🇩🇰 EHRENGARD: THE ART OF SEDUCTION 🇩🇰
Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023) is a Danish comedy-drama-romance Netflix Original feature film. 1 hour 34 minutes in length and rated 12 U.K. In Danish with subtitles (also available with dubbing).
“When a self-appointed expert on love tries to teach a timid prince the art of seduction, the plan backfires, leading to scandal – and unexpected romance.” IMDb
Sidse Babett Knudsen as The Grand Duchess
Mikkel Boe Følsgaard as Cazotte
Alice Bier Zanden as Ehrengard
Emil Aron Dorph as Prince Lothar
Jacob Lohmann as Mr. Marbod
Sara-Marie Maltha as Mrs. Marbod
Emilie Kroyer Koppel as Princess Ludmilla
Kit Eichler as Poggendorf
Asger Falck as Sekundant
Writers: Karen Blixen (novel), Anders Frithiof August
Director: Bille August
Composer: Annette Focks
Cinematographer: Jan Pallesen
Editors: Biel Andrés, Janus Billeskov Jansen
Production Designer: Margrethe II
Costume Designer: Margrethe II
“‘Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction’ was filmed in Denmark and Sweden, specifically in Copenhagen, Korsør, and the municipalities of Rudersdal and Tomelilla.” TheCinemaholic
There is also a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of this film on Netflix called Lifting the Veil: Behind the Scenes of Ehrengard. 40 minutes in duration and rated PG U.K.
Having watched, and enjoyed, other films directed by Bille August, along with a cast featuring Sidse Babbett Knudsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard and Jacob Lohmann who I have loved in other productions was enough to put this film at the top of my list to watch and review next. I was also aware that this story is set within a fairytale, non-existent land — one that I much enjoy (Princess Bride anyone?) I am not, however, familiar with the original Karen Blixen story but I don’t expect most who watch it to be familiar with it either.
So what did I make of Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction?
There’s a lot visually to like in this film, the visuals are a strong point. I very much liked that the backgrounds are quite obviously painted in the style of old films. These immediately give it a storybook, fairytale atmosphere. The locations, such as the stately home, are gorgeous and opulent. The way the sets are dressed adds to all of this.
Along with a beautiful design the costumes are wonderful. The detailing of the dresses, the headdresses, the materials, the often saturated colours… Although set within a fictional land it’s clear in which era this is set by the costuming and the music.
The performances are not naturalistic but rather fit with this being a fantasy of sorts. A lot is played for subtle laughs along the way but it plunges into farce and more hilarity towards the end.
The irony of the title is not (or at least should not) be lost on the viewer. Who exactly is seducing whom? The arrogant male being totally manipulated by women will, no doubt, sit uncomfortably with some.
There is some (not full frontal) nudity in this and a few nude sketches but it’s all pretty tame (it’s only rated 12!)
The cinematography is good as is the direction with sound and music adding texture.
While watching this film — and by the end and certainly now thinking about it a day later — I felt that somehow this could have been more magical somehow, or more unsettling, as it is, just like those sketches it’s all rather tame and just lacks that certain “je ne sais quoi” to raise it to something special.
One other thing that struck me whilst watching, since this is all set in a fictional land, is how lacking in diversity the cast is. I know Denmark isn’t a very diverse country but this film has just one cast member who is not white.
My final thoughts about Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction, to summarise, are that it’s visually appealing, beautifully designed, and well acted but won’t be the sort of film that’s likely to be looked back long after with the charmed sigh of the memory of having stepped into a fairytale.
More Danish Films:
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