Meeting with Adam Price, creator of Borgen, who talks about his new series, launched this evening on Arte.
Presented in official competition at the Festival Series Mania last year, and sacred recently by a male interpretation award (for Lars Mikkelsen) at the International Emmy Awards, the very spiritual series the name of the Father (or Ride upon a Storm) arrived this evening in France, on Arte.
This new drama Danish signed Adam Price, creator of Borgen, focuses on the daily life of the family Krogh outcome of a long line of protestant pastors. Johannes, the father is a pastor, seductive, committed, but which we will soon discover the many flaws… His eldest son seeks his way while the younger son, the prodigal son, walking in the footsteps of his dad. Of course, any hand spin : the father cheats on his wife, the eldest son betrays her best friend and the younger brother fools his father (and his faith ?). Interview with the star of the series the nordic.
During the festival Series Mania, last year, you said : “as an atheist, I address to the believers : listen to and watch this series without prejudice.” It is a funny introduction, is it not ?
Adam Price : I think not. I am not doing this series for the believers or the atheists. I do not primarily seek to make you believe or make you believe less ! I just want to talk about religion. Ride upon the storm is a journey driven by my desire of discovery, my deep curiosity. I’m trying to understand ; to discuss. I think… I think that if we talk, if we discuss really the beliefs of each person, then we will not stop building walls and digging trenches. I come from a culture that likes to debate. The Danes love it. Our political system is founded on debate, and compromise. As long as we can discuss, we do not kill. We left the stage to extremists, and them… them, do not discuss
This is why, for the sake of discussion, that you want to specify where you’re talking about ? Specify that you are atheist ?
Yes ! By franchise. And to be clear : I don’t want to indoctrinate people. Personally, I do not believe in the reality of a God who created everything and who listens to our prayers. BUT, I respect enormously the people who believe in it. I don’t want to attack me to God nor to the faithful, but I want to be honest. And it would be cheating to not show my color, and on a subject as intimate. So is it that I believe in God ? No. But I’m not the only one. And if I don’t believe in God, it does not mean that I do not believe in anything. There is a spirituality, things that transcend borders, time, space. We all thirst for meaning. We’d all like to understand what is beyond the rationality of science. Sometimes we are just frightened, and if science has answered many questions, we have all experienced moments in our lives that show that there probably is something else…
After two episodes, I was not very sure : the series speaks to the religion, or the need metaphysics, which brings us all together ?
The two of them. Because the religious and the metaphysical are linked. If I say that I believe in Jesus, I am religious, if I say that a black cat is a curse, I’m superstitious. But the two things are magical, strange. We believe in Jesus, the son of a virgin who would have risen and would have transformed the water into wine and…
Yes, but you can’t put that on the same plane. On the one side, superstition on the other, a phenomenon socio-cultural context that has shaped entire civilizations (good or bad).
Of course you are ! But what interests me is that most people have built a structure to metaphysics of their life with elements that catholics or muslims, a little buddhist, all in a great mix… It, it interests me. How we perceive the world ? How apprehensive are we sensitive ?
It is the scene of the second episode, where the mother can see his cup move, and his son, thousands of miles away from here, observed the same phenomenon…
Exactly. You will agree with me when I say that it has nothing to do with christianity. What is it ? Of superstition ? The power of love ? God ? I would like to be able to answer this question. And the series tries to examine it. Faith. What we believe in.
Why have you chosen to situate the action in a family of priests, protestants ?
Because this faith is structured by an old system, and which is well-known. But these priests have a lot of demons. Which are sometimes made of good priests, and sometimes of very bad priests ; sometimes beautiful people, sometimes bastards. The series speaks, finally, of expectations, of hope. But I assure you : the more the series progresses, the more the religious world is also progressing. It does not remain confined to protestantism.
The series seems to oppose the men and the women…
Oh no, I can’t find…
Women are, as in Borgen, more free, more strong. Men are consumed by their ” demons “. It is they who lead their lives and somehow the plot. After Borgen, Ride Upon The Storm seems to explore the masculinity – in its flaws
Ah, on this plan ? so yes ! You know, I’ve spent 30 episodes with Byrgitte Nyborg, a very strong woman, exceptional. And I wanted to take an interest in masculinity as you say. The relationship between a mother and daughter is based on emotion, report father-and-son on the wait (expectation). This is why I wanted to dig. Incidentally, it joined what I said to you on this family of priests : in the Bible, such as in the catholic culture, the relation father-son is paramount. RUTS is also a show on the family.
How do you explain the return of faith in the film or series ? We have recently seen The Young Pope, The Leftovers, Scorsese has signed Silence…
The religion or, more generally, the spiritual is a phenomenon of capital in our lives today. Even if we live in an environment that is thought to be secular. The religious is everywhere. When we talk about immigration, refugees… at the bottom of the topic, it is the gap between Islam and catholicism. Ask the danes if they are religious, they will answer a large majority not. But there is a cross on the national flag, it opens the parliamentary sessions with a prayer… Everything is based on the religious ! It is an essential structure of our society. I’m not going into a political interpretation of the Bible, not here, but it is also a topic that I am covering in the series.
You would have been able to do the same show with catholic priests ?
No ! Because the family is at the center of the show. And the priests can’t have families. Not yet – maybe Pope Francis will change this status. But protestant or catholic, what is projected in the figure of the priest is often the same : it is a figure that should be dignified, moral, irreproachable. It’s fictional characters fascinating. The priests are known to be inhabited by inner demons – we saw this on the criminal plan and the others… They divorce, they are alcoholics. But why ?
Because they are human ?
Exactly. And the gap between their real lives and their position as intermediary with the sacred or the divine, that it is wonderful. And a tank of intrigue or questions inexhaustible.