DOGMA 95 HOOPLA has produced at least one good film (The Celebration), and now a sweet, funny, and admittedly "trite" story of concealed identities and fractured families. It's a bit of a fairy tale, as Copenhagen yuppie Kresten (Anders W. Berthelsen) and hooker Liva (Iben Hjejle) meet on his family's crumbling, squalid farm. He hires her to care for his retarded adult brother Rud (Jesper Asholt) but doesn't want to admit he's married (or that his urbane wife is ashamed of his redneck origins). Liva also keeps her mouth shut about her own past and family, and tries not to snicker at the two brothers' shenanigans. (Kresten entertains Rud by pretending he's samurai actor Toshiro Mifune.) But naturally love has a way of sorting out the truth behind these charades.
directed by Soren Kragh-Jacobsen
opens March 17 at Harvard Exit
Kragh-Jacobsen duly follows the Dogma rules (filming with available light, eschewing a musical score), producing some winning scenes and beautiful shots. This bare-bones technique emphasizes character and story—which are admittedly slight and contrived. As in a fairy tale, the plotting is overly neat, as Kragh-Jacobsen acknowledges with a wink. Mifune recalls both Rain Man and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but its sparse style still admits plenty of genuine human feeling.