Denmark, Germany, Sweden


In 1755, the impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen sets out to conquer the harsh, uninhabitable Danish heath with a seemingly impossible goal; to build a colony in the name of the King. In exchange, he'll receive a desperately desired Royal name for himself. But the sole ruler of the area, the merciless Frederik de Schinkel, arrogantly believes this land belongs to him. When de Schinkel learns that the maid Ann Barbara and her serve husband have escaped for refuge with Kahlen, the privileged and spiteful ruler swears revenge, doing everything in his power to drive the captain away. Kahlen will not be intimated and takes up the unequal battle - not only risking his life, but also the family of outsiders that has formed around him.

Director's Statement

When I had the utterly transformative experience of becoming a father a few years ago, I began viewing my past films, including the memories of making them, through a new lens. While I remain proud of the work (most of it, anyway!), it reflects the outlook of a man with a single purpose; a passionate dedication to creating stories and art… but not much else. The Promised Land grew out of that existential reckoning, and is, by far, my most personal film to date. Aided by Ida Jessen’s brilliant novel, Anders Thomas Jensen and I wanted to tell a grand, epic tale about how our ambitions and desires will inevitably fail if they are all we have. Life is chaos; painful and ugly, beautiful and extraordinary, and we are often helpless to control it. As the saying goes, “We make plans and God laughs”.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel

Written by: Nikolaj Arcel, Anders Thomas Jensen

Produced by: Louise Vesth, Fabian Gasmia, Lizette Jonjic, Tine Mikkelsen, Katja Lebedjewa

Cinematography: Rasmus Videbæk

Editing: Olivier Bugge Coutté

Production Design: Jette Lehmann

Costume Design: Kicki Ilander

Make-Up & Hair: Sabine Schumann

Original Score: Dan Romer

Sound: Claus Lynge, Hans Christian Kock, Marc Meusinger

Visual Effects: Alexander Schepelern

Casting: Tanja Grunwald

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen (Ludvig Kahlen), Amanda Collin (Ann Barbara)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Cinematography 2023
  • European Costume Design 2023
  • European Actor 2023
  • Feature Film Selection 2023