The Tree of Knowledge (Nils Malmros, 1981, Denmark)
Nils Malmros’s deeply personal coming-of-age film follows the rearranging social circles of a group of pre-adolescent schoolchildren in 1950s Denmark, whose wants and desires shift according to the season.
Feb 07, 2022, 7:30 PM
Los Angeles, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
Nils Malmros’s deeply personal coming-of-age film follows the rearranging social circles of a group of pre-adolescent schoolchildren in 1950s Denmark, whose wants and desires shift according to the season. When these children get fined for their misbehavior, it foregrounds the film’s economy of desire: as over a dozen individual personalities clash, gossip, and go dancing in the dark, an increasing desperation sets in at countless community gatherings, with never a dull moment—all while the most popular girl, Elin (Eva Gram Schjoldager) becomes a victim of her own prudishness. The caustic images of sexual awakening recall Goodbye, Columbus and the work of Maurice Pialat, as the film’s darting energy—filmed over two years to enhance the subjects’ precociousness—navigates intuitively between cruelty and grace.
Los Angeles premiere of the digital restoration from the Danish Film Institute
Screened at the 1983 Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex)
Official Selection: Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival, 1982
"The truest and most moving film I have ever seen about the experience of puberty... a creative act of memory about exactly what it was like to be 13 in 1953." -Roger Ebert
"Malmros’s masterpiece... A series of exquisitely staged, expansive vignettes that accumulate with quietly shattering force." -Max Nelson, Film Comment