The Promised Land

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The Promised Land is a compelling and thought-provoking epic that takes us to 18th-century Denmark. We encounter a determined settler battling both the forces of nature and a sadistic nobleman.

The film is based on a novel by Ida Jessen and is inspired by real individuals and events, including Mads Mikkelsen's as the disgraced Captain Ludvig Kahlen. The excessively stubborn and steadfast Kahlen has one mission: to cultivate the challenging Jutland heath on behalf of the king. However, he soon faces brutal conflicts with estate manager Frederik de Schinkel, a power-hungry tyrant.

Director Nikolaj Arcel builds on elements from his own films, such as A Royal Affair, adding more intensity and excitement. The Promised Land not only explores the struggle against nature but also raises questions about the value of what nature provides in a time of widespread poverty. It depicts ruthless conditions, where significant class differences, poverty, racism, wretched working conditions, and discrimination against travelers are just some of the ingredients. The film also contains a considerable amount of brutality and violence, along with doses of western and revenge drama.

This film was selected by film critic Ida Madsen Hestman.


Nikolaj Arcel (b. 1972) is a Danish filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for A Royal Affair, which won two prizes at the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, as well as the American film The Dark Tower.


2017 The Dark Tower
2012 A Royal Affair
2007 Islands of Lost Souls
2004 King's Game

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