Tobias Lindholm’s tense drama about decisions on and off the battlefield scored an Oscar nomination last week in the Best Foreign Language Film category as it preps for Stateside release on February 12. Magnolia Pictures has domestic rights. A War debuted to a lengthy standing ovation in the Horizons section at Venice this fall and later played the Zurich and Zagreb festivals. Check out the new trailer above.
Lindholm, whose directing credits include R and A Hijacking, also wrote the script about a determined Danish company commander in Afghanistan (frequent collaborator Pilou Asbaek) who makes an instinctive decision with unforeseen consequences. When he returns home, he is put on trial for a war crime. The first part of the drama segues from the battlefield back to the officer’s home in Denmark where his wife is managing a household with three kids. The action then moves to the courtroom as the trailer above shows.
The inspiration for the film, Lindholm has told me, was drawn from an interview he came across with a Danish officer on his third tour in Afghanistan. He wasn’t afraid of getting killed, but he was afraid of being prosecuted when he got back home “because of the constantly changing and complex rules of engagement.” Lindholm also has three kids, so that was the familiar part to write: “I know how my wife struggles when I’m away and how I struggle when she is away; adding that the other parent is away at war instead of on business or pleasure just makes everything so dramatic.”
Lindholm is a fast-rising talent who will next pen Paul Greengrass’ The Tunnels. Often working with Thomas Vinterberg, he co-scripted the director’s 2012 Oscar nominee The Hunt and his upcoming The Commune which premieres in Berlin next month.