Mifune - Dogme 3

Mifune - Dogme 3

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Dogme 95 manifesto, which originated in Denmark and lays down strict rules of how a film should be made (no fakery, no sets, no artificial lighting, no gismology, no hint of Hollywood), has spawned two movies so far: the fractious family reunion, Festen, and Lars von Trier's emotionally bereft, The Idiots. This is the third and best.

Writer/director, Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, is less concerned with the base elements of human nature and more on the concept of redemption. Kresten (Anders W Berthelsen) is an ambitious high-flyer in Copenhagen who marries the boss's daughter. On their wedding night, he receives a call. His father has died. Since he has told his wife and everyone else that he's an orphan, embarrassed by the poverty of his rural background, there is some explaining to do. Instead, he takes off for the island of Lolland to sort things out.

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This is not so easy. His father's farm is a wreck. His brother, Rud (extraordinary performance from Jesper Asholt), is mentally retarded. The neighbours are cretins, or degenerates. He advertises for a housekeeper, in the hope of finding a mother figure for Rud, so that he can return to the luxury of his city lifestyle. Liva (Iben Hjejle), a call girl on the run from a stalker, answers the ad, followed by her rebel son, who has been expelled from school. And then Kresten's wife decides to see for herself what kind of home her husband was raised in...

None of the characters are monsters, with the possible exception of a childhood acquaintance who specialises in seducing friends' wives. The performances are generous and affectionate. For once Dogme rules don't interject unduely. The handheld camera is not suffering from Parkinsons and the script does not sound as if it was written yesterday. No doubt Kragh-Jacobsen will be accused of selling out, because these people try to be nice, try to be kind, against all the odds, in circumstances that encourage despair.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A man who has lied about his family has to come clean when his father dies.
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Director: Soren Kragh Jacobsen

Writer: Soren Kragh Jacobsen

Starring: Anders W Berthelsen, Iben Hjejle, Jesper Asholt, Sofie Grabel, Emil Tarding, Anders Hove

Year: 1999

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: Denmark, Sweden

Festivals:

EIFF 1999

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