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Despite the Dogme trappings, there is a story here. It is about lying and
Kresten, a young go-go company man is marrying the boss's daughter, but hides, then fabricates his country past. He doesn't get away with it for long and ends up shamed and divorced. Likewise, a young prostitute, Liva, tries to flee her surroundings, but they follow her and in the end visit - literally - wrath on her new home.
The only spiritually pure character, content in his surroundings, too innocent of wit to lie, is Kresten's retarded brother Rud. It seems that everything he says, no matter how far-fetched, turns out to be true. He is also the teacher of kindness who, since he is inarticulate, can only teach by example.
Actually, I think the most unambiguously satisfying relationship here is between Rud and Liva's beastly little brother Bjarke. It is Bjarke who can't handle the truth about himself and his sister. Quickly, the stereotypes he has learned to brutalize in the social Darwinian hell of boarding school confront him with their humanity and teach him that life doesn't have to be the daily exercise in cynicism that he and his sister suppose.
There is atonement for all three, visited in different forms, but ultimately redeeming and providing a hopeful ending to the story.
Unfortunately, there are a few problems in Mifune which marred my viewing. A major one is the text, which is badly abused in translation to English. For some reason, the translator has seen fit to turn words which in Danish mean "damn" or "hell" into "f**k". Perhaps he or she thought it would give the dialog more impact. He or she was wrong.
Another problem is the unresolved and perhaps unnecessary character of the ugly and despicable Gerner, whose purpose I'm not exactly sure of, other than as a kind of agent of punishment - perhaps a devil - descending on the hapless Kresten. In any case, we need at least to know more about him, or perhaps even have him whacked or otherwise disposed of for dramatic purposes.
Anyway, as with most European movies, "Mifune" is more about character than story. I strongly recommend that you meet Kresten, Rud, Liva and Bjarke. I think you'll like them in the end.
I've always been a fan of European cinema, mostly because it has
something more to offer than Hollywood's mass production. Don't think
that I hate every movie that comes from Hollywood or that I love all
European films. As well in Europe as in America, they have made some
excellent movies as well as awful ones.
If it isn't a better story or more profound characters, than it is the style of filming that makes European cinema a little different from the American. And this movie has it all. The story is very good and original and the characters are very recognizable. I really got the feeling that I got to know them better, even though their lives are sometimes completely different from mine. But most important is the way everything is shot. For those who aren't familiar with the rules made up by Dogma yet, I'll give a small explanation: the director promises not to use extra light, special effects, extra sound effects... They want to make the story speak for itself and show everything in a natural and realistic way. To some this may seem like the most boring concept ever. I guess many people who like movies like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Spiderman,... movies that are full of special effects, huge scenes and nice visual effects, may not be blown away by this movie. I know that many people may hate the concept, that many people don't want to see this kind of movies, but personally I find this a very welcome concept in a world where everybody seems to feel the need to copy what works, without being original.
Kresten has moved from a small Danish island, where his parents farm is, to Copenhagen in order to pursue an excellent career and unconcerned life. He marries his boss's daughter and is sure that he'll become the new boss as soon as his father-in-law decides to retire. But on his honeymoon he gets a phone call that his father died and that he'll have to return home. The only problem is that he has never told his wife that he had a father and a retarded brother, living together on the family farm. Once he arrives at the farm, he sees that much hasn't changed or been done since he left and he decides that they will need a housekeeper to clean up the mess. He sends an advertisement to a local newspaper and he immediately gets a reaction from Liva Psilander. Liva is a prostitute who wants to start a new life. She wants to escape from an anonymous psychopath who harasses her by phone and needs a lot of money to pay her brother Bjarke's school tuition. When Kresten's wife discovers the truth, or at least what she thinks the truth is, she breaks off the marriage and makes sure that Kresten will lose his job at her father's company and that he'll never get it back. Now Kresten will have to live together with his brother, with Livia and her little brother in the old farm on the island...
I can assure you that you'll have to get used to the way of filming at first. Perhaps you'll need two viewings to fully appreciate this movie, but once you can see past the style of filming, you'll see that this movie has a very beautiful and hearth warming subject. Personally I really liked it and that's why I give this movie at least an 8/10, even an 8.5/10.
