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Artistic, sensual and sacred passions unite in Babette's Feast. Written and directed by Gabriel Axel, from a short story by Out of Africa's Isak Dinesen, this Oscar(r)-winning*film offers "an irresistible mixture of dry wit and robust humanity" (Newsweek). Onthe desolate coast of Denmark live Martina and Philippa, the beautiful daughters of a devout clergyman who preaches salvation through self-denial. Both girls sacrifice youthful passion to faith and duty, and even many years after their father's death, they keep his austere teachings alive among thetownspeople. But with the arrival of Babette, a mysterious refugee from France's civil war, life for the sisters and their tiny hamlet begins to change. Soon, Babette has convinced them to try something truly outrageousa gourmet French meal! Her feast, of course, scandalizes the local elders. Just who is this strangely talented Babette, who has terrified this pious town with the prospect of losing their souls for enjoying too much earthly pleasure? *1987: Foreign Language Film
Some movies can only be described as delicious. In Babette's Feast, a woman flees the French civil war and lands in a small seacoast village in Denmark, where she comes to work for two spinsters, devout daughters of a puritan minister. After many years, Babette unexpectedly wins a lottery, and decides to create a real French dinner--which leads the sisters to fear for their souls. Joining them for the meal will be a Danish general who, as a young soldier, courted one of the sisters, but she turned him away because of her religion. The village elders all resolve not to enjoy the meal, but can their moral fiber resist the sensual pleasure of Babette's cooking? Babette's Feast deservedly won the 1987 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This lovely movie is impeccably simple, yet its slender narrative contains a wealth of humor, melancholy, and hope. --Bret Fetzer
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Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, James Caan. A woman on the run from gangsters hides out in the small village of Dogville, but the welcoming townspeople soon discover her dangerous secret that threatens to unravel their idyllic landscape. 2003/color/177 min/NR/widescreen.
The latest galvanizing and controversial film from Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, The Kingdom), Dogville uses ingenious theatricality to tell the Depression-era story of Grace (Nicole Kidman, The Others), a beautiful fugitive who stumbles onto a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains. Spurred on by Tom (Paul Bettany, Master and Commander), who fancies himself the town's moral guide, the citizens of Dogville first resist Grace, then embrace her, then resent and torment her--little realizing they will pay a price for their selfish brutality. The town is indicated by fragments of building and chalk outlines on a soundstage floor, stylishly pointing to the movie's roots in classic plays (particularly Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit). Several critics have stridently attacked Dogville as anti-American, but the movie's dark, compelling view applies as easily to Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, or pretty much anywhere in the world. Also featuring Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Stellan Skarsgârd, Chloe Sevigny, and many more. --Bret Fetzer
- DVD Details: Actors: Nicole Kidman, Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Paul Bettany
- Directors: Lars von Trier
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC. Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; Number of discs: 1; Studio: Lions Gate
- DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004; Run Time: 178 minutes
|After the Wedding
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Far from home, Jacob (Casino Royale villain, Mads Mikkelsen), runs a struggling orphanage in one India’s poorest regions. Desperate to save the orphanage from closure, he returns to Denmark to meet Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard) a wealthy businessman and potential benefactor. What appears to be nothing more than a friendly gesture to attend a wedding sets in motion an increasingly devastating series of surprises, revelations, and confessions that will forever change their lives.
