Susanne Bier brings "A Better World" to Hollywood

Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:58pm EST
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters)- When Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier arrived in Hollywood some four years ago to direct her first big U.S. film, she was "excited and hopeful" it would give her career an international boost.

But her drama "Things We Lost in the Fire," starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, flopped at box offices and Bier, whose previous Danish film "After the Wedding" earned an Oscar nomination for foreign language film, soon returned home.

Now, Bier is back in Hollywood and back at the Oscars, the world's top movie awards that will be given out on February 27, with her most recent film drama "In A Better World." But unlike "Things We Lost," her new movie has built a strong fan base and its tale of a young boy and the friend who protects him from bullying is more in keeping with who she is, as a filmmaker.

"Back home and in the rest of Europe, I'm seen as this very mainstream filmmaker, while over here, they see me as this art-house type," Bier said.

"In A Better World" will compete for the Oscar against Mexico drama "Biutiful," starring Javier Bardem, Canadian film "Incendies," Greek entry "Dogtooth" and "Outside the Law" ("Hors-la-loi") from Algeria.

Oscar pundits think "Biutiful," which is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Bier's "In A Better World" have the upper hand. In a similar match-up at January's Golden Globe Awards, it was Bier who walked away with the statue.

"It's a very big deal," Bier said of the Oscar nomination and ceremony. "It's like the World Cup -- everyone watches."

OLD DOGME, NEW TRICKS   Continued...