Italy-based sales outlet TVCO has acquired international rights to Jonas Kærup Hjort’s Danish black comedy “The Penultimate” ahead of its world premiere in competition at the Tallinn Black Night Film Festival.

Described as a “Kafkaesque tale” by Tallinn festival, “The Penultimate” follows an insignificant clerk (Joen Højerslev), who gets trapped inside a secluded building facing an endless maze of obstacles. While he desperately tries to escape, the clerk starts having a distorted perception of reality and “the remnants of his human existence are turned upside down.”

“The Penultimate” marks the feature debut of Jonas Kærup Hjort who graduated from Denmark’s National Film School in 2017 with the short film “In a Month.”

“I met producer Rikke Tambo and the director in October at the MIA Market 2020 in Rome, and I was stunned by the grotesque humor and the pitch-black atmosphere of the film, which led me to vote for them at the buyers’ choice award,” said Billy Montacchini, TVCO’s acquisition manager.

“I was glad to hear that they won the competition and I am now really excited that TVCO will take up the challenge and bring this super arthouse film to an international audience,” said Montacchini.

Kærup Hjort said the film’s “absurdity and black humor… mirror the story of our time’s world of despair.”

“The fear, the hopelessness, the negligence, the feeling of abandonment, the ambiguity, the relentless objectivity – all of these are put into play to confront the audience with themselves,” said the writer-helmer, adding that the film was also an “homage to the cartoonish tragi-comedy.”

“The Penultimate” was produced by Rikke Tambo for Tambo Film and is supported by New Danish Screen with consultant Mette Damgaard, and Den Vestdanske Filmpulje. Gary Cranner from Chezville co-produced the film with the support from The Norwegian Film Institute and the Zephyr Media Fond.