Crowned best Nordic film at the 2023 Göteborg Film Festival, Unruly is an unsettling historical drama inspired by real-life events from the notorious women’s institution on the Danish Island of Sprogø in the 1930s.
Seventeen-year-old Maren (Emilie Kroyer Koppel, Happy Ending SCA19) is a strong-minded young woman, who is seen by authorities to be ill-mannered and promiscuous.
Concerned that her unruly behavior will incite others, she is sent away to a women’s institution on the small island of Sprogø, where “morally feeble” girls and women were sent to become more compliant. Here she is to learn how to behave as a proper young woman, under a strict regime led by director Nielsen (Lene Maria Christensen, The Exception SCA21).
She must share a room with Sørine, one of the director’s favourites, who has already internalised the story about herself and has learned to behave properly. Sørine helps Maren to settle in Sprogø and change her behaviour, but Maren’s refusal to comply with the system sparks consequences for both.