A 40-year marriage is carefully delineated in WALTZING REGITZE, a subdued, bittersweet drama which takes place largely in the mind of Karl Age (Frits Helmuth), a somewhat stunned-looking old fellow at a dinner party being given by his wife Regitze (Ghita Norby).
All their friends are present, and a distracted Karl reminisces about his first, chance meeting with Regitze on the eve of WWII. Their subsequent life together unreels in a series of flashbacks, showing the couple coping with ostensibly mundane trials of life (whether to baptize the baby, an
unemployment crisis, pretentious friends, and so on), but a common theme links each episode: headstrong Regitze has always taken the lead in their marriage, surprising and sometimes alarming her rather timid husband. In truth, her boldness immeasurably enriches Karl and others around them. When
Karl's memories catch up to the present the cause for his reverie is revealed--Regitze has just been diagnosed as terminally ill. Her decision to hold the cheerful party anyhow typifies her lifelong attitude.
Along with Karl the viewer realizes belatedly just how good his domineering wife has actually been for him. The message is simple but profound, and the filmmakers should have found a better way to drive it home than the nameless-fatal-disease cliche at the end. The final third of the picture
generally strains under such melodrama, and sentimental stitchery shows. Still, the performances are unreproachable, the flashback structure drifts agreeably down the years, and the film as a whole holds a quiet power.
Director Kaspar Rostrup has worked mainly for the stage. His first motion picture, JEPPE ON THE HILL, was selected by Danish film critics as the best film of 1981. WALTZING REGITZE, its follow-up, received the same honor and represented Denmark at various international film festivals, as well as
being nominated for a 1990 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. (Adult situations, nudity.)
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: A 40-year marriage is carefully delineated in WALTZING REGITZE, a subdued, bittersweet drama which takes place largely in the mind of Karl Age (Frits Helmuth), a somewhat stunned-looking old fellow at a dinner party being given by his wife Regitze (Ghita N… (more)