Qivitoq (1956): Denmark’s Best Foreign Language Film Nominee

In the first year of the foreign-language Oscar category, the five nominees were: Fellini’s “La Strada” from Italy, which won, “The Captain from Koepnick,” from the Federal Republic of Germany, “Gervais” from France, “The Harp of Burma” from Japan, and “Qivitoq,” from Denmark.


Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Nordisk, Erik Balling’s Qivitoq is a cultural collision saga about the Danes and Eskimos in Greenland.


Young teacher Eva Nygaard (Astrid Villaume) arrives in Greenland from Denmark to surprise her fiance, the Doctor Erik Halsøe, but is crushed to find he has not waited for her and he is about to be married to his assisting nurse.


Eva travels to a small fishing village to await the next ship back to Denmark. There she enters into a tense, confrontational relationship with Jens (Poul Reichhardt), a quiet moody Dane who manages a trading company outpost.


Meanwhile, Jens is trying to persuade a Greenlander named Pavia (Niels Platou) to become a company fisherman, despite Pavia’s fear of alienating his fellow villagers and upsetting the spirit, Qivitoq.


After Eva helps Jens treat a boy attacked by dogs, Jens realizes he loves her. Before he can tell her, he learns that Pavia in his new boat is in danger. Jens and Pavia’s girlfriend, Naja (Dorthe Reimer), travel overland to rescue him, but Jens falls into an icy crevice and is rescued by Pavia instead.


Pavia returns to a hero’s welcome in the village. Jens hastens back only to discover he is too late, that the boat that Eva had been awaiting has already sailed.


Dejected, Jens goes home and discovers Eva is there waiting for him.


Poul Reichhardt as Jens Lauritzen
Astrid Villaume as Eva Nygaard
Gunnar Lauring as Marius Mariboe
Randi Michelsen as Fru Mariboe
Bjørn Watt-Boolsen as Dr. Erik Halsøe
Kirsten Rolffes as Sygeplejerske Kirsten Prage
Niels Platou as Pavia
Dorthe Reimer as Naja
Justus Larsen as Nuka
Johanne Larsen as Cæcilie
Edward Sivertsen as Zakarias