Applause (2009 film)

Applause (2009)

Danish theatrical poster
Directed by Martin Pieter Zandvliet
Produced by JMikael Christian Rieks
Written by Anders Frithiof August
Martin Pieter Zandvliet
Music by Sune Martin
Cinematography Jesper Tøffner
Edited by Per Sandholt
Release dates
  • September 25, 2009 (2009-09-25)
Running time
85 minutes
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Budget DKK 3.6 million

Applause is a 2009 Danish film starring Paprika Steen from director/co-writer Martin Peter Zandvliet and Koncern Film. The story relates actress Thea Barfoed’s (Paprika Steen) journey to reclaim her life and her family from the ravages of alcoholism and divorce.


Critically acclaimed, alcoholic actress Thea Barfoed has gone through turmoil, resulting in a divorce and the loss of custody of her two boys. Eager to break with the past, regain control over her life, and get her children back, she uses charm and manipulation to persuade her ex-husband, Christian, that she is ready and able to take back the mantle of motherhood; but ironically, she has not completely convinced herself. On stage, Thea plays Martha, the aggressive and wounded wife in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Off stage, the actress is mixed up in a drama that has many of the same tragic, toxic ingredients. As Thea contends with the rigorous demands of stage life and a past that haunts her, she must face her inner demons. But what she and her family both know is that Thea is Thea, a prima donna better suited to acting her heart out than living an ordinary life.



Paprika Steen (Thea Barfoed) is best known for her performance in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration (1998), while in Denmark she has long been a leading star of stage and screen. According to director Martin Pieter Zandvliet, the role of Thea was written directly for Steen. Applaus features authentic footage from a Copenhagen production of "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" where Steen won critical acclaim.

Christian, Thea's ex-husband, is played by Michael Falch, a singer/songwriter best known for his 30 years fronting the Danish rock band, Malurt. He made his acting debut in 1983 in Søren Kragh Jacobsens Isfugle, for which he received a Bodil Award nomination. Three years later, he was awarded a Bodil for his lead role in Mord i Mørket (Murder in the Dark), and has since occasionally performed in films and TV serials like the Emmy-winning “Rejseholdet” (“Unit One”).

Critical review

Steen, Zandvliet and August in Karlovy Vary

Premiering at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic in July 2009 and continuing on the international festival circuit, Applaus received critical acclaim and was recognized with numerous awards. CNN's Neil Curry named the picture as one of four Danish films to watch,[1] film critic Roger Ebert called Paprika Steen's performance “extraordinary,[2]" Variety's Alyssa Simon hailed it as "fearless and tour-de-force",[3] The Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey called Paprika Steen's performance "Deeply affecting...unflinchingly real."[4] Entertainment Weekly' Lisa Schwarzbaum said ""Paprika Steen brings a thrilling emotional nakedness and...unsentimental honesty to the part."[5] and The New York Times' Karen Durbin called Paprika Steen's performance "one of the best screen performances of the year".[6]


Applaus has received several film festival awards, including:


The film was released in Denmark on September 25, 2009. North American distributor World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation released the film theatrically on December 3, 2010 in Los Angeles[7] and had a wider release in Los Angeles and New York on January 21, 2011. The film was shown at the European Union Film Festival[8] on March 20 and 23, 2011 and River City Cinema,Maine[9] on April 8, 2011. The film will be shown at the Minneapolis/ St. Paul International Film Festival on April 21 and 24, 2011. A general run in South Florida began on April 22, 2011, and in Austin, San Antonio, & Denver on September 16, 2011.


  1. "Danish Film: Four to Watch.". CNN. December 23, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  2. "TIFF #9: And so then I saw...". Chicago Sun-Times. September 16, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  3. Simon, Alissa (July 9, 2009). "Applause Movie Review". Variety.
  4. Sharkey, Betsy; Critic, Film (January 21, 2011). "Movie review: 'Applause'". Los Angeles Times.
  5. "Movie Review: Applause". Entertainment Weekly.
  6. Durbin, Karen (October 29, 2010). "Actors Get Chances in Films From Mike Leigh, Sofia Coppola". The New York Times.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2011-03-21.

External links

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