The 2012 psychological drama The Hunt won the Bodil Award for Best Danish Film.
The film, at first glance, tells a small life story that could happen in any of the cities of our planet. The film tells about the man Lucas, whose role was played by the talented actor Mads Mikkelsen. This is a middle-aged man who has devoted his life to children and works as a teacher in a kindergarten. Recently, the main character was forced to divorce his wife, which is why their common son, teenager Marcus, is currently suffering. His role was played by Lasse Vogelström. A young man is having a hard time with the divorce of his relatives and wants to live with his father, despite the fact that he works in a low-paid low-prestige job.
One of Lucas’ pupils, little Clara, played by Annika Wedderkopp, began to feel sympathy for her teacher Lucas. One day, catching the protagonist of the film by surprise when he was playing with the boys, she ran up to him and kissed him on the lips. Then she puts a sheet of paper in his pocket, in which a plastic heart is wrapped. Lucas takes the girl aside and kindly explains to her that it is unacceptable to do so, since only mom and dad can kiss on the lips, and it is appropriate to give such gifts to one of the boys of her age.
Unfortunately, the young child takes Lucas’ reaction very negatively and, feeling rejected, decides to take revenge on him. Under the influence of adult photographs that her older brother showed her, she decides to slander her teacher, accusing him of obscene harassment. She tells her story to the kindergarten director Grete, played by Susse Wold. Greta is extremely indignant, she is overwhelmed with indignation and she not only tells Clara’s parents about what happened, but also makes it public, telling the fathers and mothers of other children who attend this kindergarten about what happened. Without any evidence of Lucas’s guilt, a group of adults immediately take the side of the offended girl and begin to persecute him.
Despite the fact that even the court acquitted the unfortunate man, most of the town began to treat him with hatred. Over time, their dislike began to be expressed in action. Either they break Lucas’s window with a stone, or they throw the corpse of a dog at the entrance to the dwelling, or they severely beat him in a supermarket and throw him out into the street when he just came to buy food.
In the end, the girl confesses that she slandered her teacher and that he did not in any way harass her. After that, her father, Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), who was on friendly terms with Lucas before the whole story, comes to him to reconcile. Further, events are shown a year later, when the men who have restored friendly relations spend time together hunting in the forest. At this moment, an unknown person tries to kill Lucas with a shot from a gun, but misses, after which he hides in the depths of the forest thicket.
The meaning of the film
The idea of the author was to visually show the spirit of parenthood paranoia. The talented director Thomas Vinterberg managed to convey the aggressive and fanatical state that frightened parents often fall into. The picture clearly shows how such blind aggression can be detrimental and that it is extremely difficult to get rid of it even after the passage of time.
Characteristics of heroes
Despite the behavior of many people in the picture, there are no unambiguously negative characters in it.
- Lucas is a sincere man who loves children more than anything. He is biblically ready to turn the other cheek for a blow if he is hit. Unfortunately, his gentleness and patience do not help to avert human hatred and thirst for revenge.
- Clara in this story is a spoiled girl who, due to her age, does not anticipate possible consequences. At the same time, she did not directly say that the man molested her, for the most part, this topic was developed by the adults themselves, asking her provocative questions.
- Director Greta notifies her parents out of good intentions and because of her emotionality, because she worries about the children and does not know, what if Lucas harassed not only Clara.
- Theo, her father, is also a good person who only made the mistake of knowing his daughter well. Despite the fact that he was friends with Lucas for many years, he did not try to understand the situation, but blindly accepted the words of his daughter as an irrefutable truth.
“The Hunt” may seem difficult to watch in places for some, but it also perfectly demonstrates the behavior of people that anyone can encounter. It’s an honest film that you can trust.