film

From Denmark comes a new movie, starring Mads Mikkelsen (who plays Hannibal Lecter in the current TV show, and may also be more familiar to U.S. audiences as the villain in the first Daniel Craig Bond movie, Casino Royale) as a man wrongly accused of molesting a child.

The film, titled The Hunt, is gaining lots of buzz in the movie industry and is being hailed as "riveting" and "dazzling." In the article from The Daily Beast, the lead actor and the director are both interviewed. The article describes the film thusly:

The Hunt is Vinterberg’s latest and, like Festen, it explores the fallout of child abuse allegations on a man, and a community. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a man living in a close-knit Danish village who has fallen on hard times after his divorce. He was fired from his job as a high school teacher and has resorted to teaching kindergarten. One day, Klara, one of his kindergarten students and the daughter of his best friend, Theo, is shown a picture of an erect penis by her idiot older brother. Later on, she kisses Lucas and gives him a heart she made in arts and crafts, but the teacher rejects the gift, telling her it’s inappropriate. Klara subsequently goes to the school’s principal and gives a vague description of an event involving Lucas and a penis. After being asked a series of leading questions by the principal, Klara wrongfully accuses Lucas of exposing himself.
Lucas is immediately branded a pederast. He’s disowned by nearly all his friends—including Theo—suspended from his job, and is even banned from shopping in the town’s local grocery. He is God’s lonely man. And due to his inherent civility, Lucas feels that the universe will eventually right itself. But when the attacks against Lucas get physical, he comes to realize that he must stand up and fight to clear his name.
The director, Thomas Vinterberg, describes how he came to the story via case files from a neighbor who was a psychiatrist:
"I was shocked by [the files],” says Vinterberg. “I decided to make the film thinking there must be many people who are wrongfully accused, and imagine being a child and sent to be examined by a gynecologist, your mother and father are fighting, someone you’re close to is being sent to prison. You’re becoming victimized. It’s added memory, and it’s a violation of the child ..."
This is the crux of the matter that most don't realize: when false accusations of abuse are levied "on behalf" of a child "victim," the child essentially becomes a victim through the process of investigating and litigating those false charges. The child, who was not abused, becomes abused by the simple fact of being at the center of false allegations.
I look forward to seeing this film one day, and I hope it generates some much-needed debate in this country and around the world about the tragedy of false abuse allegations.

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