Athlone Film Club screens the captivating Danish World War II epic

Continuing its successful third season, Athlone Film Club transports audiences to World War II-era Copenhagen where two men put everything on the line in their fight against the Nazis.

Flame and Citron (2008 ) directed by Ole Christian Madsen will be screened on Tuesday October 13 at 8pm in the Dean Crowe Theatre and Arts Centre, Athlone.

It is a captivating, engrossing, and character-driven thriller filled with solid performances along with palpable suspense, intensity, and intrigue.

The heroes of this epic, about the Danish resistance against Nazi occupation, are Bent (Thure Lindhard ) and Jørgen (Mads Mikkelsen ), better known in Denmark by their code names Flame and Citron. As the key assassins for the resistance, they were responsible for eliminating dozens of Danish collaborators and, eventually, Nazi officers. But as Madsen shows, Flame and Citron were not conventional heroic types, nor were their actions as clear-cut as several generations of Danes believed.

Inspired in part by Jean-Pierre Melville’s legendary L’Armée des Ombres, Flame and Citron is based on the premise that those who defied the Nazis lived on the margins, the kind of people who were looked down upon before the war and had absolutely nothing to lose. Flame (a reference to his blazing red hair ) is at the very least a sociopath. He enjoys – possibly relishes – killing. Citron is a wounded, morose and completely unemployable alcoholic and addict.

As his wife tells him at a dismal birthday party for their young daughter, he wasn’t much of a husband before the war either.

The other principals are Hoffman (Christian Berkel ), a leader in the Gestapo; Aksel Winther (Peter Mygind ), the Resistance leader who gives the duo their marching orders; and Ketty Selmer (Stine Stengade ), with whom Flame is in love even though both he and Citron are suspicious of her. None of these relationships are exactly transparent, however, and the political situation encourages all manner of treachery and realpolitik.

As we now know, many of the heroic tales about World War II were myths. Shady deals were made and rampant profiteering was common, frequently at high levels of government.

Trenchant and relevant (the film evokes numerous parallels to the current situation in Iraq ), Flame and Citron is courageous, complex, and gripping, and has already become one of the highest-grossing pictures in Danish film history.

You can sign up as a full member of the film club for only €40. Couple membership is €65, while students and OAP membership is €30. Temporary membership for the night is only €7. This includes a complimentary wine reception in the Dean Crowe Theatre Bar at 7.30pm before each screening.

Further information is available at the club website www.athlonefilmclub.com or email [email protected].

 

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