“My first job as a filmmaker is to not make a boring film. I don't see a conflict between art and commerce, but I do see one between boredom and commerce.”
Denmark's leading female film director Susanne Bier is very conscious that cinema is not only art but also entertainment. Her ability to balance art and entertainment is exactly the quality that has made Bier a popular director in both Europe and Hollywood. It is this ability that makes her films at the same time compelling and important, and it is this ability that in 2011 earned her both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her film “In a Better World”.
Susanne Bier was born in 1960 and grew up in a Jewish family in Copenhagen. She studied art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and architecture at the Architectural Association in London before she graduated from The Danish Film School in 1987. Her graduation film won first prize at the film school festival in Munich, after which Bier gained the opportunity to direct her first feature film “Freud's Leaving Home”. The film is an exploration of family relationships, which was also the theme of Bier's following film “Family Matters”.
In 1997 Bier directed the psychological thriller “Credo” before she got her big Danish breakthrough in 1999 with the romantic comedy “The One and Only”, which became one of the biggest film successes of the 90s in Denmark.
Bier achieved a modest international breakthrough in 2002 with the Danish Dogma film “Open Hearts”, which tells the story of two couples whose lives are destroyed by a car accident. Bier received various awards for the film, including the International Critics Award at Toronto Film Festival with the citation that “Open Hearts proves that dogma has come of age and matured into a potent cinematic language that skilfully captures the freeing of real emotions that extreme trauma creates within the lives of the characters in her film.”
“After the Wedding” from 2006 earned Bier an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and her subsequent film “Things We Lost in the Fire”, with Halle Berry, David Duchovny and Benicio del Toro in the leading roles, was another critical and commercial success. But it was “In a Better World” from 2011 that conclusively established Bier as an international star director. The film won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011.
Susanne Bier has two children and lives with her boyfriend in Copenhagen.