a distinctly Danish point of view, challenging our assumptions about America.

Special Thanks to Anne Marie Kurstein and Annette Lønvang of the Danish Film Institute and Elisabeth Kolstrup of the Consulate General of Denmark for making this series possible.


February 4 (Friday) 7 pm

Under New York

Directed by Jacob Thuesen
Denmark 1996, 35mm, color, 50 min.

A Danish film crew follows two New Yorkers through the subways of New York City. Steve, a former homeowner and husband, now homeless, spends his nights sleeping in New York’s subway tunnels. Terry spends his days as a Transit Authority Policeman evicting the homeless from the subways and his nights entertaining his fellow New Yorkers as a standup comic. This compassionate yet clear-eyed film takes us on a tour through the survival skills and sense of humor that are requirements for living in the Big Apple.

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February 4 (Friday) 7 pm

By the Dawn's Early Light

Directed by Knud Vesterkov
Denmark 1993, 35mm, color, 77 min.

The prolific Knud Vesterkov has created more than thirty independent films and videos, almost all of them focusing on issues of gay culture. Here he creates a vision of America based on the celebrated work of New York writer and painter David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1991. As William Burroughs noted, "David Wojnarowicz has caught the age-old voice of the road, the voice of the traveler, the outcast, the thief, the whore, the same voice that was heard in Villon’s Paris and the Rome of Petronius."

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February 5 (Saturday) 7 pm

66 Scenes from America

Directed by Jorgen Leth
Denmark 1994, 16mm, color, 42 min.

Combining Dan Holmberg’s poetic cinematography with his own intense curiosity about everything American, director Jorgen Leth gives us a Whitmanesque ode to American workers and American spaces. Images of the Danish rocker Kim Larsen singing on a rooftop in New York City contrast with Andy Warhol carefully eating a Whopper hamburger. The filmmaker convincingly demonstrates that the essence of America can be found in something as simple as how we mix a Martini or eat potatoes and peas.


February 5 (Saturday) 7 pm

Lisanak Hosanok Insonto Sanak

Directed by Karin Westerlund
Denmark 1992, video, color, 3 min.

Karin Westerlund’s first feature was selected for Un Certain Regard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Lisanak Hosanok describes her breakup with her American boyfriend.

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February 5 (Saturday) 7 pm

Haiti Untitled

Directed by Jorgen Leth
Denmark 1996, 35mm, color, 85 min.

An American Army sergeant, a New York photographer, and Jesse Jackson struggle to maintain their bearings during the U.S. effort to return Haiti’s president Aristide to power in 1994. The film takes a fascinating look at how American political problem solving and good will are brought to a grinding halt amidst the complex realities of contemporary Haitian politics. The funeral scene is something not to be missed. 

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