Per Fly’s Social Status Trilogy Continues with “The Inheritance” (by Howard Feinstein, July 6, 2004)

“It was new to many Danes who saw my film that we have a class of very rich people in Denmark,” says Per Fly, the Danish director of “The Inheritance” (which opens Friday). “It’s more hidden than in England or America. They don’t show off like [in America].” “The Inheritance,” second in a trilogy dealing with class in his country, is the story of a family of steel magnates who must deal with the problem of succession after the sudden death of the head of the company. Ulrich Thomsen gives an astounding performance as the thirtysomething son, Cristoffer, faced with the dilemma of maintaining his beloved restaurant in Stockholm, where his Swedish wife, Maria (Lisa Werlinder), is a spontaneous, up-and-coming theater actress, or returning to Copenhagen and taking the reins. “The main conflict in the film is whether you follow your will or your passion, doing what you want to do or what you have to do,” says Fly (pronounced “flooh”). “In this class, will is very strong.”

As in his debut film “The Bench,” the first in the trilogy and a tale set among the working class, he did months of field research before beginning the script. “This isn’t about the new rich. It’s about old money, people who have been rich for
generations. It took me six months to get to talk to the right people. They didn’t want to talk to me. The old families in Denmark are not often on TV or in the press. It was especially difficult for me to speak to businessmen between 30 and 40, Cristoffer’s age, who are in that league. Finally I was able to speak to a 35-year-old man who was next in line to control a company.”

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