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CPH:DOX to Open With Max Kestner’s ‘Life and Other Problems’



The 21st edition of CPH:DOX will open with the world premiere of Danish documentary “Life and Other Problems” on March 12 at the Conservatory’s Concert Hall, Copenhagen, where director Max Kestner and a number of the film’s participants will be present. The film will compete for the festival’s main prize, DOX:AWARD. The festival runs until March 24.

Niklas Engstrøm, artistic director for CPH:DOX, said: “‘Life and Other Problems’ is an eternally relevant story about the value of life and the quest to make sense of one’s own — and all of our — existence. With his new film, Max Kestner has created a deeply personal tour de force through the scientific answers to what we know about life, fir trees, animal rights activists, and just how much imagination a Chinese giant salamander really has. It has become nothing short of a fantastic film that challenges our worldview, stimulates both the mind and the funny bone, and leaves one wiser and almost euphoric — about life, if you will.”

Ten years ago, the news that Marius the giraffe was put down by the Copenhagen Zoo went viral. It also prompted the first domino to fall in a series of existential questions asked by Kestner in his film. What is life? Does consciousness exist? Where does love come from? And not least: How is everything connected?

With an open mind, Kestner embarks on a philosophical voyage around the world to look for answers to his questions. With contributions from scientists like Charles Foster and Eske Willerslev, every answer sparks three new questions. Through this journey, we gain insight into the workings of the universe.

Kestner said: “I imagine that we can choose between two views of life. One sees life as predictable and our actions as predetermined. The other sees life as unpredictable, precisely because our choices are not predetermined, but influenced by our consciousness, our experience of being ourselves. The film is in pursuit of the latter. It is a treasure hunt, a search for hope that our actions are always full of meaning.”

“Life and Other Problems” is produced by Vibeke Vogel at Bullitt Film in co-production with the U.K.’s Hopscotch Films and Sweden’s Plattform Produktion, with support from TV 2 Danmark, the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, U.K. Global Screen Fund, Screen Scotland, Creative Europe, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, NRK and SVT.


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