Movie in Spotlight: Flame and Citron

by Esther Suson

Out of fun, my best friend and Mirror [codename] and I decided to wade into Mads Mikkelsen’s (NBC Hannibal, Casino Royale) Danish-film past, which was how I found Flame and Citron (2008). Basically, Mads Mikkelsen + World War II = I’ll Watch It.

The movie focuses on Bent Faurschou Hviid (Flame, played by Thure Lindhardt) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith (Citron, played by Mads Mikkelsen). They were Resistance fighters in Denmark during World War II.

Flame and Citron

              Flame                       and                   Citron

Although frankly, whoever gave the red-haired one the code name ‘Flame’ should have been shot for involuntary cooperation with the enemy. (That or commended for unusual brilliance).

Generally, this is why I truly enjoyed this movie (besides Mads Mikkelsen + World War II):

Friendship

The importance of trust is naturally strongly highlighted in the movie. They even turn guns on one another in the case of doubt.

Citron and suspect

Citron and suspect

That being the case, Flame’s introduction of Citron ending with the words “he rides with me” is as unbreakable a statement of trust as can be found.

They shared the same basement, the same car, the same missions. The now movie-abused “if you’re not out in thirty minutes” was for them a casual reminder.

Citron watching while Flame sleeps

Citron watching while Flame sleeps

Flame watching while Citron sleeps

Flame watching while Citron sleeps

Friendships, real-life or movie, don’t get much better than that.

Complex Enemies

There are two highlighted opponents in the movie: Gestapo Officer Gilbert, and Gestapo Head Hoffman. Neither show up as black-and-white antagonists, highlighting the very human struggles of Flame and Citron in figuring out the blacks and whites of their own positions throughout the movie.

Flame and Gilbert

Flame and Gilbert

Flame and Hoffman

Flame and Hoffman

Complex Allies

This was a strong point in favor of the movie. With Operation Overlord (D-Day) on its way, the Allies were attempting to organize the European Resistances as support for the invasion. But to tell them not to retaliate for reprisals to resistance…well.

Spex attempting to give orders to Flame, Citron, and Winther

Spex attempting to give orders to Flame, Citron, and Winther

Flame not taking it very well

Flame not taking it very well

Why the Allies thought that Resistance fighters would easily obey stand-down orders – whatever the importance – escapes me.

To Conclude

Flame and Citron could be a story of friendship, but isn’t, perhaps because the friendship between the two men doesn’t strain enough for that. It could be a story of the Danish Resistance, which it is…but isn’t because of the focus on Flame and Citron as people. It could also just be the story of Flame and Citron and I am over-reading the whole thing.

To me, Flame and Citron is a unique story that highlights the complexities of the relationships between the Resistance and the Gestapo, between the Resistance and the Allied Forces, and even between the Gestapo and the Allied Forces. And, caught in the middle were Flame and Citron as human beings, discovering where their own desires fit, in all the large plans being acted out around them. A movie to watch.

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