This Danish-language tragicomedy is directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Mads Mikkelsen as Martin, a high school teacher stuck in a rut. Based on the pseudoscientific theory that we are born with a blood alcohol level that is 0.05% (0.5‰) too low, Martin and his teacher friends decide to start each day with a few glasses of booze to test out the hypothesis.
“We realized that this liquor that elevates people, makes people marry and makes great world leaders take new and original decisions, also kills people,” says writer-director Thomas Vinterberg in an interview. The film shows both sides: the immense positive effects alcohol imparts in moderation and the danger of addiction that comes with excessive use.
I was repeatedly reminded of the German film “The Wave” (“Die Welle”) about a high school teacher starting a cult-like club at his school that enthralls students similarly to Martin’s alcohol-infused lessons. Both films touch on the growing feeling that something is wrong with our system of education and both portrait teachers trying to tackle the problem in their own unorthodox ways.