The Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker, Bille August is shooting the equestrian and war scenes of his latest film Kysset (The Kiss) in Hungary.
The Oscar and Palme d’Or-winning director of “Pelle the Conqueror” is adapting the 1939 novel “Restless Heart” by Austrian author Stefan Zweig and transposing it into a Danish setting, Gül Togay, creative producer of Filmsquad, who is helping to produce the Danish film alongside producer István Major, told MTI.
The original story is set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War and is about a special love affair that is infiltrated by war, with all its senselessness. Anton, the protagonist, a lieutenant, is torn between pity and regret, self-sacrifice and selfishness, compassion and love.
The director has adapted the story by transposing it to Denmark with a Danish cast. The film will star Esben Smed (Anton), Clara Rosager (Edith), Lars Mikkelsen (Lovenskjold), and Kurt Dreyer (Krabbe), but will also feature David Dencik, who is known for his work in English-language films and series as well as Danish and Swedish films.
“Kysset” is expected to premiere in 2022. According to Gül Togay, the Danish crew was attracted to Hungary by the Hungarian locations, the world-famous horse stunt riders, and the confidence in the Hungarian partner producers.
He added that they had been working on the project since 2013, but funding problems arose and it was only this year, due to Nordisk’s support, that work could start under the leadership of producer Thomas Heinesen. For nine days in Hungary, until September 9, horse stunt scenes will be filmed mainly in outdoor locations.
They are working at the monastery fortress in Komárom, in Páty, and at the Zichy Castle in Óbuda, where they have also set up a period pub, and in Szomor, where they are filming a World War II scene, but most of the film is being shot in Denmark.
“The Hungarian architects and set designers are very experienced, they have been involved in many American megaproductions, and for the Danish production, for example, they made a trench that looks like a real one in an archive recording,” he said.
The Hungarian service producers also helped with location ideas and the choice of supporting actors, among other things.
“You have to think creatively together, you have to figure out what the client might have in mind. It’s a long process and you have to be very flexible,” he said, adding that August Bille is a conscious director, working fast, focused, and in close harmony with cinematographer Sebastian Blenkov, who also made the black comedy, “Adam’s Apples”. “Kysset”‘s visual designer is Jette Lehmann, who worked on Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia”, among many other productions.