Thursday, 17 August 2017

After the Wedding

When I first watched After the Wedding some years ago, I quite liked it, but it was last week, when watching it for second time, when I really realised how excellent this film is. Susanne Bier is such a great director and (notice that I have not watched all her films, I particularly miss Open Hearts) this is so far my favorite.

The story (co-written by Susanne) is rather imaginative and becomes more and more powerful as it develops. It's always amazed me that citizens of happy and well-functioning societies like Denmark or Sweden have such a capacity to create dark and compelling dramas (the Scandinavian Noir of Camilla Lacberg and Asa Larsson particularly delight me due to those characters living sad, complex, tormeted existences). In After the Wedding we have these 2 characters meeting again "as if by chance" after 20 years of neglect. First there's some anger, then those old feelings that will never disappear and the maturity that time gives us as such a beautiful present, will heal the pain and make things move on. This short conversation (it's not a literal transcription) describes with such sharpness how easy it is to spoil our lives:

  • - Why didn't you come back?
  • - Cause I thought you would end up following me
  • - Why didn't you follow me?
  • - Cause I thought you would come back

The most impressive moment in the film is when the husband, this strong and succesful man that had kept his terminal illness hidden from his love ones and seemed to be putting up with it so well finally crumbles. At the moment when the physical damage starts to show and the end of the "game" (our only game) becomes a too close certitude, the strong man collapses in tears, embraced to his loving wife and crying "I don't want to die". A powerful reminder of how temporal all we have, all we are, is. A reminder of how precious every second is, of how costly any unsaid word or unexpressed feeling is.

The leading actor, Mads Mikkelsen is sort of a must in most of popular Danish films. His facial expression is pretty astonishing, sometimes it's difficult to know if he's laughing, crying or both. I've recently watched another rather good film of him, The Hunt.

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