SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – ERNA AT WAR

Rating: MA15+
Length: 106 mins
Cast: Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Anders W. Berthelsen

Two of Denmark’s finest actors, Trine Dyrholm (Queen of Hearts, SFF 2019) and Ulrich Thomsen (Festen), star in this tense, unconventional WWI drama about a mother who poses as a soldier.

In 1918, the last year of the Great War, Danes of Southern Jutland are being conscripted into the German army. Dyrholm plays single mother Erna Jensen. When her 17-year-old son Kalle, who is unfit for service, is drafted to join the fight, Erna disguises herself as Private Julius Rasmussen to follow and protect him. As troops begin to realise Julius is not who he appears to be, heading to the Western Front becomes the least of concerns. The Danes have no allegiance to Germany – and so director Henrik Ruben Genz opts to focus on his characters’ internal battles and scars. Dyrholm’s performance is complemented by the talented ensemble cast, and she brings unexpected warmth to the cold trenches.