Saturday, May 12, 2012

In a Better World/The Revenge - Danish Film

Yesterday kicked off the European Film Festival at the aforementioned revived Theatre Guild.
Several universal themes were explored including the current one of Bullying in school - funny I never imagined that happening in 'safe' Denmark! It expanded to the question of dealing with violence in the wider world.
Elias is the much-picked-on child at school. He lives with his separated mother and younger brother. His father is a peace-loving, let's-talk-about-it Swede who works part-time in a refugee Camp in Sudan. Both parents are doctors. Anton the father notices the frequency of emergencies concerning pregnant women having their bellies slit-- and has been told that a local 'Big Man' makes bets with his crew about the sex of the child and then slits the pregnant woman's belly to check who won the bet. I wondered if it was a metaphor for when the men purposely damage women's vaginas after/during rape in Africa and cause them suffer from fistulas and continuous incontinence-- saw the program on 60 Minutes but can't find online!
Elias' saviour at school is the new boy - intelligent, brooding Christian who is street-savvy and after beating up the local bully and threatening him with a knife to the throat, says contemptuously to his father 'You have to hit them hard the first time so they leave you alone' or something to that effect. There was a nice parallel with Anton being bullied/slapped while intervening between a quarrel over a swing with Elias' younger brother and the son of a local Ignar (ignorant person) - he sucks up the insult and loss of face in front of the boys and goes for a swim in a Lake to cool off.  The boys find out where the man works and can identify his vehicle and they tell Anton who goes to tell the man - a blue-collar worker - with the boys in tow that violence is not the answer and that he is not intimidated by him and gets a few more slaps for his pains.
As Luck would have it, when Anton returns to the Camp the Big Man is brought in with an injury and he treats him to the regret of the camp occupants and the local staff.   Later when a young woman dies on the makeshift operating bed the Big Man happens to be passing and laughs mockingly and says 'Small pussy, large knife-- which leads to my deduction above - and then makes a further derisive remark that one of his men would still enjoy having sex with the dead corpse -- mmm - don't know if I believe THAT as usually Bullies become cowards in the light of Day and without their posse around;  Anton had banished all weapons and only allowed Big Man to have two bodyguards. Anton loses it at this point and shouts at the two Bodyguards to leave, then drags to Baddie to the rest of the Camp who attack him with whatever they have.
Anton gets to his Lodgings and has a poor Internet connection with his now-distressed son Elias who is unwillingly following Christian to blow up the Mechanic's vehicle with a home-made bomb made from the Gunpowder from the old rockets they found in Christian's grandfather's barn. Now in the Real World Anton would be under attack from the Baddie's gang and/or the Refugee Camp would be under attack and burning down-- but in movie-world he just gets a peaceful night's sleep!
The boys plan to blow up the vehicle at 7am on a sunday morning when most sane people would be in their beds but of course a Lady and her young daughter decide to jog past the said car. Elias runs to warn them and gets injured-- really in the real world he would be dead - but this is a nice Scandinavian film without much gore. Considering Elias' mother works at the Hospital I thought her reaction was a bit over-wrought and she cruelly tells Christian he is a psycho (he is) and that he killed Elias.
The ending was a bit too pat but tied up all the loose ends nicely.

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