Story of a blunder and immersion in the daily life of a police duo, “Shorta” plunges the viewer into the harsh reality of Danish streets. A brutal film placed under the patronage of Mathieu Kassovitz and Nicolas Winding Refn.
AlloCine: Shorta is it based on a true story?
Anders Ølholm: No. The main plot of the story is completely fictional. But the beginning of the film, the act of police brutality that sets the story in motion, was inspired by a famous Danish case called The Benjamin Affair, where a young man was suffocated by cops, which caused him huge brain damage. He fell into a coma, from which he never came out. His last words were strangely like those of Eric Garner and George Floyd. The way Shorta’s opening scene reflects recent events in the United States is both tragic and very disheartening. It makes you think that nothing will ever change. But Shorta is a hopeful story. Some might perceive it as a little dark, that’s not the way I see it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to walk through a lot of darkness to get there.
Frederik Louis Hviid: I think it’s more truthful than based on something true. The mechanisms that trigger the clash between the police and the young men of Svalegården are very much inspired by situations that occur all over the world. Not one in particular. Prejudice and institutionalized racism is not something that we invented at all – but something that we felt was important to address in order to tell this story.
Denmark is a big country for detective films and film noir. How do you explain it?
Anders Ølholm: Yes, we have a long tradition of making this type of TV series and film. Sweden especially. Nordic Noir is often very moody and atmospheric, and I guess that goes along with our gloomy Scandinavian climate.
You have American references … and French! Is Mathieu Kassovitz one of the directors who influenced you a lot?
Anders Ølholm: Hate is a huge influence. The impact that this film had on me, when I first saw it, was immense. The only other movie that had this effect on me was Pusher. Hatred is so powerful. The story, the performances, the shooting. You remember it as this very raw movie, but it actually has a very deliberate, stylized, cinematic aesthetic and is directed with a huge amount of intent – Much like the Spike Lee films, which has an obvious influence on Kassovitz. (and U.S). A lot of thought went into each frame of the film, and it’s something that inspired us a lot. So much so that Shorta pays homage to La Haine with a mural in the background in a scene.
Frederik Louis Hviid: La Haine et Pusher are also essential films for me. But there are so many amazing cinematic experiences to find inspiration in, and we turned to many of our all-time favorites when making Shorta. We’ve talked a lot about movies like Saving Private Ryan, The French Connection and Son of Saul to name a few. It was very important for us to make the kind of film ourselves that we would like to see in theaters – told in our own way and with our personal imprint of course.
Is it easy or difficult to work with another director? How did you distribute the tasks?
Anders Ølholm: Both. It can be very difficult when egos clash, but it can also be a great gift. Our collaboration relied a lot on trust and preparation. We’re both very methodical and made an effort to dissect every aspect of the film – both in terms of the visuals and the dramaturgy, so we knew that by heart and focused on what was important, what that we wanted to do. achieve and how we wanted to achieve it. We know each other very well and generally see things very similarly – especially after working together for so many years. At the same time, we also try to use our differences to constantly challenge the material and each other. And it’s also the differences that make us complement each other quite well on set.
Frederik Louis Hviid: Making a film is difficult, no matter who you are and who you work with, but you …