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Lad De Små Børn * Paprika Steen * 2004


Another film in the Danish summer series of the Dutch public television. This is a hard film to review, because the essential ingredient is something that you are left to guess for in the beginning. It becomes clear rather soon, but I wouldn’t want to give it away aforehand. The film begins with scenes of people who on first sight have nothing to do with eachother. Obviously something terrible has happened to some of them. The film tells the story of these two people process the events and how people in their neighbourhood stand in the situation. This isn’t a particularly joyfull film, but quite a nice one to see some time. -14/8/05-

Europa * Lars von Trier * 1991

Maybe not the best Von Trier film, but still this is the better kind of film. “Europa” tells the story of the American Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) who goes to the post-WWII Germany to be conductor in a sleeptrain. Germany is in ruins, a terrorist organisation practically rules the country and everybody tries to make life as livable as possible. The film is almost entirely in black and white with here and there some colour to bring things under attention. Further you don’t get to see the light of day, which makes the film extra grim and depressive. Also it is very slow and not much happens. Actually it is mostly an atmosphere-picture.

If you like the more independent/alternative kinds of films, this is one that you should see some time. <3>

Epidemic * Lars von Trier * 1988

I had seen this film before, but this was probably before I started this filmsection. I didn’t realise that it is as old as it is. “Epidemic” is a film in which filmwriters have five days to write a new script. They decide to write something about the plague. You see them writing the script, doing research, etc. The film is alright, but the end is terrible. 28/2/04

Dogville * Lars von Trier * 2003

Von Trier did it again. After no artificial light and no self-built stages he came up with something else: no stages at all! He worked it out brilliantly. The village of the title is a small village with 15 inhabitents. You can see the setting is a studio, the streets are named, houses are stripes on the ground with the name of the residents written in it and the bench says “old lady’s bench”. Here and there there is a part of stage, like a bed, a couch or the tip of a tower flying in the air. With this setting Von Trier manages to surprise you for about 60 or 90 minutes. The actors open fictional doors, knock in the air, etc. The funny thing is: you get used to it. The greates thing is that it makes things very literally transparrent. With one shot you can see the whole village and exactly what everyone is doing, but of course people can’t look inside eachothers houses, so this openness is only for the viewer. Light, dark, day, night, snow and fire and made with the least material possible, but are effective enough. Very well done!

BUT, the story is stretched out over three hours. It is told in a funny way though. A voiceover telling a story in nine chapters and a prolog, with a very nice sence of humour (British I would say). It was totally unnessary to use three long hours to make the film though. The story is about the simple village Dogville which lays in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of nowwhere. There is only one road to the village which even ends there. Nicole Kidman ends up in the village when fleeing from a group of criminals. The village hides Grace (Kidman), but as time goes, demands more and more in return. Overall “Dogville” is a charge against the market economy. The price of Grace gets higher with the danger the village is in. This eventually leads to inhumane behaviour and ends in an eruption of violence.
I like the idea behind the film, I love the way Von Trier worked it out. Totally unique with stage-playing more than film-acting, but I sure hope that there will be a shorter version of it some time. -3/9/03-

Dancer In The Dark * Lars Von Trier * 2000

It took a long time before I finally got to see this film. I did get the Selmasongs cd of Björk when it was just out. However I like some of Von Triers works, I don’t like all of them. Also I heard that “Dancer In The Dark” is a musical and quite depressive, so I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought anymore. A while ago I saw the DVD for a very low price and I couldn’t let it go. Still it took a while before I watched it.

I suppose most of you know the story behind the film? Von Trier wanted to make the film with a soundtrack of Björk. The two of them could get along so well that Björk eventually got the main part for which she even got a Golden Palm award.

Anyway, “Dancer In The Dark” isn’t as much a musical as I expected it to be, no “Moulin Rouge” for sure. It is a rather long film about the poor Cszech immigrant Selma who lives with her young son in a trailer on the American countryside. Besides being uneducated she and her son suffer from a heritable disease that causes them to slowly go blind. Selma saves all the money she can to be able to have her son operated. Herefor she really doesn’t spend a penny too much.

In all the misery Selma halfway lives in a dreamworld in which she sings in musicals. The music is really well incorporated in the film by the way, with sounds of dripping blood or machines as rhythm. The misery gets worse and worse though. Her befriended neighbour steals Selmas money and in the process of getting it back, she kills him. In a trial she is sentenced to death by hanging, but first she arranged her sons operation.

Quite a strange film overall. Original as more of Von Triers works. It is quite well-done, but definately no feel-good movie!

Bye Bye Blue Bird * Katrin Ottarsdóttir * 1999

Two girls arrive at the Faröer islands for a holiday of fun. Apparently the big-city-friends have more of these vacations, but this one turns out to have a special meaning. The Faröer islands are quite small and have an own kind of people who are mostly very religious. The landscape is magnificent, the life mostly keeps to elementary things. Rannvá (Hildigunn Eyðfinsdóttir) and Barba (Sigri Mitra Gaïni) are hip and cool and dress exuberantly. They plan to have some fun of the inhabitents, but they are not really impressent by the extravagant-looking girls. After visiting Rannvá’s mother the girls want to move up north for yet an unknown reason. The man Rúni (Johan Dalsgaard) who says to have to do business up north takes the girl for the film-long ride through the beautiful country, which in the end turned out to be a very significant trip for Barba who grew up on the islands.

The extravagant girls are as crazy as they seem and there are hilarious scenes of them ‘dancing’ outside the car or in a local club. Weird conversations and strange camera-work make this film quite humerous. Also grief melancholy and misunderstanding between the girls and their family and between themselves though. Yep, a real Scandinavian film that has it all, very nice I’m only not pleased with the last ten seconds… <3>

Breaking The Waves * Lars von Trier * 1996

A cheap DVD was made available just before “Dogville” came into the cinemas. “Breaking The Waves” is also a long film (158 min) and also divided in chapters. Also it is not too cheerfull and a bit too long.

Bess is a girl that is “not right in her head” who grew up in an extremely religious community in Scotland. She marries a ‘man of the world’ from an oil rig who gets paralysed after an accident. Bess’ faith in God (who she speaks with) and Jan (her husband) is tested.

Good acting, original story, but a bit too long.