50 Years of SIFF: The Kingdom II
November 19 - 26, 2023
Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of The Kingdom 1, our motley crew of physicians and administrators are still squabbling among themselves, unaware of the profound evil rising from the bowels of Copenhagen’s favorite haunted hospital. | SIFF 1998
It took three years for The Kingdom II to reach Danish television screens back in 1997, which must have felt like an eternity for audiences left slack-jawed at the first season’s cliffhanger finale. As we join them in the immediate aftermath, our motley crew of physicians and administrators are still squabbling among themselves, unaware of the profound evil rising from the bowels of Copenhagen’s favorite haunted hospital. Picking up where Kingdom 1 left off, this outrageously enjoyable new series of episodes from Lars von Trier’s epic blend of hospital hokum, over-the-top soap opera, and good-versus-evil horror story moves at an even more maniacal clip, and provides twice the fireworks of the original, which won the SIFF audience award for most popular film at the 1995 Festival. The film opens as Swedish neurosurgeon Stig Helmer returns from his foray in Haiti, only to end up in immediate trouble. His failed surgery on the unfortunate Mona has put him in imminent danger of prosecution, and his colleague/lover Rigmor pulls out all the stops in pursuit of marriage to the besieged doctor. Meanwhile, the local hypochondriac, Mrs. Drusse, is run over by an ambulance the first time she sets foot outside the hospital, and suffers a near-death experience. Judith’s baby—whose birth provided the climax of Kingdom 1—is growing at an incredible rate; Born with the head of an adult (a double role by voodoo doctor Udo Keir), it grows until its body is soon bursting out of the room. In view of all the conflicts and intrigues in the hospital, is it any surprise that Professor Moesgaard seeks psychiatric help? Von Trier’s second helping of hospital absurdism is funnier—and freakier—than ever.
- Original Language Title: Riget II
- Director: Lars von Trier
- Principal Cast: Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Holger Juul Hansen, Søren Pilmark, Ghita Nørby
- Country: Denmark, Sweden
- Year: 1997
- Running Time: 295 min.
- Producer: Svend Abrahamsen
- Screenplay: Lars von Trier
- Cinematographers: Eric Kress
- Editors: Molly Malene Stensgaard, Jacob Thuesen, Pernille Bech Christensen
- Filmography: The House That Jack Built (2018), Nymphomaniac: Vol II (2013), Nymphomaniac: Vol I (2013), Melancholia (2011), Antichrist (2009), The Boss of It All (2006), Manderlay (2005), Dogville (2003), Dancer in the Dark (2000), The Idiots (1998), Breaking the Waves (1996), The Kingdom II (1998), The Kingdom I (1995), Europa (1991), Epidemic (1987)