Wednesday, August 20, 2008


DK (c) 2006 Nimbus Rights. Premiere: 2007. P: Stine Spang-Hansen. D: Hans Fabian Wullenweber. SC: Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel. DP: Jacob Kusk - shot on 35mm film - digital intermediate: Digital Lab - color - 35mm film print 1:2,35. Starring Sonja Richter (Cecilie Larsen), Claus Riis Östergaard (Mads Larsen), Anders W. Bethelsen (Per Hartmann), Kurt Ravn (Karsten Levinsen), Lars Mikkelsen (Lasse N. Damgaard). 93 min. Print: Det Danske Filminstitut with English subtitles by Steve Schein. Viewed at Espoo Ciné, Méliès d'Argent, Louhisali, Espoo, 19 August 2008. - Distressingly obvious digital intermediate look in the print. - A horror film with paranormal themes, ghostly apparitions and the question of reincarnation. Subtexts: sexual violence, basic trust, facing a traumatic past. - The hypersensitive Cecilie returns from a psychiatric hospital after a shock following a rape experience two years ago. Cecilie and her husband move to a new house in the suburb. She works again as a teacher on the ninth grade, but the shock syndromes start again. Her husband and others see her as mentally unbalanced, paranoid, and suicidal. But her experiences are based on reality, and at midpoint the story becomes a paranormal crime mystery story. A decades-long cycle of serial killings of young girls is revealed. - The film has some affinity with Hideo Nakata's films, with inexplicable ghosts giving leads to real crimes. - The strength of the film is in its actors' powerful interpretations, especially Sonja Richter is absolutely convincing in her extremely demanding role. All the rest support her perfectly. - The two most powerful sequences are the scene of the hypnosis and the school disco scene. - Also an impressive setpiece is the freezing bathtub. Husband thinks Cecilie tried to commit suicide, but there are the freezing marks on her legs... - More generally, the film is successful in conveying a feeling of nightmare in the everyday. - It hits important subtexts in dealing with modern-day sexual violence. It is seen totally from Cecilie's viewpoint. The monsters remain shadow-like. - As a depiction of psychotherapy the film deals with the question of medicalization. Medicine has been effective with Cecilie, and when she stops taking them, the hallucinations return. The scene with the alternative psychiatrist, "the scientist of eternity" Damgaard, is shown as weird, and his success belongs to the fantasy dimension of the story. - The visual look of the film is consistently bleak, pale, emphasizing cold colours. The digital intermediate treatment is a kiss of death to its visual world. Although the mystery is solved and Cecilie is cured from her nightmares which reflected reality, the counterforce of light and life remains weak.

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