Tobias Lindholm Q&A: ‘A War’ director
In our recent webcam chat, Danish writer/director Tobias Lindholm reveals that the title of his Oscar-nominated film, “A War,” can be interpreted multiple ways. “It means it’s a war film but there’s a war going on at home at the same time. There’s a war in a courtroom." As he explains, "Basically I wanted it to not be too specific, but to relate to any war, and in this case the war in Afghanistan. But it could’ve been a conflict anywhere in the world where we could tell this exact story.”
This Best Foreign-Language Film nominee tells the story of an army commander (Pilou Asbaek) who, while under heavy fire, must make a snap decision to save his men, leading to a courtroom investigation back home which could have grave consequences for himself and his family.
On the surface the soldier’s action is the wrong one. However, Lindholm hopes the film will help audiences understand the gray-area of such a decision. “I want people to accept the complexity of war,” he says, “instead of trying to be simple. We live in a world now where we try to communicate with 140 characters on Twitter. It’s impossible to describe a truth in 140 characters. Let’s live with that instead of trying to understand the world in black-and-white. Let’s definitely try to look at all of the nuances.”
As for the Oscar nomination, Lindholm readily admits, “It’s the biggest thing we can achieve. We’re enjoying ever second of it now, and hopefully it will create a broader audience for our film.”
After co-writing the hugely successful television political drama "Borgen," he made his directorial debut in 2010 with "R," a gritty prison that he also co-wrote. That film won the Robert Award (the Danish equivalent of the Oscar) as did his second feature, "A Hijacking," about modern-day piracy. Among the films that the latter defeated was "A Royal Affair," which contended in this category at the Oscars in 2012. Lindholm also co-wrote Denmark's 2013 Oscar contender "The Hunt," a searing examination of a man accused of being a sexual predator.