The Wild Hearts of Denmark

Ecstatic raptures, songs and screams, flames licking naked dancing bodies, smell of burnt skin soaring above their heads… Paradoxically, what you see is not a travelogue depiction of the exotic rituals of Papuans but a scene from the life of contemporary Danes. From February 13, you can listen to the beat of the wild hearts of the young Danish generation with Michael Noer’s films The Wild Hearts and Vesterbro at DAFilms. (FREE stream till 17th February)

When we get back home, everything will be better, our life will be better, we will be happy, one hundred percent…

Vesterbro, the title of Michael Noer’s documentary feature from 2007, refers to Copenhagen’s notorious district where one can get any kind of drug on the street. It is a home to Martin and Julie whose everyday odyssey Noer decided to capture. Surprisingly, the life of the two lovers living a small rented apartment is monotonous and dull. Although their days swing in the rhythm of parties, alcohol and sex, they seem hopeless and lost. Despite their (weak) good will, Martin and Julie seem to live under a timeless spell between adolescence (they are not teenagers any more) and adulthood (they are not thirty yet); in a world that does not seem to promise anything. Their dreams are not about a better (us it used to be) but at least some future. Their life seems to slip through their fingers while they try to preserve their (for now safe) status quo with all their desperate might. It is only during intense moments of mutual love that they can break the automatic flow of drunken nights and drowsy days. After all, love is the only thing that gives their lives a perspective, or at least an impression of it.

Mopeds, booze, drums and a bunch of naked guys; I’m pretty sure what most of you think: What the hell is this supposed to mean?

Although Julie and Martin are no angels, in comparison with the protagonists of Noer’s following film they seem like a boring elderly couple. The latter call themselves the Wild Hearts and, symbolically, there are twelve of them. Together they form a tough “moped gang” and embark on their machines inherited from their fathers and grandfathers to barrel down from Denmark to Pomerania in Poland with the maximum speed of 50 km per hour. Nothing will stop them; they will go everywhere, drink everything and survive all that. While their old machines lose their breath, their owners go at full speed. The three-week journey is one big party at the end of which the “boys” shall become real men. Through tons of alcohol, bad weather and sexual abstinence, they fight their way to the desired freedom; though they only have a vague idea of what it means to them. What they all will all agree on though is that “home sucks” and that “everything goes to…Pomerania” (as an old Danish proverb says). Although they might outdo Martin and Julia of Vesterbro in all respects, what they share is a strong sense of ontological uncertainty. Behind all those swinging penises, yelling engines, phoney toughness and brat-like behaviour, there is but a simple and sincere desire to be together; to share fears and anxieties; to dissolve them in a community; which is the last value to still make sense in today’s chaotic, collapsing, entropic world. That is what makes young healthy men from the most advanced part of the world look for their lost (self)confidence in a circle around the fire.

DAFilms presents yet another naked “Hussite raid”. However, this time it comes from a much hotter place. It bears the title Bahag Kings and was made by Philippine director Khavn de la Cruz. It is perhaps for their testosterone affinity that both Khavn and Noer appeared on the same creative team at the experimental DOX:LAB at Copenhagen’s film festival. Their common project Son of God is coming soon to DAFilms portal. is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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