Kaj is an alcoholic living on the money the Danish state is providing him. Him and his friends spend their time drinking beer at a public bench. One day Kaj's life turns upside down when a young lady and her child moves in next to him.
Marius Sonne Janischefska,
Stine Holm Joensen
While shifting airports by bus in Africa, a group of passengers is driven to the middle of nowhere in the desert by the driver that is following a defective compass. They run out of gas and they reach a ghost village inhabited by a single man, Kanana. One passenger that has experience with desert gives five advices to the others to survive in the spot, among them to keep the spirit high, while he travels through the desert seeking for help. One intellectual in the stranded group suggests the performance of King Lear to keep the morale of the survivors. Along the days, while hope decreases, the tension increases among the survivors. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is one of those films with a great potential. Brilliant actors, a debut from a very interesting director and a haunting "Survivor"-ish plot.
But it does not work at all.
To start with the good thing: The cinematography is stunning. The beauty of the Namibian desert shows itself as a merciless surrounding, also in the pictures. And then there is the acting. Quite allright. Jennifer Jason Leigh has never been better. Bruce Davison also seems to have developed his character from Altman's "Short Cuts".
Then the disappointments: Janet McTeer. Romane Bohringer. And the plot. Why on earth does Levring pick "Lear" for their play? The whole idea of letting Shakespeare articulate their despair and inner longings does not work. It seems like a facade. And it is clear that the tragedies takes place because of the choice of "Lear". They just needs to fit in in the Script by Levring and Academy Award winner Anders Thomas Jensen.
And the sex. It takes about three days, then more or less all of the characters are sexually frustrated. Dahh!! Sex is always the easy way out when you are in need of a crisis in a plot. Janet McTeer's part totally falls apart, mainly because of that ridiculous idea. The sex makes the plot fall promptly to the ground. Instead they could have focused on the dialogue. There must have been conversation between all of the characters, but we mainly see them talking in smaller groups. Their talking though is as dead as "Lear" and the rest of the film.
"The King Is Alive" still is not the worst Danish dogme '95 movie yet. But comparing it to the most recent of the homegrown dogme '95 films "Italiensk for begyndere" by Lone Scherfig, this one fails badly. It is not a good film. It is a bad one. But it is beautiful.
10 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?