I was faced with a choice, at a difficult age. Would I write a book, or should I take to the stage

Tuesday, December 23

Filmica Top 10 films of 2003, continued

I have now viewed Dogville. It is, as I anticipated, RATHER GOOD. Please, I must rearrange my order so far, one last time. I know it is the last time as the only other film I will see this year is The Spanish Apartment which appears to be somewhat insubstantial.

So we now have:

12. The Slaughter Rule
11. Lilja-4-Ever
10. About Schmidt
9. American Splendour

Number 8, then, would be Open Hearts. A Danish film. Its real name is actually Elsker Dig for Evigt, which perhaps means "I love you forever" or some such thing.

This is a film which abides by the rules of the Dogme 95 manifesto. I do, it must be said, like such films very much. Perhaps this is as much of the bloated, overfinanced, unsatisfying pap on cinema screens leaves me quite cold. Anyway, this one is directed by a woman entitled Susanne Bier, and I always like any film directed by someone with the name of a drink. The story is quite a sad one, and the Dogme aesthetic makes it seem like a documentary, and consequently even more affecting. In it, a young man, Joaquin, is paralysed after being hit by a car. Prior to this, he was in a terribly happy relationship with a woman called Cecilie. A clearly roaring sex life was also part of the 'bargain'. However Cecilie is unable to connect emotionally with Joaquin after the accident (due principally to his intense bitterness about his predicament), and for various reasons is horrified to find herself having an affair of sorts with Niels who is not only Joaquin's physician, but is also the husband of Marie, the woman who caused the accident. What ensues is not only a tracking of the fallout in terms of the relationships implicated, but also a rather insightful study of the many little sadnesses which follow such an irretrievable occurrence. It's senstively observed and wholly believable. Paprika Steen is remarkable as Marie, and I was pleased to see her continued association with the Dogme films. This would be, I believe, her fourth one.

The child actors playing Marie and Niels' children also deserve, I think, special mention. I say: good job, child actors!


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