4 user 4 critic

Tree of Knowledge (1981)

Kundskabens træ (original title)
We follow the Danish students in a class at Århus Katedralskole late 1950s, from age 13 till 16.


Nils Malmros


Nils Malmros, Frederick Cryer (as Fred. Cryer)
2 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Eva Gram Schjoldager Eva Gram Schjoldager ... Elin / student (as Eva Gram Scholdager)
Jan Johansen Jan Johansen ... Niels / student
Line Arlien-Søborg Line Arlien-Søborg ... Anne-Mette / student
Marian Wendelbo Marian Wendelbo ... Elsebeth
Gitte Iben Andersen Gitte Iben Andersen ... Lene / student
Lone Elliot Lone Elliot ... Majbrit / student
Astrid Holm Jensen Astrid Holm Jensen ... Ina
Brian Theibel Brian Theibel ... Willy / student
Bo von Der Lippe Bo von Der Lippe ... Jørn / student
Marin Lysholm Jepsen Marin Lysholm Jepsen ... Helge / student
Morten Nautrup Morten Nautrup ... Flemming
Anders Ørgård Anders Ørgård ... Gert / student (as Anders Ørgaard)
Dan Rørmand Brøgger Dan Rørmand Brøgger ... Torkild
Lars Spang Kjeldsen Lars Spang Kjeldsen ... Søren / student
Nicolaj Flensborg Nicolaj Flensborg ... Kaj


End of the 50s in Aarhus, Denmark, the story of a group of children from the 7th to the 9th grade. What they experience are not the grand dramas of life, but the events they do experience affect them more powerfully than at any other time in their lives. The film centers around Elin, the prettiest and most mature girl in the class. She plays on these advantages more or less unconsciously. It makes the girls jealous and the boys unsure. Therefore she becomes the scapegoat for their unresolved sexual awareness. For Elin, this being frozen out of the once happy circle becomes a tragedy, also on account of being totally misunderstood by her old-fashioned parents. The other main character is Niels-Ole, the leading boy in the class, who arouses indignation by rejecting girls in his own class in favor of the younger and prettier girl, Majbritt. At the same time, this film is a light-hearted yet serious account of the beautiful difficult years between childhood and youth, based on the ...

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Did You Know?


At Anne Mette's party, where the youngsters decide to dance in the dark, some books (Politiken's History of Denmark) can be seen on the shelf. The party takes place in 1958. The books were published from 1962-1966 See more »


Referenced in The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche Part 1 (2007) See more »

User Reviews

Unknown Danish masterpiece
15 November 2005 | by VanihmSee all my reviews

This film is the most shrewd and insightful film about puberty I have ever seen - and one of the best films I have ever seen period. It follows a group of Aarhus schoolchildren from the age of 13-15 in 1958-60. The film notices all the small details, the internal power struggles and the growing sexuality of young teens. Much like Heavenly Creatures the film shows the "wonders" of growing up as both beautiful and frightful at the same time. Anyone regardless of nationality can recognise the conflicts and small dramas depicted here. After seeing it I felt as if Malmros had had a crystal ball and looked into the youth of everyone on the planet. Despite the fact that it is filmed in a hyper realistic, almost documentary, style, Malmros manages to fill add dramatic effects through music and background effects to effectively heighten the drama. The last ten minutes of the film builds up tension to the (completely unpredictable, but inevitable) climax and the striking power of the movie's ending sticks with you for hours after the film is over. I truly hope some distributor picks this up for a DVD release internationally - it is too big a masterpiece to be hidden away in Denmark (check out the external reviews if you want more proof)

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Official Sites:

Official site [Denmark]





Release Date:

November 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Baum der Erkenntnis See more »

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