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Denmark, strictly geographically, doesn't belong to Scandinavia, but only to Northern Europe. However, the language, the history, the culture, the mentality of people and so many other things are so similar to Norwegians and Swedes that many of us simply ignore Kattegat and Skagerrak who divide Denmark and Sweden, and include the former in Scandinavian group of countries (as well as Finland, what is also wrong).
And, as for the movies, there hasn't been a great difference which of these countries they came from. Many directors and actors haven't been limited to their own cinematography. Co-productions were and still are usual, common way of making movies. And their movies, no matter which country was main in production, have always been recognizable, different from the rest of Europe, let alone America. Usually this different was equal to better, especially in some genres like dramas (particularly social and political ones) or family movies. Russian, Czech or French authors when inspired could reach them in movies about children, but Scandinavian movies always kept high standards.
However, about a decade ago Danish movies started to change. Their northern neighbors kept their originality, style, quality, courage and still make movies like Ikke naken, Misa mi, Före stormen, but Danish directors seem to turn their eyes to west, across the Atlantic. It looks as if they make movies for American market (hoping for a call to follow Lasse Halström). Klatretosen was a typical example: an adventure being far beyond believable, children making successfully things that adults don't even try to do, everything so clean to pass American censorship, speed of the action being the most important content in making the plot... As if made by authors of Goonies, Spy Kids etc. Some other modern Danish movies accept modern American culture and attitudes as their own, or show kids who adore American heroes (Drommen).
Fakiren fra Bilbao goes even further. The place is unrecognizable (haunted castle reminds on England though), and all the character names are English or at least sound that way, except if their nationality is important to the plot. As if this would make the movie even more acceptable to Academy nominating comitee. But, weird, the movie isn't dubbed: the European market got the Danish language version, and I wouldn't mind listening to English in such hollywoodised movie (I watched some other Scandinavian movies that were typically local - like Ronja, Sofia's verden etc - in English or German versions).
Usually Scandinavian movies are either very realistic (most of them) or fairy tales. Fakiren fra Bilbao authors couldn't decide: the basic plot is very realistic until a new character, magician Lombardo, is introduced after some one third of the movie. And this is not a SF premise like the one in Eternal Sunshine (partial memory erasing), but some magic stuff with explanations too unconvincing ever for pre-school kids. But, maybe, believable to target population - Hollywood products consumers.
This movie is not so bad as my comment might seem to be. The camera work is great, and the mood that is developed in many scenes can much better than many rich, respectable productions for adults achieved. Julie Zangenberg looks and acts similar to Klatretosen, what is good, but she shouldn't repeat herself for too long. Aksel Leth acts as if he comes from Malcolm in the Middle or some other American sitcom (but this wooden acting suits the character). Adult actors, especially Ole Thestrup, push movie from adventure to comedy, what abates flaws in the plot.
Conclusion: you can watch it, your kids can watch it, but neither of you will lose anything if you don't. And I can only dream that Dannish movie makers wake up and return to days of Kreigh-Jakobsen, Larsen, Methling and other old-style geniuses.l
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