A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Jacob Pederson lives in shanty surroundings in Bombay, India, and assists in the running of Anand Orphanage and School. He had attempted a number of projects to assist orphans, including child prostitutes - all quite in vain. He has adopted a young male orphan, Pramod, and takes special care of him. With growing pressure on the facilities, which is on the verge bankruptcy, the orphanage receives an offer of funding from wealthy Danish citizen, Jorgen, which may put an end to its problems. In order to obtain the money, Jacob must travel to Copenhagen, meet with Jorgen, get financial assistance, and be back to celebrate Pramod's 8th birthday. He sets forth, is received by Christian Refner, an employee and future son-in-law of Jorgen. Jacob is shown all possible courtesy and even housed in a posh apartment. He subsequently meets with Jorgen, shows him video-tapes and submits that a few Kroner could really save several lives which would otherwise succumb to minor illnesses and infections.... Written by
First Danish film to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 16 years. See more »
When the couple gets married, the rings are placed on the fingers, but no visible in scenes post marriage. The customs in Denmark may be different, but throughout the film, wedding bands, rings, etc. migrate from hand to hand (wedding band on the right hand for women, left for men), and also disappear. See more »
Jørgen Lennart Hannson:
Every acquaintance, every friend, every person who has a place in your heart, Iit is the time with them that really means something. Nothing else matters.
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Who said secrets aren't fun? Susanne Bier's After The Wedding reveals a deliciously profound and emotionally-impacting conundrum that draws the audience into the story early on. As a film technique, Bier's method of storytelling is effectively engaging. In fact, it's the director's ability to manipulate our emotions as viewers that makes this film so wonderfully unique. With the inclusion of a cross-cultural perspective not typically seen in Nordic film, After the Wedding is one of the more important films to emerge from Denmark in recent years.
One distinct aspect of the film is its use of raw emotion, a factor rarely seen to this extent in traditional Hollywood films. Much of this quality can be attributed to the film's actors and actresses. Mads Mikkelsen does a superb job playing Jacob, a man who's past roots entwine with the other characters in the film more heavily than he previously assumed. Situated in India, Jacob leaves for Copenhagen to meet with a wealthy man named Jorgen, played by Rolf Lassgård, to receive financial aid. To help get accustomed to Jacob and facilitate his trust, Jorgen invites Jacob to his daughter's wedding that evening. While there, the audience learns of a particular secret that turns out to be an emotional bombshell for both Jacob other members of the wedding.
The film really shines in its use of emotion to drive the story. Indeed, the most powerful moments of the film do take place after the titular wedding. Jacob, who was previously committed to returning to India to partake in his surrogate son's 8th birthday, must make difficult choices in lieu of the truths revealed at the wedding. Jorgen's wife Helene, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen, must conflict with her husband's consistent nondisclosure of the truth. Jorgen's daughter Anna, Stine Fischer Christensen, learns many of the hardships of marriage and commitment. Each of these instances are linked with a particularly poignant and powerful scene that draws the audience into the situation. One scene in particular pulls at our heartstrings, as we uncomfortably watch the previously indomitable Jorgen collapse in a fit of weeping and screaming. Bier manages to successfully make the audience empathize with the characters in the story, a difficult task and something not common in Hollywood convention.
Another element where After The Wedding succeeds is in the portrayal of cross-cultural experiences. Jacob's character is defined by his commitment to social justice. His motivations are clear from the beginning - he desires additional funding for his orphanage. After the wedding, when facts change, Jacob's moral obligations keep him in Denmark to continue doing the morally right thing. Without revealing too much of the film's plot, Jacob evolves into a morally capable character who satisfies the role he was presented. As it turns out, there is a strong Scandinavian presence in many social projects across the globe. It was refreshing to see this illustrated in Jacob's character.
The film also utilized unique techniques to achieve its desired emotional response. Many of the tense moments employ a cinematographic technique where the camera zooms in on a character's eyes with a shallow focus. While not practical from a storytelling standpoint, the viewer is immediately linked to the deeper thoughts and emotions of the character by focusing on the eye. Some say the eye is the gateway into the soul, and Bier clearly understood this concept. Another technique that impacts our emotions is the use of unusual jump cuts within the same shot. Often, Bier will reveal emotion by showing instead of telling. These jarring cuts indicate that something is wrong without explicitly stating it though dialogue. One could make the argument that this style of film-making is unique to Beir as a female director. It's interesting to witness character development through a female lens as opposed to the traditional masculine one. More time is spent on character relationships and action implications than a Hollywood film, which would either spend the time attempting to add humor or driving the plot forward with melodramatic instances.
After The Wedding is unlike other films in that it manages to hook the viewer in an emotionally engaging way. Through its unusual but effective camera and editing tricks, refreshingly realistic perspectives of Scandinavian archetypes and a compelling storyline, Susanne Bier has produced a wonderful piece. Don't let this film be a secret.
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