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3 items from 2004


In Your Hands

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Berlin International Film Festival

BERLIN -- Writer-director Annette K. Olesen and co-writer Kim Fupz Aakeson say they wanted to make "a Dutch 'feel-bad' movie" with "Forbrydelser" (In Your Hands). They have succeeded. We get gut-wrenching confrontations, chatter about God, faith, guilt and shame and, finally, tragic consequences to bad decisions that reflect a lack of faith in both God and man. Perhaps for their next film, Olesen and Aakeson will return to the quirky, feel-good tragicomedy that marked their "Minor Mishaps", which won over audiences at the Berlinale two years ago.

A women's prison is the site of a meeting between newly graduated theology student Anna (Ann Eleanora Jorgensen), who takes over as prison priest, and Kate the sinner (Trine Dyrholm), said to possess supernatural healing powers. The latter seemingly gets confirmed when Kate helps a fellow prisoner (Sonja Richter) overcome her drug addiction.

Kate develops an attraction to a male guard (Nicolaj Kopernikus), which can only bring trouble to both. Meanwhile, Anna's joy at learning she is pregnant, after years of trying, turns to despair when a doctor informs her and the father (Lars Ranthe) that the baby may suffer from a genetic fault.

Will Anna put her faith in God? In the sinner-healer? Or Will She not take chances and abort her fetus? Much hand-wringing and angry words accompany these ruminations. The movie is overly melodramatic yet alienating as its makers are determined to reach the worse possible outcomes for all their subplots. This also is a Dogme film, lacking music and conventional lighting, which only adds to the motifs of doom and gloom. »

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Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

AFI Fest

The 32nd film to receive Dogme certification, "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" is a fine example of the focus the manifesto's restrictions put on actors. A stripped-down production enhances lovely performances in this Danish pic, which opened in January on home turf and has moved onto several other Euro territories. The romantic comedy-drama is a warm, nuanced film but probably too low-key to make inroads at U.S. art houses.

The Copenhagen, Denmark-set story transpires during the 48 hours before the wedding of Katrine Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Jonas (Soren Byder). Katrine weathers the pressure of last-minute arrangements and a seating-plan-obsessed mother-in-law with good humor, but her easy smile is a mask that's about to crack. She can't bring herself to tell her older sister of the impending nuptials -- the fragile Mette (Lotte Andersen) has been in the psychiatric ward of a hospital since her boyfriend abandoned her two years earlier.

That very same boyfriend, Swedish charmer Thomsen (Bjorn Kjellman), shows up on Katrine's doorstep, back from his travels in Kenya and intent on rekindling a flirtation. They go for a drive that turns into a restless -- and imaginative -- scavenger hunt for the old, new, borrowed and blue items tradition requires, leading to a confrontation with Mette that sparks revelations for all three characters.

The script by Kim Fupz Aakeson negotiates shifts of tone with a natural touch, and helmer Natasha Arthy orchestrates the movement between hilarity, melancholy and suspense with energy and a firm trust in her cast. Arthy's inventive way of dealing with the Dogme rule about music -- that it must be played within the scene rather than added to the soundtrack -- has the band Mette listens to on her portable CD player appear to her in her room. Andersen capitalizes on these interludes to show a light side of Mette's vulnerability.

All of the actors bring recognizable characters to life. Knudsen's Katrine surrenders to the centrifugal force of her wedding as a way of keeping the uncomfortable truth at bay, while Kjellman plays Thomsen as a man who's ready to stop running. »

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In Your Hands

10 February 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Berlin International Film Festival

BERLIN -- Writer-director Annette K. Olesen and co-writer Kim Fupz Aakeson say they wanted to make "a Dutch 'feel-bad' movie" with "Forbrydelser" (In Your Hands). They have succeeded. We get gut-wrenching confrontations, chatter about God, faith, guilt and shame and, finally, tragic consequences to bad decisions that reflect a lack of faith in both God and man. Perhaps for their next film, Olesen and Aakeson will return to the quirky, feel-good tragicomedy that marked their "Minor Mishaps", which won over audiences at the Berlinale two years ago.

A women's prison is the site of a meeting between newly graduated theology student Anna (Ann Eleanora Jorgensen), who takes over as prison priest, and Kate the sinner (Trine Dyrholm), said to possess supernatural healing powers. The latter seemingly gets confirmed when Kate helps a fellow prisoner (Sonja Richter) overcome her drug addiction.

Kate develops an attraction to a male guard (Nicolaj Kopernikus), which can only bring trouble to both. Meanwhile, Anna's joy at learning she is pregnant, after years of trying, turns to despair when a doctor informs her and the father (Lars Ranthe) that the baby may suffer from a genetic fault.

Will Anna put her faith in God? In the sinner-healer? Or Will She not take chances and abort her fetus? Much hand-wringing and angry words accompany these ruminations. The movie is overly melodramatic yet alienating as its makers are determined to reach the worse possible outcomes for all their subplots. This also is a Dogme film, lacking music and conventional lighting, which only adds to the motifs of doom and gloom. »

Permalink | Report a problem


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3 items from 2004


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