Equal parts weepy drama and soap opera, After the Wedding is a beautifully filmed story centering on Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale), a Danish man working at a orphanage in Bombay. Just when funds have run desperately low, Jorgen (Rolf Lassgård)--a wealthy benefactor--promises to donate millions of dollars to the orphanage. But there's a catch. Jacob must collect the funds himself in Copenhagen... and attend the wedding of the eccentric millionaire's daughter. But once Jacob meets the benefactor's wife Helene (played by a radiant Sidse Babett Knudsen), it's obvious to the viewer that the two have a complicated history. It’s also likely that her daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen) most probably is theirs. So why did Jorgen invite Jacob to Anna's wedding? Does he know Jacob is Anna's father? Is something nefarious in the works? The thought-provoking film was Denmark's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Academy Awards. Subtitled in English, the Danish picture is well helmed by director Susanne Bier (Brothers), who manages to keep the film from delving into over the top histrionics. Mikkelsen is particularly good, whether he's channeling his anger at having been shut out of his maybe-daughter's life for the past 20 years, or having to grovel a bit to get Jorgen to donate the funds as promised to his orphanage. The relationships here are messy and often uncomfortable. But they also ring true to life. --Jae-Ha Kim
- AFTER THE WEDDING (DVD MOVIE)
|Dancer in the Dark
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Masterpiece or masquerade? Lars von Trier's digicam musical split the critics in two when it debuted at Cannes in 2000. There were those who saw it as a cynical shock-opera from a manipulative charlatan, others wept openly at its scenes of raw emotion and heart-rending intensity. There is, however, no in-between. "Dancer in the Dark" is that rarest of creatures, a film that dares to push viewers to the limits of their feelings. \n In her first and most probably last screen performance (she has foresworn acting after her bruising on-set rows with von Trier), brittle Icelandic chanteuse Bj??rk plays Selma, a Czech immigrant living in a folksy American small town with her young son, Gene. Selma is going blind and so will Gene if she does not arrange an important operation for him. To cover the expense, Selma works every hour she can, cheating on her eye tests so she can keep working at the local factory long after her vision has become too unreliable to work safely. She sublets a house from a local cop, Bill (David Morse), and his wife, Linda (Cara Seymour). When nearly bankrupt Bill asks Selma for a loan, she refuses, but he later returns and steals the money, which she demands back in a furious confrontation. In the ensuing melee, Bill is fatally shot and Selma is arrested and put on trial. Will justice prevail? \n Von Trier's passionate, provocative film runs all our emotional resources dry with suspense, giving us occasional flashes into Selma's gold heart and mind with superb song-and-dance numbers she conjures to banish the nightmare (Bj??rk also wrote the score). At some two-and-a-half hours, it's not for lightweights, but anyone bored with today's smug, "ironic" cinema will relish this as an astonishing assault on the senses and a stark reminder of von Trier's uncompromising talent. "--Damon Wise"
Masterpiece or masquerade? Lars von Trier's digicam musical split the critics in two when it debuted at Cannes in 2000. There were those who saw it as a cynical shock-opera from a manipulative charlatan, others wept openly at its scenes of raw emotion and heart-rending intensity. There is, however, no in-between. Dancer in the Dark is that rarest of creatures, a film that dares to push viewers to the limits of their feelings.
In her first and most probably last screen performance (she has foresworn acting after her bruising on-set rows with von Trier), brittle Icelandic chanteuse Björk plays Selma, a Czech immigrant living in a folksy American small town with her young son, Gene. Selma is going blind and so will Gene if she does not arrange an important operation for him. To cover the expense, Selma works every hour she can, cheating on her eye tests so she can keep working at the local factory long after her vision has become too unreliable to work safely. She sublets a house from a local cop, Bill (David Morse), and his wife, Linda (Cara Seymour). When nearly bankrupt Bill asks Selma for a loan, she refuses, but he later returns and steals the money, which she demands back in a furious confrontation. In the ensuing melee, Bill is fatally shot and Selma is arrested and put on trial. Will justice prevail?
Von Trier's passionate, provocative film runs all our emotional resources dry with suspense, giving us occasional flashes into Selma's gold heart and mind with superb song-and-dance numbers she conjures to banish the nightmare (Björk also wrote the score). At some two-and-a-half hours, it's not for lightweights, but anyone bored with today's smug, "ironic" cinema will relish this as an astonishing assault on the senses and a stark reminder of von Trier's uncompromising talent. --Damon Wise
|You Are Not Alone
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Unflinchingly honest and boundlessly lyrical, the exploration of sexual awakening in You Are Not Alone was a turning point in world cinema. At a Danish boy’s boarding school in the late 1970s, Bo and Kim are naive young classmates, whose friendship blossoms into a childlike love affair. When their friend is expelled for a prank involving lewd posters, the student body bands together to strike against the school and its authoritarian headmaster. Lasse Nielsen and Ernst Johansen’s classic film is a groundbreaking meditation on innocence, rebellion and love.
