Søren Kragh-Jacobsen – Mifunes sidste sang aka Mifune’s Last Song (1999)

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As developed by Danish directors Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, Dogma 95’s so-called “Vow Of Chastity” places restrictions on filmmakers—use only handheld cameras, real locations, and available light while avoiding superficial action (weapons, murders, etc.) and genre pieces—for the ostensible purpose of a truer, more organic cinema. Critics anxious to dismiss the movement were silenced by Vinterberg’s entry, Dogma 1: The Celebration, a devastating black comedy made all the more powerful by its stripped-down, home-movie-like quality. But the Dogma tenets seem arbitrary in Dogma 3: Mifune, which follows the rules but misses the point, employing cruddy naturalism to pass off a contrived and deeply conventional story. Had Von Trier and Vinterberg thought to include the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold or estranged-autistic-brother (a la Rain Man) under “superficial action,” director Søren Kragh-Jacobsen might have improvised something less predictable. On its own modest terms, however, Mifune is still a well-performed and mildly affecting provincial drama that shares Vinterberg’s interest in family, if not his wit and innovation. Continue reading

Morten Arnfred – Måske ku’ vi aka Could We Maybe (1976)

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During a bank holdup, an early teenaged boy and girl (Karl Wagner and Marianne Svendsen) are taken hostage by the robbers. After a very pleasant captivity, during which they play Monopoly with their captors, they escape into the countryside. The two consummate their first love and have a number of delightful adventures but eventually must return to their everyday lives. Continue reading

Ole Christian Madsen – Kærlighedshistorie AKA Kira’s Reason: A Love Story (2001)

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En Kærlighedshistorie AKA Dogme # 21

REVIEW by Scott Tobias (from avclub.com):

The 21st film to receive official Dogme certification, and one of the few unharmed by its minimalist limitations, Ole Christian Madsen’s powerful Kira’s Reason: A Love Story could be the undercard to A Woman Under The Influence, John Cassavetes’ seminal study of a marriage and mental illness. Beginning with a wife’s return home after time in a psychiatric ward, both films gain their tension from the strained attempt to return to normalcy after everything has irrevocably changed, a transitional phase made all the more painful by brief flashes of the couple’s old dynamic. Though Madsen’s middle-class heroes have little in common with Cassavetes’ more combative blue-collar counterparts, their reunion is similarly raw, painful, and unexpectedly romantic, as they try to redefine their relationship around a new set of terms. Looking and acting uncannily like a young Genevieve Bujold, Stine Stengade gives a touchingly unhinged performance as the title character, a madwoman who tries to find her footing as a wife and mother after being committed for an unspecified condition. While she was away, her husband Lars Mikkelsen had an affair with her sister, but he seems genuinely willing to grant her every opportunity to reenter their lives. Continue reading

Natasha Arthy – Se til venstre, der er en Svensker AKA Old, New, Borrowed and Blue (2003)

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REVIEW by Anji Milanovic (from plume-noire.com):

In Old, New, Borrowed and Blue director Natasha Arthy begins the film with a signed certificate of authenticity from the Dogma school. By the film’s end, however, it’s clear that she has taken the rules of Dogma and used them to make her own engaging film, instead of an exercise in philosophical experimentation.

Katrine (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is a few days from tying the knot to her dopey but affable fiance (Soren Byder). Her sister (Lotte Anderson) is locked up in a mental ward following a painful break up to Thomsen (Bjorn Kjellman), who abandoned her and took off to Africa. Enter Thomsen on Katrina’s doorstep and together they take off to prepare for Katrine’s wedding. Continue reading

Annette K. Olesen – Forbrydelser AKA In Your Hands (2004)

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Anna (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) is a newly graduated theologian who has given up trying to have a baby with her husband Frank (Lars Ranthe). After accepting a temporary post as chaplain in a women’s prison, she soon hears stories about a new inmate called Kate (Trine Dyrholm) and her magical touch that can cure prisoners suffering from heroin withdrawal. Even though Kate detects that Anna is pregnant even before Anna knows it herself, Anna remains sceptical of the inmate’s powers, and horrified by the crime that got her convicted in the first place – but then an awful moral dilemma arises that requires Anna to believe in miracles. Continue reading

Carl Theodor Dreyer – Ordet AKA The Word [+extra] (1955)

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Plot:
A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s daughter. Putting the lie to the term “organized religion,” Ordet (The Word) is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy. Layering multiple stories of faith and rebellion, Dreyer’s adaptation of Kaj Munk’s play quietly builds towards a shattering, miraculous climax.

Review:
‘Powerful’ doesn’t do justice to this 1955 exploration of life, death and faith from Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer. Based on Kaj Munk’s 1932 play, ‘Ordet’ is an austere, realist work on one level as it joins a farming family in their Jutland home over a short but devastating period of time. Continue reading