Mifune is in my top five movies. I have probably watched this movie over three hundred times, and every time I am delighted by a small detail: the camera angle, the dialog, the consistency, the absolutely beautiful setting. The script/story is full of a vibrancy and living in a such a simple and classy way that you can't help but smile and believe in the immortality of these characters throughout human time, to be played out over and over again. And thus revealing the truth of the matter of love. Iben Hjejle, who plays Liva, is gorgeous and natural, an amazing amazing actress. She shines like the sun because she is allowed to. You can see she was allowed to "play" this character as she felt, and with heart. Anders Berthelsen, who plays Kresten, really absorbs the character, becoming this man who has survived the farm and made it to the top of monetary success, but finds love in the land and in Liva, as well as his brother Rud. Rud, played by Jesper Asholt, has to be the secret genius of this film. Every moment of every shot he is the gentle loving giant child. One actor who is going to be a huge success is Emil Tarding, who plays Liva's little brother Bjarke. What a smart clever funny young man. They all shine because of the writing, first and foremost, and because of the Dogma rules, second. Dogma is a revolution, pure, true, allowing movement and flow, like a mountain river in comparison to a polluted ditch, making it hard to watch our American 100 million dollar movies with any respect. Mifune is personal. It is obvious there was a small crew. One gaffer for example, so that it's as if you are there, the only one, inside the story, watching like a fly on the wall, enjoying the struggle through the confusion of life, as everyone. A massive crew of hundreds disturbs the acting, disturbs the vibe, becomes the movie, rather then the film being the focus. Somehow these larger and larger films just become money vampires for people to fill their bank accounts, rather then go to make something beautiful, as this. Anyway, one can see in watching this film how a movie should really "feel." You can understand that the actors felt comfortable and the whole thing came very naturally for them, rather then forced. One can immediately understand that the director Soren K. Jacobson was excited and felt the artist, allowing himself the opportunity to touch base with why we make films in the first place, art. When I get sick of Hollywood films (every other day) I watch Mifune and feel refreshed and I believe in the poetry of film once again. I can believe that a simple story is capable of being entertainment and moving, rather then great big complicated stories that consume the characters, and miss the mark.
This was the first film I had seen from the Dogma series and I didn't know quite what to expect. Mifune is actually a very moving and personal insight into the life styles of a small handfull of characters. The acting in the movie is superb and it follows the rules of dogma down to a tee (natural lighting, no sound effects etc.). The film at face value is also very funny, although the source of comedy is rather disturbing. This is a film that will stay fresh in your mind long after you leave the cinema. 7/10.
This is a great movie... I think that all the actors and actresses did
a very good job!... go see it! I think that Jesper Asholt did the best
part!.. you can't tell if his like that in real life :) but i know he
isn't... because I know him! then there is Iben and Anders who is
unbelievable good actors! I just loved the movie.. a great little
lovestory! I can't say that much about Emil playing Livas little
brother... I can only say that he is NOT like that in real life...
because I also know him! :) .. but i believe it was a great role to
play and I think he did it good!
Best regards Emil Tarding
Very emotional and romantic movie. Real love story, not a Cinderella
MSS is about small town people. The main hero has moved to the big city, succeeded in business and had married "the right" woman. But within a day he is forced to come back to his old house, to his ill-minded brother, to the problems and life of different scale. To the old samurai Toshiro Mifune, who lives in the cellar. But there he finally realizes how people from there are dear for him.
The main idea is "the life is not just roses, we have to overcome difficulties and always stay human to each other".
Lively actors performance and light atmosphere together with an exciting story make this movie a must-watch.
Terrific acting and mesmerising locations make this an easy movie to
love. Denmark's hazy, almost dreamy summer light lends a touch of magic
to this tale of a prodigal son's enforced return.
The main characters are exquisitely drawn. Berthelsen plays newlywed Copenhagen yuppie Kresten, who has denied the very existence of his family in far-off (or so he thought) Lolland. Rud, his retarded brother, is brought to us with great sensitivity and charm in a show-stealing performance by Jesper Asholt. Iben Hjejle sparkles as Liva, a city prostitute with steadily mounting problems, many of which can be traced directly to her brattish younger brother Bjarke, for whom she seems to have assumed parental responsibility.
