The Hunt (2012 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Hunt (Jagten) is a 2012 Danish drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen. The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man who becomes the target of mass hysteria after being wrongly accused of sexually assaulting a child.


Lucas is a well-liked kindergarten teacher in a close-knit Danish community. Divorced, he struggles to maintain a relationship with his teenage son, who lives with his ex-wife, but the boy eventually decides to live with him. Lucas' coworker Nadja makes advances towards him and eventually becomes his girlfriend.

One of Lucas' students is Klara, the daughter of his best friend Theo. She has a crush on Lucas, and one day she puts a heart-shaped ornament into his coat pocket, then gives him a kiss on the lips. After Lucas rebuffs the kiss, Klara's feelings are hurt. Drawing on a memory of a pornographic picture her older brother showed her, she makes comments that lead the kindergarten director to believe Lucas indecently exposed himself to her. The director asks Klara leading questions, and the girl gives unclear testimony against Lucas. The adults in the community believe the director's story of abuse, dismissing Klara's later contradictions as denial.

Lucas is shunned by the community as a pedophile and sexual predator. His friendship with Theo and his relationship with Nadja are destroyed, and his son is publicly ostracised. The kindergarten staff ask leading questions of the other children, who also say they were abused. However, the children's accounts involve Lucas abusing them in his basement, which supports Lucas' innocence - his house has no basement. After a hearing, he is released without charge.

The community is still suspicious of Lucas, however, and the ostracism turns to violence. Someone kills his dog, Fanny, while another assailant throws a stone through his window. When he goes grocery shopping, the grocery store employees attack him. On Christmas Eve, Lucas confronts Theo during a public church service. Later, Theo overhears Klara apologizing to Lucas as she drifts off to sleep. He realizes that Lucas is innocent, and he visits him on Christmas Day with food and alcohol as a peace offering.

A year later, tensions in the community have lessened. Lucas and Nadja are in a relationship again, and Lucas' son is accepted into the local hunting society as an adult. On a hunting expedition to commemorate the event, an unseen person apparently shoots at Lucas and misses him. Blinded by the setting sun, Lucas is unable to identify his attacker, who flees. A moment later the unknown shooter, real or metaphorical, is gone.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Hunt (2012 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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