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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic film

Author: filmmads
12 November 2004

This film came as a complete shock to me. What was this? A drama and feature film in one? I had to let go of my prejudices and flow along with the music the changing moods and visual steam of conscience. I experienced something which I have never seen in a documentary or feature film before. I experienced a steam of conscience, an inner story of how the famous photograph Jacob Riis developed a social conscience out of an experience of a love he could not achieve, I experienced the downtrodden New York at the turn of the Century; I experienced all the broken dreams of immigrants who were promised a golden land. This historical layer was then combined with the slums in the present just my mood. The film manages to draw an invisible line between past and present which reminds me of Resnais 'Night and Fog'. Flash of a Dream is a very subjective story told in a poetic form. It is very different, yes. But this does not make it less. In my opinion this is a very poetic, beautiful, soulful film. Absolutely a 10/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sighing of admiration

Author: Finne
15 August 2003

What a fabulous drama-documentary! Very well done in all aspects and details. As I've never been interested in photography, Jacob Riis was unknown to me when I happened to see the program. In a matter of minutes I was captivated by his colourful and touching text, brilliantly brought out with every nuance by Peter Stormare, and those extraordinary photos. And such a GREAT idea to include pictures of today's "other half", that idea really made the message of Riis carry through to present day.

I've never seen a documentary like this. Absolutely 10/10 and I strongly recommend this program to EVERYONE!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful portrait of a wonderful man

Author: Thomas Honoré Nielsen from Varde, Denmark
23 February 2002

Jacob A. Riis left Denmark around the turn of the century for the promised land only to find poverty. Via a chain of chance opportunities Riis ended a groundbreaking, socially aware photographer who changed a lot for the poor of America. A beautiful drama-documentary.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good subject, poor film

Author: Peter Brandt from Copenhagen, Denmark
14 April 2004

Drama-documentary "Flash of a Dream" chronologically tells the story of the Danish man Jacob A. Riis who emigrated to the United States and became famous for his photo documentarism about the poverty of New York in the early twentieth century. This subject is excellent; for Americans and Danes alike this is an interesting and relevant chapter in our shared history, and one that at least Danes are commonly unaware of.

However, the manner in which the story is told here leaves me cold. A subject which would certainly have made a good documentary, and quite possibly a good feature film, is turned into something which is both and neither. Swedish actor Peter Stormare narrates as Riis from a manuscript which is probably inspired by Riis' book "How the Other Half Lives", interrupted only by a few paragraphs narrated by Anna Christine Löf as Riis' lost love Elisabeth. Stormare speaks with a touch of a Scandinavian accent blended into an American accent so thick it seems affected. Most of all, though, it is the monotony and melancholy of his reading and the frequent sentimentality of the text that are annoyances.

This is accompanied by an imagery consisting of Riis' black-and-white photographs, black-and-white reconstructions of situations from Riis' experiences in New York, and some colour footage of present-day poverty in America. Trying to link the poverty of a century ago with the poverty of today is a good idea, but the attempt is much too unsubstantiated, and there is really very little of visual interest other than Riis' own photographs which are seen only briefly.

Some hand-written lines of Riis' writings are used as graphical elements, but there are no actual historical sources referenced in the film. While this may be natural in a dramatic work it leaves me as a viewer strangely uninterested and not much more knowledgeable about Jacob A. Riis and his work.

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