The third film produced under the strict guidelines of Dogme 95 the Danish filmmaking collective founded by directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg writer-director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's comedy is a double surprise. Unlike previous
Dogma offerings, it's both enjoyably lighthearted and proof that even the most stridently purist approach to filmmaking can produce a cliched romantic comedy. As Kersten Jensen (Anders W. Berthelsen) tells it, he's the Danish version of the great American success story. Left to fend for himself after his parents' death, Kersten has become a successful businessman he's even married the boss's daughter (Sofie Grabol). But the truth of the matter is that 10 years earlier Kersten fled the humble family farm, coldly turning his back on his widowed father and mentally retarded brother
Rud (Jesper Asholt), and hasn't looked back. When Kersten gets the news that his father has died, he must once again confront his humble origins. Kersten finds the farm and Rud in a shambles, and decides to stay only long enough to bury his father, sell the farm and find his brother a good home.
Answering his ad for a housekeeper is Liva (Iben Hjejle), a beautiful prostitute on the run from a scary stalker. Liva takes a shine to Kersten; Kersten, a man with some honesty issues, tells her he's single. And as his sense of familial responsibility deepens, Kersten starts to fall in love.
Vinterberg's brilliant CELEBRATION not only justified the Dogma "vow of chastity" natural lighting, location sound, handheld camera only but actually made a powerful, emotionally shattering argument for insisting on such "honest" naturalism. Kragh-Jacobsen, on the other hand, seems
to have taken Dogma's strictures as challenging obstacles to be overcome, and managed to produce an entertaining but quite ordinary film in spite of them.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: The third film produced under the strict guidelines of Dogme 95 the Danish filmmaking collective founded by directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg writer-director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's comedy is a double surprise. Unlike previous Do… (more)