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Anders Thomas Jensen’s feature film debut revolves around Torkild (Søren Pilmark) and his gang consisting of his friends Peter (Ulrich Thomsen), Arne (Mads Mikkelsen) and Stefan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) – all petty criminals.

Torkild, just turned 40, is in debt to another high-ranking criminal and needs to commit a burglary to get even. When he comes in possession of a suitcase containing four million, he and his gang decide to run away to Barcelona to create a better life for themselves. But they don’t get very far, and instead they end up in a worn-out cabin in the south of Jylland. The question is if the cabin is just a temporary hide-out, or a potential starting point for a new life on the right side of the law?

The film’s title is a reference to a poem from one of Denmark’s most famous writers, Tove Ditlevsen, about childhood. For Ditlevsen – and Jensen – childhood is essential for how a person’s life develops, as it is the stage when you get to know you own feelings. Through flashbacks, we experience glimpses of the childhoods of Torkild, Peter, Arne and Stefan, and grasually we understand how they ended up where they did.

The ensemble of actors established in Flickering Lights is the foundation of Anders Thomas Jensen’s later films, and it is amazing to see some of Denmark’s best actors play around in Jensen’s universe. Here, you have the chance to see Nikolaj Lie Kaas before he became Carl Mørck in the Department Q films, Sofie Gråbøl before she became known as Sarah Lund in The Killing and Mads Mikkelsen before everyone knew who Mads Mikkelsen was.

Johanne Svendsen Rognlien


Anders Thomas Jensen (b. 1972) is a Danish director and screenwriter known for films such as Flickering Lights (2000), The Green Butchers (2003), Adam’s Apples (2005) and Men & Chicken (2015). He received his international breakthrough with Election Night (1998), which won an Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1999. Jensen has written over 40 scripts for Danish short- and feature films, among other In a Better World (directed by Susanne Bier) which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011.

This film is part of

Portrait: Anders Thomas Jensen

Original title Blinkende Lygter

Country Denmark, Sweden

Year 2000

Director Anders Thomas Jensen

Screenplay Anders Thomas Jensen

Cinematography Eric Kress

Producer Kim Magnusson, Tivi Magnusson

Cast Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolai Lie Kaas, Sofie Gråbøl, Ulrich Thomsen, Søren Pilmark

Production Company M&M Productions, Danmarks Radio (DR), SVT Drama (co-prod)

Runtime 1h 49m

Language Danish

Subtitles English

Genre Humour

Age limit 15

Links IMDb

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