Films & Schedules

  • Flame & Citron
    Flammen & Citronen

  • Ole Christian Madsen

Danish, German
130 minutes

Production Company:
Nimbus Film II APS/ Wüste Filmproduktion/Studio Babelsberg AG/Wüste Film Ost OHG/ OC Film/Sirena Film/Duckling AS/Mainstream APS/ Kameraudlejningen APS/41/2
Lars Bredo Rahbek
Lars K. Andersen, Ole Christian Madsen
Production Designer:
Jette Lehmann
Jørgen Johansson
Søren B. Ebbe
Hans Møller
Karsten Fundal
Principal Cast: Thure Lindhardt, Mads Mikkelsen, Stine Stengade, Christian Berkel, Hanns Zischler, Peter Muggind

International Sales Agent:
The Match Factory

Saturday September 0606:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
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Ole Christian Madsen returns to the Festival with a work radically different in scope than those Toronto audiences remember him for. Unlike his intimate domestic dramas Kira's Reason and Prague, Flame & Citron is a sprawling World War II epic about the Danish resistance against Nazi occupation. In terms of sensibility, however, the film is very much in harmony with Madsen's earlier work, driven by his fine-tuned awareness of uncomfortable truths, deceit and betrayal.

His heroes are Bent (Thure Lindhart) and Jørgen (Mads Mikkelsen), better known in Denmark by their code names Flame and Citron. As the key assassins for the Resistance, they were responsible for eliminating dozens of Danish collaborators and, eventually, Nazi officers. But as Madsen shows, Flame and Citron were not conventional heroic types, nor were their actions as clear-cut as several generations of Danes believed.

Inspired in part byJean-Pierre Melville's legendary L'Armée des ombres, Flame & Citron is based on the premise that those who defied the Nazis lived on the margins, the kind of people who were looked down upon before the war and had absolutely nothing to lose. Flame (a reference to his blazing red hair) is at the very least a sociopath. He enjoys – possibly relishes – killing. Citron is a wounded, morose and completely unemployable alcoholic and addict. As his wife tells him at a dismal birthday party for their young daughter, he wasn't much of a husband before the war either.

The other principals are Hoffman (Christian Berkel), a leader in the Gestapo; Aksel Winther (Peter Mygind), the Resistance leader who gives the duo their marching orders; and Ketty Selmer (Stine Stengade), with whom Flame is in love even though both he and Citron are suspicious of her. None of these relationships is exactly transparent, however, and the political situation encourages all manner of treachery and realpolitik.

As we now know, many of the heroic tales about World War II were myths. Shady deals were made and rampant profiteering was common, frequently at high levels of government. Trenchant and relevant (the film evokes numerous parallels to the current situation in Iraq), Flame & Citron is courageous, complex and gripping, and has already become one of the highest-grossing pictures in Danish film history.

Steve Gravestock

Ole Christian Madsen was born in Roskilde, Denmark, and studied directing at the National Film School of Denmark. He made his feature debut with Pizza King (99). His second feature, Kira's Reason – A Love Story (01), screened as part of the Festival's Nordic Visions programme in 2001. His other feature films are Prague (06) and Flame & Citron (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award