The Promised Land

  • 127'
  • Denmark
  • 2023

Denmark, mid-eighteenth century. With the begrudging approval of the royal court, retired captain and social outcast Ludvig Kahlen sets out to the barren plains of Jutland, hoping to turn it into arable territory and secure wealth and honour for himself. However to achieve his goal, he must overcome the cold-blooded landlord Frederik De Schinkel, who sees Kahlen as a trespasser on his domain.  

Emotional gravitas meets remarkable narrative nimbleness in Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel’s stirring period epic The Promised Land. The drama unfolds at a brisk pace, with an inner necessity that draws it inexorably towards a devastating conclusion. Adapted from Ida Jessen’s 2011 novel The Captain and Ann Barbara, this widescreen spectacle is powered by Mads Mikkelsen as a tenacious, resourceful pioneer whose unshakeable allegiance is to the crown, but whose motivations are all personal.  

While resembling a Western in its theme of civilisation wrought from the wilderness, Arcel’s film examines more intricate class and gender politics. Civilisation here appears both as a source of unbridled tyranny and an ideal to be constantly re-established through individual enterprise. Exploring the outer reaches of the Old World, The Promised Land offers a sweeping historical saga with a pointedly tragic undertone.   

– Srikanth Srinivasan

  • 127'
  • Denmark
  • 2023
Director
Nikolaj Arcel
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country of production
Denmark
Year
2023
Festival Edition
IFFR 2024
Length
127'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Bastarden
Language
Danish
Producer
Louise Vesth
Production Company
Zentropa Entertainment
Sales
TrustNordisk
Screenplay
Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
Cinematography
Rasmus Videbaek
Editor
Olivier Bugge Coutté
Production Design
Jette Lehmann
Sound Design
Claus Lynge, Hans-Christian Schmid
Music
Dan Romer
Cast
Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Kristine Thorp, Gustav Lindh
Local Distributor
September Film
Director
Nikolaj Arcel
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country of production
Denmark
Year
2023
Festival Edition
IFFR 2024
Length
127'
Medium
DCP
Original title
Bastarden
Language
Danish
Producer
Louise Vesth
Production Company
Zentropa Entertainment
Sales
TrustNordisk
Screenplay
Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
Cinematography
Rasmus Videbaek
Editor
Olivier Bugge Coutté
Production Design
Jette Lehmann
Sound Design
Claus Lynge, Hans-Christian Schmid
Music
Dan Romer
Cast
Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg, Kristine Thorp, Gustav Lindh
Local Distributor
September Film