Kristian Levring – The King Is Alive (2000)

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When a bus breaks down in the desert, the passengers decide to stage “King Lear.”

Thinking Inside the Box
Rating * Has redeeming facet

The King Is Alive, directed and cowritten by Kristian Levring, is the fourth film to have the dubious honor of qualifying for certification under the rules of the Dogma 95 manifesto, whose professed aim is to get back to the basics of realism — shooting, for example, in natural locations with handheld cameras, direct sound, and natural lighting. But what’s basic or realistic and what isn’t, in terms of film history and technique? The manifesto also insists that movies be shot in color, a rather ahistorical reading of what’s basic — unless one labels all possible uses of color in film realistic and all possible uses of black and white artificial. Continue reading

Juan Pinzas – Dias de voda Aka Wedding Days [+Extras] (2002)

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from imdb:
For starters the audience must be aware of the fact that this is a film that is part of the DOGME 95 Movement, described as follows: ‘the goal of the Dogme collective is to purify film-making by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors’ performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood’ – superficial action such as murders, no special lighting and must be in color, film must be shot on location with hand held cameras, director must not be credited, etc. Given these restrictions the story and the action of DIAS DE BODA (‘WEDDING DAYS’) seem much more immediate and the lapses in fluidity of the story can be forgiven – to a point. Continue reading

Mona J. Hoel – Når nettene blir lange AKA Cabin Fever (2000)

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The entire extended family is happily on its way to a nostalgic Christmas at a rented cabin in the mountains. The cabin becomes cramped, however, when mom and dad and four grown-up children with their respective families, a dog and in-laws from Poland squeeze inside the frozen cabin walls in 30-below-zero weather.

Especially when the kerosene stove leaks, one of the children suffers from asthma, one of the daughters is lovesick, mom desperately tries to stay happy and dad is oh so thirsty. The Polish father-in-law sings his beautiful love ballads, the Swedish neighbour drops by for a slow waltz, the children go ice fishing, the dog wallows wildly in the close quarters, mom makes huge meals – and aren’t we having a wonderful time? Daughter Liv wishes for reconciliation, fervently hoping that there is a future for herself and her family. Yet at the same time she lances a boil which hides more than her father’s “skeletons” under the mattress. Continue reading

James Merendino – Amerikana [+Extras] (2001)

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imdb wrote:
Following the Dogma rules does not make this film hard to watch… In the end, it is a great story and shows that Merendino can be a mature film maker.

It;s about two guys a Vespa and a trip from South Dakota to Los Angeles.

It’s funny, insightful and tragic… If you can, see it.

What is most important that it is honest… And it is different than the other Dogma films in that it looks good.

It is hard to find, but this IS a classic. 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

Susanne Bier – Elsker dig for evigt AKA Open Hearts (2002)

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Quote:
Cecilie is devastated when her fiance Joachim is seriously injured in a car accident and is paralysed from the waist down. She begins an affair with Niels, a doctor at the hospital where Joachim is being treated. Their relationship is further complicated by the fact that the doctor’s wife Marie was the driver that caused the accident in the first place. Continue reading