May 2013 - Festival de Cannes

Kristian Levring in the Wild West

By Freja Dam

Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green star in Kristian Levring’s upcoming western The Salvation.

A rarity in Denmark, westerns haven’t been made in feature-film form since the so-called potato western parodies of the 1970s. Now, Kristian Levring and Zentropa are taking a serious stab at the genre in their lavish The Salvation, which recently started shooting in South Africa. Paying homage to classic westerns and taking inspiration from the Nordic sagas, The Salvation is an epic tale of broken dreams, wrecked love and revenge.

The film is set in the American West in the 1870s. When the Danish settler John (Mads Mikkelsen) kills the man who murdered his family, he unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader, Delarue. Betrayed by his corrupt and cowardly community, the peace-loving pioneer must turn vengeful hunter, slay the outlaws and cleanse the town’s black heart.

Director Kristian Levring was one of the four original Dogme brothers. His Dogme film The King Is Alive premiered at Cannes 2000 in Un Certain Regard, while his latest film Fear Me Not (2009) played at festivals including San Sebastian and Toronto. Alongside his features, Levring has a successful career as a commercials director based in London.

The cast includes Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mikael Persbrandt, Jonathan Pryce, Eric Cantona, Michael Raymond-James and Nanna Fabricius Øland (the Danish singer known as Oh Land). The film is mainly in English, with occasional Danish.

Levring is reteaming with co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen and producer Sisse Graum Jørgensen from his last feature Fear Me Not, both regulars on Susanne Bier’s films over the last decade.

Danish release is set for October 2014.

The Salvation. Photo: Patrick Toselli

Last year’s winner of Best Actor in Cannes Mads Mikkelsen once again stars in a Competition film, in the title role of Arnaud des Pallières’ French-German production Michael Kohlhaas.

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