Opening 18 Feb 2016
Danish director Kenneth Kainz takes us into the Nordic fantasy world of Dunark, a town with a castle and dragons living in an underground tunnel and people wrapped in heavy fur coats. We experience eerie darkness, quivering forests, and shining waterways, magic, despair, evil, and, yes, even friendship.
Dina lives in a nearby village with her mother Melussina, older brother Davin and little sister Melli. Melussina has the capability to identify a person’s weaknesses and sins just by looking into his eyes. Only Dina has inherited this talent. As a result, her classmates avoid her and call her a witch. Lord Ebnezer, his second wife Adela and their small son have been murdered. People from the castle fetch both Melussina and Dina, who must confirm that Prince Nicodemus is the killer. Naturally, they see no such thing in the eyes of Nicodemus. After all, it’s the scheming half-brother Drakan, who plots his own ascension to the throne. Melussina is imprisoned; Dina flees, befriends a beggar girl named Rosa, and hides in the house of the alchemist. Nicodemus disappears; Melussina is dragged to the gallows; Drakan drinks dragon blood for strength.
The story is based on the fantasy book for young people: Skammerens Datter by the Danish author Lene Kaaberbøl. She has written more than 30 books which have been translated into 25 languages. Kenneth Kainz remembers going with his father to his first Star Wars film at age eight in 1978. He compares his own film to a Star Wars film in that it “takes us into another world, which seems both new and familiar.” The film might be a bit violent for younger children, but girls who found Heidi to be too “gentle” will enjoy Dina’s actions as the “guardian of the truth” (the English translation of the German title). Filmed in the Czech Republic and Iceland. (Becky Tan)