Sunday, May 27, 2012

Euro 2012: Danish Films

Entry #5 of the Euro 2012 Book & Film Spotlight looks at the two Danish films.

Applause (2009, Martin Zandvliet)

Applause Danish film

Thea (Paprika Steen) is a woman clinging on the last threads of normality while her life is on the verge of collapsing. She is a supreme theatrical artist, confident and fiery, but is the complete opposite outside the stage, venerable and tame. Thea desperately wants to stay in touch with her two sons, who are in sole custody of their father, and tries to prove that she is a worthy mother. However, one step forward for her results in two backwards steps as her emotional pitfalls are never far away. The film splices scenes in between her plays and her non-professional life thereby gradually erasing the line between her theatrical persona and real personality. This style makes for an engaging character study with Paprika Steen putting in a career defining performance. The intense focus on her character and theatrical setting reminds a bit of John Cassavetes’s Opening Night.

Terribly Happy (2008, Henrik Ruben Genz)

Terribly Happy

The story and setting of the Danish film Terribly Happy, including the town and the bar, could comfortably exist in any of the Coen brothers’ films. Full credit to Henrik Ruben Genz for crafting a fine noir film, packed with a steamy affair and a murder, that maintains a tight tension until the end. Also, the film features a remarkable drinking stand-off sequence meant to literally determine the last man standing.


Sam Juliano said...

I have seen TERRIBLY HAPPY months back. I liked it reasonably well, though I'll admit it hasn't stayed with me.

Great work here!

Sachin said...

Thanks Sam. Only a few scenes truly stayed with me.