A Soap (2006)
_Winner: Best Debut Film and the Jury Grand Prix Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006
Winner: Bodil Best Danish Film of the Year and Best Actress (Trine Dyrholm) 2007_
About the Film
A brash beauty salon owner Christine (Trine Dyrholm) moves into a new apartment after abruptly splitting with her abusive boyfriend. Her new next door neighbor Veronica (David Dencik) is a shy, reclusive pre-op transgender woman who makes ends by turning tricks, usually fulfilling strange sexual fantasies for lonely men. Apart from these encounters and hovering over her mailbox, waiting for news on her pending operation, Veronica spends her days watching melodramatic soap operas.
While Christine initially pushes Veronica away (sometimes in a very hurtful fashion), the two eventually begin to lean on each other and develop an unusual and deep relationship.
Although not formally a Dogme 95 film, A SOAP does draw inspiration from the movement: minimal locations, hand-held camera work, natural sound and light and a tight focus on story and performances.
About director Pernille Fischer Christensen
From 1995 - 1999, Pernille Fischer Christensen attended the National Film School of Denmark, where she met her muse and collaborator on A SOAP, acclaimed actress Trine Dyrholm. Christensen has now featured Dyrholm in five of her features.
Into the early 2000s, she garnered acclaim with her short films. Her 1999 film INDIEN was in competition at Cannes, and her 2003 short HABIBTI MY LOVE won the best Danish short film, teeing up her directorial feature debut A SOAP in 2006.
Besides Dyrholm, A SOAP introduced another longtime collaborator, Christensen’s co-writer Kim Fupz Aakesson. When A SOAP was being developed, Aakesson was already a well-established sceenwriter. During their collaboration on A SOAP, the two fell in love, have co-written all of Dyrholm’s feature films together, and remain partners today.
Christensen tells personal stories focusing primarily on wounded or broken people and their journey to move forward in their lives. Although rooted in tragedy, her films do usually exude hope and positivity for the road ahead. Christensen is also famous for collaborating with her actors and teams, and giving way to spontaneity and improvisation to influence the final story.
In Jan Lumholdt’s 2018 feature on Pernille Fischer Christensen, she offers an example of this process:
In SOMEONE YOU LOVE, written specifically for Swedish actor Michael Persbrandt, his own quite wild lifestyle becomes a central part of the character: the party-exhausted rock star. In Persbrandts’ memoirs, he talks of how even a very personal and difficult relapse during the shoot was used by the director to find the right spark.
Pernille Fischer Christensen is an extraordinary Danish filmmaker and storyteller. We hope that you enjoy her debut feature A SOAP on Alamo on Demand. Come back soon as we will continue to add additional titles from her filmography as well as other amazing Danish stories as we continue this year-long exploration. Enjoy!
DirectorPernille Fischer Christensen