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A Dark Secret Mars A Dane'S 60Th Birthday Celebration, Attendedby His Family & Friends.
Rising to the challenge of Dogma 95's self-imposed restrictions on aesthetic freedom, Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration is a remarkable example of the way limits can give rise to creative opportunity. (Dogma 95 is a Danish filmmakers collective that also includes Lars von Trier, director of Breaking the Waves. The group crafted a manifesto in which its members vow to eschew special lighting, optical effects, props, and the visible imprint of a director's personality in order to attain higher truths yielded by characters.) The Celebration, shot with a small video camera and transferred to 35mm film, concerns a black-tie birthday gathering for a family patriarch, Helge (Henning Moritzen), which erodes into a battle after long-suppressed secrets are revealed and the chance to settle old scores presents itself. Among the grievances are an accusation of incest and the responsibility for the death of a child--gruesome stuff, but Vinterberg doesn't characterize the partying crowd's reaction in quite the way one might have expected. In fact, the whole of The Celebration is about unexpected perspectives and vantage points emerging from out of nowhere, largely due to Vinterberg's free hand at editing the film in such a way as to yank truth from every corner. This is a strong work that belies skepticism over Dogma 95's bare-bones trendiness, and is perhaps a harbinger of great work to come from Vinterberg. --Tom Keogh
|A Day in October
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This compelling suspense drama follows the underground war-time evacuation of the Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark to neutral Sweden. The Jewish Kublitz family lives quietly and comfortably in Copenhagen until a wounded Gentile resistance fighter, Niels (D.B. Sweeney), is saved from death by young Sarah Kublitz (Kelly Wood) who gives him shelter in the Kublitz home. Sarah and Niels fall in love as the Resistance learns of the Nazis plan to arrest Jews. Sarah's father, who works as a bookkeeper in a Nazi arms factory, must face some tough moral choices - including whether to sabotage the factory in which he works. A DAY IN OCTOBER, by the Academy Award winning producers of BABETTE'S FEAST, presents with distinction the true story of a nation that had the courage to stand up against the enemy.
|The Island on Bird Street
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Polish ghetto with his father and great-uncle, knows this too well. When Nazis come to his city and clear the town, Alex manages to escape with the help of his family, but is left with only his pet mouse "Snow". Finding refuge in an abandoned building on Bird Street, Alex seeks inspiration from his favorite book, Robinson Crusoe, while he, and Snow, await his father's return.
Based on a true story by the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing.
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Ivan is an insanely optimistic preacher who takes in convicts to help around the remote, rural church he ministers to. His current charges are a psychotic Saudi immigrant addicted to robbing gas stations and an alcoholic tennis pro convicted of sexual assault. His newest "helper" is Adam, a vicious neo-Nazi anxiously biding his time before he can return to hell-raising. Asked to set a goal for his stay, Adam sarcastically answers that he'd like to bake a cake. Ivan cheerfully takes that statement at face value and puts him in charge of the parish's pride and joy: the only apple tree in the vicinity. Grasping the extent of Ivan's crazed, preternatural determination to look on the bright side of everything - Adam immediately decides to shake him out of his rose-colored stupor.
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You'd have to be pretty desperate to enjoy this cheesy Danish monster flick, imported by American International Pictures in 1962 to capitalize on Japan's barely-better Godzilla movies. The titular beastie begins as the frozen tail of a prehistoric reptile, discovered when a scientific drill hits a bloody mass of monster flesh buried deep in the Lapland tundra. The tail is accidentally thawed (echoes of The Thing) and regenerates into a massive demon-lizard that spits fluorescent green ooze and terrorizes Copenhagen! Padded with archival military footage and stampedes of panicking Danes, the movie's too earnest to be campy (save for some funny hamming by the science lab's handyman) and too cheap to qualify as a guilty pleasure, with special effects that make rubber-suit romps like Godzilla look masterful by comparison. By the time an unwitting army general says, "It's a good thing there are no more like him," you may find yourself wishing he was right. --Jeff Shannon
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