Every Lone Scherfig Movie Ranked
Back in the mid-1990s, a group of Danish directors decided to start a new movement in filmmaking. Referred to as Dogme 95, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg established a set of specific rules that members of the movement had to abide by when directing a film. Shooting had to be done on location, any music or sound had to come from the scene and not post-production, the camera had to be handheld, the film had to be in color, contain no superficial action, take place in present day, and the director could not be credited. Eventually, more directors joined in the movement — Lone Scherfig being one of them. She leapt onto the scene in 2000 with her debut feature, but the Dogme 95 movement was already halfway over at that point. By the time she got around to her third film, the movement had ended (but many of the techniques carried over into future films). Now, as she prepares to release her seventh film, it’s worth taking a look back at the rest of her filmography so far.
Scherfig’s 2009 coming-of-age drama is by far her best work so far — this was made abundantly clear when she received three Academy Award nominations for the film. Based on a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber and written by the ever-pleasant Nick Hornby, the movie is an excellent vehicle for star Carey Mulligan and director Lone Scherfig, as well. She’s a very refined director, which is a style that works perfectly with the subject matter.
Italian for Beginners
Lone Scherfig’s feature film debut—her film that most meticulously obeys the rules of Dogme 95 — is one of the best to come from the director and one of the best to come from the movement as a whole. It’s sly and witty and empathetic all in one, which makes for a really interesting watch compared to some of the other very grim Dogme 95 films.
A charming and sentimental World War II film (two words that one wouldn’t often use to describe World War II), 2016’s Their Finest proves that Scherfig has moved on from being one of the best voices of Dogme 95 to one of the best voices in European filmmaking, period. It’s a romantic and empowering film, full of good laughs and deep emotions that hit the viewer hard. Scherfig really knows how to make a good film, and it helps that many of her films feature a strong cast like this one.
With Anne Hathaway at the front and center of your film, it’s hard not to end up with a competent film. Critics were a little divided on this one upon its release, but hindsight reveals that both Hathaway and Scherfig are capable of a misstep or two. It’s an okay film, far from her worst (but far from her best, as well).
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
Scherfig’s 2002 film is more in line with the themes of Dogme 95: it’s dark and comedic at the same time, with its demented plot line providing plenty of entertaining scenes (and its uneven pacing leaving much to be desired). She was definitely still coming into her own at this point in her career, but that’s barely an excuse considering how good her debut feature is.
The Riot Club
Based on a play called Posh, Scherfig’s The Riot Club follows a group of boys at the University of Oxford and their privileged and shocking debauchery over the course of their first year at college (or uni, as they call it in the UK). It’s interesting: a film with subject matter like this one seems straight out of the Dogme 95 movement, even though the movement ended long before. Still, maybe that’s what’s wrong with The Riot Club: it’s too dated and misinformed for its own good.
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