10/01/2007

After the Wedding

Director:
Susanne Bier

Winner of numerous awards around the globe including the prestigious honor of being nominated as one of the five films for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award, director Susanne Bier crafts another tense family drama about emotional upheaval, past indiscretions and secrets with her superb film After the Wedding. Mads Mikkelson-- a veteran of the Danish Dogme film movement, acting in Bier’s earlier film Open Hearts-- is excellent as Jacob, a middle-aged man who has spent the better part of his life helping young children in India. When the orphanage he helps run is in desperate need of funds, Jacob reluctantly leaves his beloved home in India and the young children to whom he’s grown attached to return to his native Denmark to meet Jorgen, a Danish millionaire businessman (played by Rolf Lassgard) who is offering to help fund the center, provided that Jacob stay in the country for a few days in order to attend the wedding of his daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen). Once at the wedding, Jacob realizes he’s in for much more than he bargained for when past connections are revealed and he must come to grips with the path his life has taken and the people whom he may have hurt along the way. Fascinating and intimate, the performances of the cast are heightened by the naturalistic photography completed on digital video and the believable turn of events that manage to engross us throughout the entire length of the two hour film. Although those familiar with Bier’s work in Brothers and Open Hearts will find a few of the plot points predictable to the Dogme style and its recurring themes, it’s never clich├ęd and remains one of her most focused and tightly crafted pieces of film that deserves to be in the same company as her aforementioned titles.