Directed by Lukas MoodyssonSweden, Denmark | 2002
Moodysson’s talent for instantly humanizing his characters is apparent from the get-go. Like the two girls in Åmål or the entire cast in Together, Lilya feels like an utterly genuine, 3-dimensional human being throughout. Many directors can feign naturalism with faux-documentary style film-making and faux-improvised acting, but often it just serves to highlight the artifice behind the production. Moodysson, even though he also uses the hand-held camera and improvisational techniques himself, realizes that the real truth doesn’t come from any quasi-realism, but from the core of the characters as portrayed by the actors.
Directed by Susanne BierDenmark | 2002
Where love and affection is involved everyone is basically something of a slave, young and old alike, and knowledge or experience can’t really diminish vulnerability. On that note the handling of sexual elements within the film was also wonderfully upfront with a sensuousness generated in the briefly glimpsed moments of passion. It’s a serious indictment of the industry, although not a surprising one, that portrayals of sex that actually mirror reality are so hard to come by.
Directed by Anders Thomas JensenDenmark, Germany | 2005
In the end perhaps not every element here gels quite right but then again how often do you find a film that combines Nazism, racism, paedophilia, mental and physical handicaps, high violence and the shooting of a cat to great comedic effect and binds them all together to arrive at a positive message? Even for those of us who have indulged in a lot of films it’s easy to see that not much else could possibly fit that bill.
Directed by Peter BrookUnited Kingdom, Denmark | 1971
Here we have what must surely be the bleakest Lear on film… this Lear reveals a general truth about screen adaptations of Shakespeare in that, sometimes, the majesty of the language and breadth of the plays must be sacrificed in order to capture the tonal spirit through the images. Unfortunately, there almost always seems to be a disconnection between Shakespeare that’s liberally adapted to make cinematic masterpieces (like Kurosawa’s Ran) and Shakespeare that’s faithfully adapted to make, well, screened theater productions. Brook’s Lear definitely falls into the “cinematic” category, and it works superbly on that level.