Ditte (Lene Maria Christensen) owns a gallery, has a loving boyfriend (Pilou Asbæk) and her dream job in New York is within reach. But Ditte is also the youngest generation of the famous bakery dynasty, Rheinwald, and when her beloved, but dominating father (Jesper Christensen) comes down with a serious illness, Ditte is faced with the grueling decision: To pursue her own dreams, or to continue the legacy of her family. A Family is a moving and modern story about complicated family ties, the new wife, the new kids - and about following your dreams to find your own place in history. Written by
Two generations of a old bakery dynasty, dramatic developments around a father with cancer, with several sub-plots on dilemma's for remaining family members
I saw this film at Noordelijk Filmfestival 2011 (in Leeuwarden, province of Friesland NL). Rikard is a family father and the proud owner of a bakery his family had for generations, even proclaimed as Purveyor to the Royal Household. While being treated for cancer, he was bed bound for some time and was nursed by Sanne, with whom he got several children though not being formally married. The story starts with the receipt of a letter declaring him cured. During a subsequent celebration, Rikard and Sanne announce their marriage. Life seems on track again, until a new illness is diagnosed, alas with a fatal prognosis this time. Rikard has to find a suitable successor to take over the bakery.
His favorite daughter Ditte, from an earlier marriage, lives together with Peter. She finds out to be pregnant, nearly at the same time as she gets a new job requiring a move to New York. Moreover, the new job will be demanding, leaving little or no time to raise a child. As if that is not enough for a single person to bear, having to choose between a new job and an abortion, other dilemma's are lurking ahead. Her father also pressures her to take over the bakery when he is gone, considering her the only one who understands the business. And to complete the puzzle facing her, her friend Peter decides to move to New York anyway, with of without her, seeing more prospects there for his artistic ambitions.
Sanne finds it more and more difficult to cope with the increasingly sick Rikard. Contrary to the time of his earlier sickness, during which she altruistically nursed him, Sanne admits she can't take any more and wants him moved to a hospice.
The other family members have problems along the same line, some due to the immanent death of Rikard, some arising from independent sources. Though limited, even the younger children have an integral role in what happens, and all of them act very natural. Needless to condense subsequent events here, as the overall picture will be clear from the above. Lots of ingredients come together all at once, obviously causing fundamental choices and shifts in mutual relationships. Family ties are stretched far beyond their limits in the process. We follow all this very closely, with concise dialogs because a picture paints a thousand words.
All in all, this film has everything in it to attract a broad audience. The various interwoven sub-plots create a natural background for all family members to display their reactions, how it influences future lives and relationships with others. This together forms the building blocks of this film, with several moving and involving scenes as the result. Everyone's backgrounds and motives are portrayed at suitable moments. As a viewer we can easily feel sympathy for each of them. There are no obvious good or bad characters, only good or bad situations. I gave the maximum score for the audience award when leaving the theater.
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