Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film
One of the few films nominated in the category for Best Foreign Language Film that I have actually been able to watch and while it is most definitely not easy viewing it certainly is compelling. The subject of the story is not a pleasant one – a teacher’s life comes to ruin at the tales of a young child.
I find myself fairly desensitized to many things played out in the movies but the subject of pedophilia still makes me uncomfortable every time, which I guess is a good thing. The Hunt however was the first time that I have ever felt uncomfortable witnessing the behaviors of the adults. I’m not explaining myself very well but the whole crux of The Hunt is that Lucas, a teacher at the local nursery school, is wrongly accused of indecent acts towards his best friend’s daughter, Klara. The behavior of the adults appalled me – they were so very quick to judge and make his life hell, turning him into a social pariah. The psychiatrist brought in to question Klara does so in an unprofessional way, often asking leading questions to an impressionable young child causing the destruction of an innocent man’s life.
Mads Mikkelsen as the unfortunate Lucas is compelling. He draws you to him and you really feel for him. There is a deep sadness to his performance and a vulnerability to him. And yet at the same time he has the strength to withstand one brutal humiliation after another.
Young Annika Wedderkopp, who plays little Klara, is wonderful and captivating. She says something in anger and yet even at the young age she is, realizes how wrong it was to say. On a number of occasions she says “I said something foolish but it isn’t true.” The problem is that non of the adults take anything she says after her initial accusation seriously. They all assume that she is telling the truth despite acknowledging the well-known fact of her vivid imagination. Now I’m not saying children should not be taken seriously in a situation like this because they absolutely should – it’s more a question of how the adults behave and react.
The Hunt really made me think about how situations like this are handled. And the adults didn’t some out of it that well at all. It also made me question how I would react if, god forbid, I ever found myself in that sort of situation. Like I say it wasn’t easy viewing but it was compelling and a film that made me think long and hard about some difficult concepts.