Film review: Another Round – binging on banality – screening online at European Film Festival (South Africa) -October 14 -24, 2021

What: Another Round, (Danish film), directed by Thomas Vinter
Available to view in South Africa: European Film Festival (South Africa) -October 14 -24, 2021
Tickets: No charge – tickets are free Access: The online screening of films are geo-blocked for viewing in South Africa only      

Another Round, a Danish film, directed by Thomas Vinterberg won the Oscar, this year [2021], for Best International Feature Film and in addition to that biggie, the film has nabbed about 40 other coveted prizes around the globe. It is screening from South Africa, on the European Film Festival [SA], until October 24, 2021. With the hype, I was amped to see this much-talked about feature. I am flummoxed that this film won over Quo Vadis Aida? –another the Oscar nominated film, 2021, screening on the European Film Festival. Read my review of Quo Vadis – a film which grapples with complicity, genocide, survival and how bad and evil endures and how people who could assist; look away; review:

Another Round [Druk in Danish – binge drinking] is about four school teachers who are bored and boring. To get themselves out of the rut of their humdrum existence of privilege and tedium in a Copenhagen gymnasium school (academically-oriented), dealing with bored but ambitious students; obnoxious parents and the banality of their domestic lives, they embark on a project- inspired by a theory by a psychiatrist. The theory posits that us humans are basically BAC challenged (blood alcohol deficient) and if we drink a certain amount, every day, then we will be more chilled, relaxed, creative and engaged. On the occasion of the milestone 40th birthday of friend, Nikolaj’s 40th birthday, they embark on their little project. Okay, so it is a mid-life crisis film. For a while things are great. They sneak booze, while teaching and get the better of the female alpha headmistress who gets off on emasculating them. Then, they increase in-take and things unravel. Are we supposed to applaud the fact that they bond in friendship and their own little clan – away from women and children and school? We must applaud the experiment? We should praise their boldness? Boring.

Plot spoiler alert. There is one tragic consequence of the experiment. Two of the friends are okay-ish and one is victorious.  It is nice to see “men’s emotional and inner lives” being dealt with on screen as we don’t see enough of that in the movies and yes men also have their issues. Applaud that. However, this film left me feeling nonplussed. It extols substance abuse. We don’t need that. It glamourizes guzzling booze.  I don’t see it as a cautionary tale, as it is punted by many but as a gratuitous wank. In the film, we are regaled with the fact that many famous people have imbibed on the job – such as Winston Churchill and Boris Johnson and the inference is that it makes them more alert, creative and on the ball. Well, bully for them.

Another Round is visually alluring (just let it all hang out and let go of your inhibitions, relax), with terrific ensemble acting but superb performances, taut script with pithy moments (nice writing, yes) and atmospheric cinematography is not enough for me. I live in South Africa, where we live in a complex and complicated society. The banality and boredom, depicted in this school in the film, and the milieu, leaves me shaking my head, baffled. Although, I must admit that if I lived in this environment, portrayed in this film, with a disengaged bunch of boring people, perhaps, I might also be driven to drink or find a diversion from the tedium around me. Copenhagen- come over to South Africa and you will not be bored.

Another Round. Pic: Henrik Ohsten. Supplied.

❇Featured image- still from Another Round, by Henrik Ohsten. Supplied.