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Magnus von Horn on How Cannes Contender ‘The Girl With the Needle’ Dances With Darkness: ‘Sometimes It’s Easier to Flirt With the Devil’

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Christopher Vourlias In the past decade, Swedish-Polish filmmaker Magnus von Horn has become something of a fixture on the French Riviera, with his latest film, “The Girl With the Needle,” the director’s third feature to debut at the Cannes Film Festival and his first to compete for the Palme d’Or.

But the dark historical drama, which is set in post-WWI Copenhagen, marks a departure for the 40-year-old. Von Horn’s previous features — the 2015 Directors’ Fortnight breakout “The Here After” and his 2020 Cannes selection “Sweat” — are stories of loneliness and isolation spun from the fabric of contemporary life.

The director’s first foray into period drama, “The Girl With the Needle” uses the past to tell a very modern story that centers on class, choice and the politics of women’s bodies.

Written by von Horn and Line Langebek (“I’ll Come Running”), the film is loosely based on the real-life story of a Danish woman who set up an underground adoption agency to help poor women dealing with unwanted pregnancies.

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