Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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The Substitute

Sponsored by: Manhattan Portage

Montreal Premiere

WINNER: Prix L'Écran Fantastique, Fantasia Film Festival

WINNER: Bodil Award for Best Cinematography

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Director: Ole Bornedal
Screenplay: Ole Bornedal, Henrik Prip
Cast: Paprika Steen, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonas Wandschneider
Producers: Michael Obel
Distributor: Delphis Films, The Danish Film Institute


Why are adults so stupid? There’s something wrong with Carl’s new teacher and everybody knows it. Well, all the kids do, anyway. She’s cold and cruel, tormenting her students at every opportunity and no teacher should do that, right? What’s more, strange things seem to happen around her. She knows things she shouldn’t know, can tell what her students are thinking. She can make things move without touching them. There is only one possible conclusion—she is an alien from outer space. But who is going to believe a bunch of kids, particularly when the one who figured it out is a social recluse, traumatized by the tragic death of his mother? Nobody who matters, that’s who, and so it’s up to the kids to expose their teacher for what she is themselves.

There’s a shortage of quality science fiction in this world, and one of the last places you’d expect to see an entry in the genre emerge from is Denmark—a country not historically known for producing genre film of any kind, though that is changing—but there you have it. Much acclaimed NIGHTWATCH director Ole Bornedal’s THE SUBSTITUTE is both a stellar teen coming-of-age story and a ripping sci-fi adventure graced with a truly memorable villain, played by Paprika Steen, one of the most respected European actresses of her generation. Also in abundance are action-packed set pieces and excellent effects. Sure, the story is built around young teens, but this one’s not to be missed by genre fans of any age. You’ll never look at a chicken the same way again.

—Todd Brown