Before long (and to nobody's great surprise), we see these two pairs of siblings brought crashing together by life's twists and turns. Kresten is summoned back to Lolland in the middle of his honeymoon by news of his father's death. He soon sees that Rud is incapable of looking after himself and is forced to stay on temporarily in Lolland.
His advertisement for a housekeeper attracts Liva's attention just as she finally wears out her welcome in Copenhagen. Bjarke lasts about five minutes in the big city without her, and soon follows her to Lolland.
The interplay between these makeshift cohabitees is wonderful, particularly Rud's relationships with Kresten and Bjarke. Endless summer evenings spent in Lolland's rural idyll with these four for company will soon have you believing in crop circles and cellar-dwelling samurai heroes.
On the back of some audacious tricks to get us this far, Kragh-Jacobsen delivers a transcendent hour or so in the middle of this film that reminds me of just why I love the cinema so much.
Having created this beautiful, shimmering landscape (both emotional and physical), and reminded us that love for your family - and perhaps, in a special way, your siblings - is its own reward, the movie finds it has nowhere particular left to go. There are supporting characters - some of them reasonably well-formed, others not - but once our quartet is established and the relationships between them start to blossom, any involvement from outsiders is unwelcome, unfulfilling and only likely to bring trouble.
It's no spoiler, for I mean it purely in structural terms, when I say that we are brought to a bumpy and unsatisfying ending to this ride through the lives of four people we soon grow to care a great deal about.
For me, though, despite its shortcomings, Mifune was a beautiful movie that I'm sure I'll watch again, many times.
I didn't know much about this movie going in, but I got a very nice
surprise. The Kresten plot -- a yuppie summoned home to deal with his
redneck past by the death of his father -- could have been a dull family
drama, but this movie was much better than that. It turns out that he has a
number of things about his past that he's kept secret from the people in his
city life -- his retarded brother, the badly run-down farm he grew up on,
and more. Some of his story is serious, and much is played for humor, with
good taste separating the drama and humor.
The Liva plot -- a woman escaping prostitution into an honest common job -- was completely opposite the Hollywood presentation of prostitution. (Hollywood either glamorizes it, uses it as an opportunity to add gratuitous sex before switching to the gratuitous violence.) Liva's prostitution pays fairly well, but it's clearly miserable, degrading, full of fear, and sometimes danger. The movie shows why she wants out with understated drama -- instead of rubbing her misery in our faces, it shows us hints of it, but leaves room for us to imagine just how bad it is for her.
When Liva escapes prostitution with a job as Kresten's housekeeper, the her part in the movie switches from drama to comedy, in the form of funny situations and events that feel natural, rather than contrived gag situations.
The acting was very good, particular Iben Hjejle's portrayal of Liva. Anders W. Berthelsen played Kresten well, and Emil Tarding's smaller role as Liva's young brother Bjarke was also very good.
I had never heard of the Dogme film series until after seeing this movie. The only one Dogme rule that really matters to the movie was that the plot must stick to real life and avoid superficial violence. That demanded a plot where the characters and story matter, and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen delivered. The simple camera work, natural lighting, minimal set dressing, etc., didn't improve the movie. But neither did the simple movie-making detract from the quality -- they deserve praise for doing so well within their rules of simplicity. One additional benefit of the movie-making simplicity rules was that it kept the budget low, so that more good movies like this could be made.
Mifune starts off a little slow and at first you are really not sure where
it is going. Thankfully this does not last for long. The characters have
many dimenions and the viewer quickly cares and grows more curiousity
towards the characters. Yes, many of the Dogme 95 guildlines are in this
film however (must like Festen... another fabulous film) it is the story
that makes this such a great film.
All characters in this film are completly different from eachother. The dialouge itself is not what makes this film great, it's the story of all these people combined.
Dogme films often show things that an American audience may have a hard time dealing with. If seeing something and learning from something that Americans can hide from is something that holds an interest than I highly recommend this film.
I´m a big fan of the innovative and daring Danish film scene and "the Dogma" has of course a big part of its success. "Mifune" follows in the right tracks but unlike previous dogma history I was delighted to encounter a happy ending for a change. Iben Hjejle and Anders W Berthelsen are perfect as the fumbelers that finally find each other and of course a Danish film, any film really, is not full without Paprika Steen.
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