Denmark in the nineteenth century. Baron Helmuth von Leunbach returns home from Copenhagen with a young bride, Alvilda, who has a daughter from a previous marriage. The baron's widowed mother dominates her son and, weary of the misfortune of their lineage, disapproves of his character, but sees promise in his marriage. Alvilda, however, finds little interest in Helmuth's farming projects and instead turns to a common house guest, Count Scheele, for comfort. When Helmuth discovers her infidelity his reaction is brutal. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
The Danish author Gustav Wied often used rough satirical strokes in his books, and Anders Refn is true to this atmosphere when making his film version of 'Slægten'. The baron Helmuth, played with vigor and strength by Jens Okking is a domineering patriarch who runs his household and estate with brutal egocentric self-righteousness. This arch type character presented with no mercy prepare us for the tragic conclusion of this old countryside manor drama. How the baron has come to be a tyrant might be understandable when we meet his heartless mother played by Bodil Udsen, who has a most uncommon devilish role in this drama. There are none but few sympathetic grown up characters, which also is the setback for a closer human identification with the drama as such. However, Gustav Wied is also remembered for more moderate small town caricatures in 'Livsens Ondskab' and 'Knagsted'. The cinematography has international grandeur rendered by Mikael Salomon.
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