Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

An older man who loves literature, fly fishing and polyphonic classical compositions finds a wounded woman on the street and takes her in to his apartment. She refuses to see a doctor or go the police, but prefers a cup of tea with some milk AND to recount the man her adventures as a nymphomaniac.

This first part of Lars von Trier’s latest cinematic project – you cannot really call it a movie – is intriguing enough to be anticipating the second part. You get to learn more about the main character Joe’s sex addiction, even though she refuses to see it as an addiction because she wants sex out of lust not out of necessity. And that’s basically it.

Maybe it’s me, but I didn’t see any lust in this woman’s expressions. Is that bad acting of the newcomer Stacy Martin? Not really. It’s just bad storytelling and bad directing. I am not a fan of Mr von Trier at all. I never get all the fuzz about his releases. But for every redundant scene (the first five minutes, Christian Slater getting his ass wiped after shitting himself, …), there’s a cool moment that makes this a cinema experience worth discovering (Rammstein blasting out of nowhere, the polyphonic sex session explanation, …) For the moment, I still feel that the woman (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) is making the stuff up. But there’s a scene where her caretaker (Stellan Skarsgård) points out the silliness  and incredibility of her stories , to which she replies “Do you prefer to believe what I say and be entertained or do you prefer to not believe it and be bored?”. Well, bored I wasn’t. In awe neither. Entertained yes.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1937390

 

If life is shit, then life in Cité Soleil, a slum of Haiti’s capital Port Au Prince is the amount of diarrhea from 100.000 dysentery affected tourists. It’s an area controlled by gang leaders who are in constant war with each other and in constant war with both the government and it’s opposition.

The political situation in the country is quite difficult to understand and this ‘documentary’ is not really explaining it. But basically this movie takes place in the year that former president Aristide left the country and rebels/opposition took over control.

A Danish director managed to film two gang leaders from the notorious slum during that year. How he was able to gain their trust is unclear. But he did and the result is quite disturbing. The gang leaders are brothers, they each control a part in the huge slum. They have a love/hate relationship with each other, which is very confusing. They are physically quite different, so it’s weird that – by the end of the movie – the director still writes the names of the brothers when they both appear on the screen. As if he assumes the viewers still won’t be able to tell them apart. They are very intriguing people. One, called 2pac, is a wannabe rapper. The other, Bily, is more serious and even has political aspirations. They both are smart. And quite likable. But their adoration of power and violence makes them no kids to fool around with. If they were fictitious, they would be superfly motherfuckers. But they are real, so it’s more difficult to fully empathize with them.

Luckily there is bonus material on the dvd, which is worth watching. The main feature feels like a snippet. By the time the end credits roll you feel disappointed because there are so many other things you want to know about these guys. The extras don’t really explain that much more, but it makes you realize that the director had to make a decision on how he wanted to tell the story. He totally decided to tell it from the brothers’ perspective. So it’s very biased. Several critics blame him for not being more neutral and for taking sides. But I guess he had to do so in order to get this movie made. I wonder if he ever asked them questions, because all they do is talk into the camera and say what they feel like saying.

The third main character in the movie is even more intriguing. It’s a volunteer worker who befriends the brothers and ends up being the girlfriend of 2pac. Throughout the entire movie I couldn’t help thinking that she worked together with the director. It felt like she was (voluntarily) used as bait to get the trust of these gangsters. I’d love to meet her and ask her about this. I’d interrogate her for hours about her relationship with these guys. You never really get to learn why she’s in Haiti really. It feels like she’s just there to party with the bad guys. I’m sure she must have done so helpful work too. And I’m really interested in learning about these kids’ past. They aren’t just street (or slum) smart, they are very eloquent both in their creole-French and in English. Oh well.

It’s NOT a documentary. It’s a showcase. But it’s a fascinating one. Endure the unimpressive beginning and wait until the volunteer worker becomes very present in the story. Don’t expect to understand the Haitian situation after this movie. Don’t expect neutrality. And don’t expect a Haitian Cidade De Deus either. It really isn’t that cool. It’s sad. But true.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0479046

the whole film is on youtube dubbed in French, like a real documentary

Melancholia

Posted: January 8, 2013 in 2011, Denmark, Drama, France, Germany, Sweden

When someone says/writes that he/she likes the latest movie of Lars Von Trier, I always wonder if they’ve actually seen the movie or not. I never believe it when someone claims to like the vision and artistic talent of Von Trier. I think people just say it because it’s the artistically correct thing to say. It makes them feel part of the ‘in crowd’ who knows all about art.

Well, I do NOT like Lars Von Trier’s movies. I tried to watch Melancholia, because, well, it did get good reviews and several people I know liked it. Or said they did. But this is just NOT my kind of movie. The stories always bother me so much, that I cannot even enjoy the cinematography and the art direction, nor the acting. Same here. I’m sure Kirsten Dunst is doing a great job here, but her character is so utterly uninteresting and the setting is so incredibly boring that I just didn’t care.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527186/

 

Efter Bryllupet – **1/2

Posted: October 29, 2011 in 2006, Denmark, Drama, XX1/2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457655/

A Danish volunteer worker reluctantly goes back to his home country to obtain much necessary money for his orphanage project in India. One rich industrial in particular wants to finance the cause, but seems to have other intentions for flying over the volunteer worker. A big secret gets revealed at the wedding of the daughter of the industrial, which sets off the movie. Another big secret gets revealed in the third act, which leads to a dramatic finale.

The story setup is very simple and allows the director to focus on the many personal aspects of the main characters with hundreds of close up scenes that show every single emotion possible. From anger to frustration to love to disappointment. The directing is pretty intimate, but efficient. This is an actor’s movie and the acting is superb! So why add special effects or long scenery shots? The story however just isn’t all that exciting and there are parts at the end of the movie that could have easily been cut out. It’s because of those scenes that I don’t find the movie an absolute must. But it was a pleasant surprise.

Bought this dvd in Denmark, because I wanted to get see some typical Danish movie that isn’t known outside of Denmark.  Just watched (with subtitles) and I didn’t quite get it. Sure it’s a dark comedy and maybe a manifest against greed. But it didn’t work for me.

Two butchers decided to open up a butcher shop on their own. When they accidentally forget someone in the meat cooler, they aren’t sure what to do with the dead body. Until a customer needs a large amounts of steaks and one of the butchers, starts to, well, cut of steaks from the dead guy’s thighs. Very predictable.

I smiled maybe three times because of the absurdity. But I never laughed.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0342492/

Damn, I just see that they have the whole movie online: