Not yet out of elementary school, Nick and his younger brother have already been hardened by poverty, abuse and alcohol. But these two tough boys still find joy in their newborn baby brother. They gladly make up for the shortcomings of their neglectful alcoholic mother and give the infant the loving care which all children deserve. Although shortlived, this glimmer of hope will haunt them well into adulthood... Moody and anguished, 30-something Nick lives alone in a gloomy tenement shelter. He turns to lifting weights and strong beer to hold back painful memories and loneliness. He finds some comfort with faded beauty Sofie and mentally unstable Ivan, his ex-girlfriend's brother. Nick has still not come to terms with Ana breaking up with him two years ago, an event which made him erupt into random violence and put him in prison. Nick's inability to reach out and reconnect with his estranged brother only makes him angrier.., Nick's brother could lose custody of his six-year-old son Martin any day now. Being a responsible father is even tougher for a heroin addict. Although he has convinced himself that he turned to dealing drugs for his son's benefit, the risky endeavor results in a painful separation from little Martin... Nick and his brother have spent their lives trying to love, trying to forget, trying to understand. The brothers will soon get their chance to reconnect and to finally realize that they're not to blame for everything.

Director's Statement

SUBMARINO is based on a novel by young Danish writer Jonas T. Bengtsson. I was attracted to the direct language of the book. There's a stark truth in the writing which reminded me of the early years of my filmmaking. I sensed instantly that the subject matter was significant and universal. In a way, the characters are all people trying to keep their heads above water. The film is about people not being able to make It to the surface. The title actually refers to a torture method in which someone's head is kept under water. Although I don't highlight this in the film, I still decided to keep the title for the hint of this drowning reference. THE DARKER SIDE OF LIFE I wanted to tell a story about people trying to care for one another even under rather dreary circumstances and in a bleak environment. The film's environment was somewhat alien to me, but I've often been attracted to the darker side of life. The characters in SUBMARINO have hit rock bottom. Their surroundings are much tougher, more brutal. Because of this, they don't have time for clever conversation or to put on airs. They belong to a very frank and straightforward part of society where simple survival comes first. Despite the sadness of the story's circumstances, Ironically the making of this film was a joyful ride. Making this movie always felt like it was the right thing to do. It was a very rich and satisfying experience.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Written by: Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg

Produced by: Morten Kaufmann

Cinematography: Charlotte Bruus Christensen

Editing: Valdis Oskarsdottir, Andri Stein Gudmundsson

Production Design: Torben Stig Nielsen

Cast: Patricia Schimann (Sofie), Morten Rose (Ivan), Gustav Fischer Kjærulff (Martin), Jakob Cedergren, Peter Plaugborg

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actor 2010
  • Feature Film Selection 2010