Karen Blixen – Behind Her Mask


Bag Blixens maske

“I felt that I had some rights to this story, even if my father doesn’t agree at all.” — Morten Henriksen

Year: 2011
Country: Denmark
Running time: 54 mins

Producer: Karen Baumbach
Photography: Jan Weincke, Dan Laustsen, Morten Søborg
Editors: Henrik Vincent Thiesen, Anne Østerud, Klaus de León Heinecke, Per K. Kirkegaard
Music: Søren Siegumfeldt
In Danish with English subtitles

With: Ole Lemmeke, Birthe Neumann, Adam Henriksen, Hjalte Larsen, Simon Rafstrup, Aage Henriksen

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2011

No polite literary memoir, director Morten Henriksen’s portrait of author Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) is drawn from the bitter experience of his own father, Aage. Morten has bones to pick with both of them. He was just ten years old when his father first told him more than he wanted or needed to know about an intimate relationship with the world-famous Blixen (also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen). A young associate professor of literature in Sweden, Aage Henriksen had written about Blixen’s work and she invited him up to her fabled lair in Rungstedlund. Thirty-five years his senior, she exercised a deep fascination for the handsome young scholar who soon found himself at her beck and call. A jealous witch to put it mildly, says Aage, she worked hard to undermine his marriage and ultimately perpetrated a shocking act of possession. Labelled precisely by the producers as “a dark, auto-therapeutic interview with the director’s father”, this is how celebrity TV might play if Ingmar Bergman had set up in competition with Oprah Winfrey. — BG