It's All About Love is a report on the state of the world.
Acclaimed Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg's feature film It's All About Love has been highly anticipated internationally ever since his Dogme Festen won the Jury's Special Prize in Cannes in 1998.
In contrast to the way he achieved the gritty realism of Festen (The Celebration), Thomas Vinterberg has gathered an international team of the most competent creative people possible, both in front of as well as behind the camera, in an amazing joint venture to make It's All About Love.
Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes play the young couple, John and Elena, who in the middle of getting divorced realize that they still love each other. Sean Penn, Douglas Henshall, Margo Martindale, Alun Armstrong and Mark Strong make up a strong supporting cast.
It's All About Love is produced by Birgitte Hald at Nimbus Film International. Director Thomas Vinterberg co-wrote the script with Mogens Rukov as he did for his multiple award winning Festen (The Celebration). Anthony Dod Mantle (Festen (The Celebration)), Dogville) is Director of Photography. The production design is by Ben van Os (Orlando; The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover). The original score is by Zbigniew Preisner (Three Colours Blue; Three Colours White; Three Colours Red).
It's All About Love is co-produced with FilmFour, Zentropa Entertainments9, Senator Film, Key Films, Shochiku, Pathé Distribution, Memfis Film, Isabella Films, Film i Väst, Egmont Entertainment, DR TV-Drama Danish Broadcasting Cooporation and VPRO TV.
It's All About Love is supported by the Danish Film Institute by Vinca Wiedemann, the Swedish Film Institute by Lena Hansson-Varhegyi, the Nordic Film and TV Fund by Svend Abrahamsen, the Dutch Film Fund by Ger Bouma, the Film Pool Nord and Cobo Fund by Jeanine Hage.
It's All About Love is developed with the support of the MEDIA programme of the European Union.
On the visual style
While It's All About Love is set in the near future, it is far from a traditional science fiction film. Art deco-styled interiors meet inspiration from old Technicolor movies. The decision was a very conscious choice for Thomas Vinterberg and Dutch production designer Ben van Os.
"We have tried to recreate the New York of the old Hitchcock films. We deliberately left out flying cars, blue milk, weird cigarettes and surgically implanted telephones. We weren't interested in technological progress. "
"We decided to go backwards, partly to make a statement about the future, and partly to direct the audience's attention to what it's all really about: love and the genuine article. The past becomes the core of what our characters and our film are searching for. It embedded itself in our vision of New York and the settings in which our characters move", explains Thomas Vinterberg.
On re-creating New York
It's All About Love takes place in New York in the year 2021, and despite being set in New York, where many of the actors live, none of them were ever actually on location. It was an immense challenge to re-create New York in the film studios at Trollhättan, Sweden, where most of the film was shot, and as well at various locations in Copenhagen.
Producer Birgitte Hald explains the choice of locations: "The film is set in New York, but you face a substantial lack of control when actually filming in the city. Considering this and the costs of the permits and the amount of research required, we finally decided to re-create New York somewhere else. "
The re-creation proved to be a surprisingly positive experience. Most importantly, it allowed Thomas Vinterberg to maintain full creative freedom and control, one of his main goals. It also turned into an unexpected opportunity for the creative team behind the camera to explore new methods and ways of working.
The New York subway scenes were filmed at a Central Copenhagen subway station and then the New York skyline was added afterwards. With the addition of American lampposts, park benches and trashcans, a park in Copenhagen became New York's Central Park.
Not being on location challenged the actors as well. Joaquin Phoenix said: "I think I did more green screen work in this film than I've done in any other film including Gladiator. "
In addition to the principal photography, there was extensive second unit shooting in New York, Kenya, Norway, Paris, Venice, Northern Sweden and Canada.
On conceptual thoughts
Thomas Vinterberg's cinematic starting point for It's All About Love was to do exactly the opposite of what he did in Festen (The Celebration), and what the Dogme manifesto, which Vinterberg co-wrote with Lars von Trier in 1995, prescribed
"The courage involved with the Dogme project gave me a lot of energy, and I wanted to pursue that same energy again. I was inspired by the idea of doing a project that involved risk. We have created a radical project, a very carefully constructed illusion. "
"According to Dogme, the camera has to be hand-held and the scenes have to be shot on location, so this time I went for tripods, sets and studios. Joaquin Phoenix and Claire Danes' escape through the streets of New York was shot in the car park at Filmbyen. In the airplane scenes with Sean Penn, neither the landscape, nor anything else is real. "
"One of the best qualities of Dogme is its innovation, and in this way, my new film is completely in keeping with the spirit of Dogme. You could say I have instigated a new set of rules that forced me to innovate. " explains Thomas Vinterberg.
Co-writer Mogens Rukov believes that It's All About Love should be titled 'Anti-Dogme'.
"This project is exactly the opposite of Festen (The Celebration). In every decision, Thomas chose the opposite of what he otherwise would have. "
Producer Birgitte Hald agrees. "What Thomas wanted for this film was not to be restricted by anything. It's All About Love uses every possible aspect of film-making and it couldn't have been a Dogme film. "
For the Director of Photography, Anthony Dod Mantle, a long-time collaborator of Thomas Vinterberg's, this film also broke new ground. "Festen (The Celebration) was about saying no to everything. On It's All About Love we have been saying yes all along, and getting the opportunity to work with the same director on two so very different films adds another dimension. It allows the work we do together to develop and grow. "
Thomas Vinterberg wrote the script for It's All About Love with his former teacher at the National Film School of Denmark, Mogens Rukov, who also co-wrote Festen (The Celebration). One of the major sources of Vinterberg's inspiration for the story was the tumultuous period that followed the making of Festen (The Celebration), where he travelled the world promoting the film.
"I got to observe the cosmopolitan club that seems to live in the sky, and realized that you could be in Budapest in the morning, have lunch in London, and go to bed in Venice. I saw a world in motion, a world in which individuals moved this way and that without belonging anywhere in particular at all. "
"It is a whole new way of life, which increasingly applies to the everyday life of modern man. People are constantly on the move. They have meetings. They go see their boyfriends or girlfriends with whom they don't live. They drop their children off at kindergartens and nurseries and pick them up later. They have conference calls and express their love in text messages over cell phones. "
"I particularly felt this constant motion after Festen (The Celebration) when I was away from my children and my wife. That experience was both fantastic and disheartening. "