|Index||4 reviews in total|
Director Annette K. Olesen has given us a sweet, funny, melancholic,
sometimes dark exposition of a family that is 'dysfunctional' only in
the popular American sense. Within the confines of this Dogme exercise,
we see much deeper into the pain and eccentricities of a family that's
swinging on a creaky hinge, living not with disasters but with 'minor
mishaps'. These 'mishaps' are the stuff of which humanity, and art, are
It would be hard to find better 'ensemble' acting anywhere. Jorgen Tiil as John, the widowed patriarch, gives us a splendid study of a misunderstood man who makes the terrible societal mistake of trying to please everyone, of being too affectionate with his awkward, painfully shy, 29-year-old daughter Marianne, played with stunning effectiveness by Maria Wurgler Rich. There are whispers of incest spread by sister Eva (Jannie Fourschou), an off-the-wall (literally) talentless painter and sometimes Haiku writer.
There is a lot of lovely, quirky comedy in this film, but a lot of pain too, particularly when we study Marianne. In the opening sequences, while mourning for her mother, who is hit (almost comically) by a truck, the other family members just want to get the whole funeral business over with. Marianne, through Rich's sheer depth of acting skill, shows us shattering reactions of sorrow. She wants to be good, to cook for her father, to love him, to fill a huge void in his life. In society of course, such things are easily misinterpreted. Demonstrating TOO MUCH familial love is strange; there must be something more to it. The 'dysfunction' here belongs to society itself: when too much loving is going on, something must be amiss. This theme extends itself to the family throughout the film.
There are layers of meaning in this film that are unpeeled for us through terrific acting and direction. And yet there is still more for us to examine when it ends. When a film makes you WANT to examine more, then to me it's done its job very well indeed. Highly recommended.
it was shown on dutch TV this month, and I found this film absolutely
original, refreshing, and with lots of good laughs. it reminded me in
many ways of the marvellous french films of the 1960's, with actors
such as jean pierre cassel.
the acting was fantastic too. the perennially shocked eyes of marianne, the weird eva who can't paint without the urge to go to the toilet first, and father john who plays dead all the time, or faint, without leaving any impression on anybody except a very wide yawn, 'oh, come on, john, finish your meal, will you?' when he has just dropped his head dramatically in his overfilled plate. great!
A really enjoyable film. It reminded me a little of the recent "Italian For Beginners", in being a low key observational comedy. The director apparently employed the Mike Leigh method of film-making, where the actors are encouraged to develop the storyline through improvisation. Now, I'm not a big fan of what Leigh seems so often to achieve through this method: monstrously distorted characters who I find rather aggravating (though, I must admit that the method did work brilliantly in "Naked" and "Secrets and Lies"). Thankfully, this film doesn't go down that route. Some of the characters are certainly odd, but fit in well with the tone of the film. Worth seeing.
"Små Ulykker" was the film to continue the fine Danish tradition for awards
at the Berlin film festival. The movie displays itself in the footsteps of
"Mifune", "Italian For Beginners" (two other Berlin winners) in an impro
style like "Let's Get Lost", or Mike Leigh.
Centered around Marianne, this film elaborates on the subjects of family and loss but the attempt of facing tragedy with a smile does not succeed. Also there is very little sympathy for the characters here. Pia (Jannie Faurschou) and Tom (Henrik Prip) is half the family but is here only presented as shallow stereotypes and only Jørgen Kiil as the father and Maria Würgler Rich faces the challenge of evolving their characters with a good result.
The film fails as you do not want to like this characters. That way you don't really care with them - or the film. "Små Ulykker" may be award winning, but never the less it is boring and indifferent and leaves the viewer cold and careless.
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