AUSTIN NORDIC FILM FESTIVAL 2011
By Don Simpson | February 22, 2011
Director: Martin de Thurah
Writers: Jannik Tai Mosholt, Sanne Munk Jensen, Martin de Thurah
Starring: Claus Flygare, Coco Hjardemaal, Tobias Mikkel Jørgensen, Kian Nyby-Knudsen, Ilmo Simonsen
Society has given up, crumbling into a post-apocalyptic state of hopeless disrepair. Adam (Tobias Mikkel Jørgensen) is one of a handful of children left behind with one adult — the children’s teacher, Carlo (Claus Flygare) — after everyone else abandoned the city. It is not long before Carlo contracts “the disease” as well; his blood turns grey, he becomes emotionless and lifeless. Carlo abandons the city, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
After Carlo’s departure, Adam is intent on not allowing this story evolve into a state of anarchy and mayhem. Instead of quarantining his friend Ida (Coco Hjardemaal), who contracts the disease from Carlo, Adam chooses to prove to Ida and the other remaining children that the city is a place worth living.
Danish director Martin de Thurah’s 25-minute narrative from 2008 truly deserves to be fully fleshed-out as a feature length film. Even within its all too brief run time, de Thurah is able to ruminate thoughtfully and intelligently on the current state of the world; first and foremost on the fear, negativity and hate that over-saturates our lives. We have become a legion of zombies, just going through the motions while the world seems to collapse around us. Political and civil unrest, a constant state of war, economic collapses, cultural genocides, climate change…the list is endless. What is there to be happy about? Who is going to show us that this planet is a place worth living? Who would have suspected that this modest modern day Lord of the Flies would actually be such a profound social critique of our world?
And thanks to Rasmus Videbæk’s breathtakingly luscious cinematography, We Who Stayed Behind is not just brain candy, it is eye candy too. But let us give the real credit where credit is due, We Who Stayed Behind would be nothing without Jørgensen and Hjardemaal’s masterful performances.