Silent Heart

2014

  • Director: Bille August
  • Script:
  • Cinematographer:

Only eight directors have won the Palme d’Or more than once. Danish director Bille August is one of them.

Silent Heart had its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival where it received a standing ovation.

He won for the Danish-Swedish film Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and the Swedish film The Best Intentions (1992). He then worked internationally before returning to Denmark and SF Studios for his first Danish film in 25 years – Marie Krøyer (2012). Two years later he directed another Danish film for SF Studios, Silent Heart (2014), which became a resounding critical and commercial success.

Silent Heart is about three generations that gather in the family home over a weekend. Sisters Sanne (Danica Curcic) and Heidi (Paprika Steen) have accepted that their sick mother Esther (Ghita Nørby) wishes to die before her illness worsens. However, as the weekend progresses things become increasingly difficult to handle and old conflicts rise to the surface. The cast also includes Morten Grunwald, Jens Albinus and Pilou Asbæk.

Ghita Nørby, who plays Esther, is one of the foremost actresses in the Nordic countries. She’s been active in films since 1956 and has appeared in a wide range of film and TV productions including comedies such as The Dear Family (1962), successful series like Matador (1978–1982) and dramas including The Best Intentions (1992) and Jan Troell’s Hamsun (1996). She’s won an impressive number of awards: five Bodil Awards (presented by the Danish Film Critics Association), four Robert Awards (presented by the Danish Film Academy), and two Guldbagge Awards (presented by the Swedish Film Institute).

Silent Heart had its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival where it received a standing ovation and Paprika Steen won the prize for Best Actress. At the Bodil Awards, the film was nominated in six categories and won for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Pilou Asbæk) and Best Supporting Actress (Danica Curcic). The film was nominated for 12 Robert Awards, with Danica Curcic winning for Best Supporting Actress.

The drama sold 261,152 cinema tickets in Denmark and was sold to the USA. An American remake, Blackbird, is due to be released in 2019, directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Venus) and starring Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, Mia Wasikowska, Sam Neill and Lindsay Duncan.