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Viggo on the scene in Cannes

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The north country’s own Viggo Mortensen has a film featured at Cannes this month; “Juaja,” made by an Argentinian but partly in Danish, presented some challenges for the Danish-American actor.

“(It’s) kind of strange: I would have thought it would be in Denmark where I work in Danish first,” he quipped in an interview Monday.

In the experimental film, directed by Lisandro Alonso and written by Fabian Casas, Mortensen plays a 19th century captain searching for a mythical land in Patagonia. The actor says he chose the project because he was impressed director’s previous films, including “Los Muertos” and “Liverpool.”

Even though Mortensen spent the first 10 years of his life in Argentina, he still needed to be careful to make sure he didn’t mess up linguistically.

“It was a tall order in some ways, making sure the translation in Danish of the Argentine dialogue, Spanish dialogue, retained the poetry of Fabian’s writing and the ideas behind it, you know, the sort of existential side of things, and the humor,” he said.

“But it ended up being not such a hard thing and in a way it’s funnier than what they wrote, because there’s a particular sort of irony in Danish humor and sort of physical humor also that the Danes are really going to get — more so than other people because it’s very particular,” he added.

Besides acting in the film, he also did the music for it. Mortensen is a 1976 graduate of Watertown High School and a 1980 graduate of St. Lawrence University, Canton.

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