Between a Smile and a Tear


A feature documentary about the legendary Montmartre Club in Copenhagen. Between 1959 and 1974 it was one of the most important jazz clubs in the world.


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Between a Smile and a Tear

Between a Smile and a Tear

All the great names passed through the Montmartre regularly to play. The Club’s house rhythm section had Americans Kenny Drew and Albert “Tootie” Heath seated beside Danish bassists Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen and Mads Vinding. None other than Johnny Griffin came over to Copenhagen four times a year, each time to play a month’s residency at the Montmartre.

World renowned pianist and director of Between a Smile and a Tear, Niels Lan Dokey, took his first steps into jazz just in time to witness the heyday of the Montmartre. He also saw the big names in jazz return home or pass away. He wanted to make this film before it was too late.

To capture the musicians’ stories about the jazz scene then and now and their musings on life as jazz musicians. Doky interviews Montmartre veterans Toots Thielemans, Johnny Griffin, Albert “Tootie” Heath, and Mads Vinding. Together with Swedish singer Lisa Nilsson and French violinist Didier Lockwood they perform a concert arranged especially for the film, on the exact spot where the legendary jazz club once stood.

Between a Smile and a Tear once again brings to life the magical days of the Montmartre Club.

Director Niels Lan Doky
Producer Jørgen Bo Behrensdorff
Produced by Park Film
Duration 98 min.
Year of Production 2005
Original Title Between a Smile and a Tear