Rollin’ on the river
American audiences have never been adverse to raunchy comedies with a focus on friends getting into numerous — and often sexual — shenanigans. Even if you feel that there’s a glut of these films at the multiplex, prepare yourself for a fresh wave of risqué buddy comedies from the land of the Danes.
Recently, Klown finally made its long-awaited debut in front of Austin film fans at an event that only the Drafthouse could think up: With Hvam and Christensen in attendance, a special Rolling Roadshow was held after a canoe trip down the Guadalupe River.
“You can almost watch the movie without reading the subtitles and still understand what’s going on. I think that’s why it travels.”
It was definitely an experience for the attending audience as well as for the comedians visiting all the way from Jutland. “We’re in the middle of Texas. We’re a long way from home. We could not believe all that was going down,” recalls Christensen about the unique screening where he and his partner were surrounded by fans and bemused campers. It seems to have made them thankful that any other American distributor didn’t pick up the film.
“They’re super professional,” says Hvam. “And fun at the same time," adds Christensen. "It seems that the way that we feel about the movie, they feel about the movie, and that’s not that common." “They have the same ambition,” according to Hvam as well as “the same drinking problems,” according to Christensen.
Hvam and Christensen were glad to have found a distributor that cared as much for their labor as they did, but after watching the film, it’s hard to see why no one else would have the same amount of love. Klown is very raunchy and hilarious, but there is definitely heart within the film itself.
In the film, Hvam has to prove his fatherly potential to his pregnant girlfriend and decides to forcibly take her 12-year-old nephew on a canoe trip. The only problem is that the trip was planned by his friend, played by Christensen, as an excuse to visit an exclusive bordello and to catch some extra action along the way. While sex and drugs play their role, the film revolves around the maturing of both young and old.
And when more Americans get the chance to experience Klown, neither filmmaker expects much to get lost in translation. “The comedy we do is not based on writing funny dialogue. It’s about funny situations,” says Christensen. “You can almost watch the movie without reading the subtitles and still understand what’s going on. I think that’s why it travels.”
Hvam compares the Sideways winery tour in California with what’s happened in their homeland with canoes flooding the countryside with horny teenagers looking to get laid.
Working together for 14 years has only helped the pair to hone their comedy skills, especially when working with the big name in Danish filmmaking, Lars von Trier. Hvam considers von Trier to be “a great comedian. He makes us more ambitious.” And Hvam and Christensen seem to live their respective roles of the mild-mannered everyman and flirtatious womanizer. Or at least that’s what their fans seem to assume.
“Frank leaves an apartment at seven in the morning that’s not his own and everyone goes ‘Oh, he probably helped an old lady move,'” notes Christensen. “I can help an old lady move and they’re going to think ‘Oh, he's going to fuck her later.’”
And no matter what success they might have here in America, they can always take credit for causing a boom in the canoeing industry back in Denmark. Hvam compares the Sideways winery tour in California with what’s happened in their homeland with canoes flooding the countryside with horny teenagers looking to get laid. Maybe the film can rehabilitate canoe trips in America after the stigma they carry after Deliverance.
When asked what they have planned after Klown, Frank Hvam already has a good idea to get funding for their next project: “We’re going to rent out canoes.”
Klown will be released in theaters, on video-on-demand and on iTunes on July 27.