Friday, October 19, 2007
I watched this film on Netflix online where it's listed under the English title Open Hearts. It was a hit in Denmark and is directed by Susanne Bier, who's come to my attention through her other work. She's just starting to direct films in English but this film has subtitles which, by the way, were very large and easy to read in block letters.
The film is about a young engaged couple. The man steps in front of a car driven by a doctor's wife, is hit and becomes a quadriplegic. His fiancee, Cecile, is approached by the doctor (the husband of the driver) and they eventually have an affair. Her fiancee is portrayed as a bitter and angry patient, transformed from a likeable character to someone who pushes Cecile away and taunts medical staff.
The characters are well directed and there is an attention to detail in even the shortest scenes. Bier's ability to use close ups of the characters' facial expressions, rather than rely on just dialogue, is extraordinary in her filming, which was done under the austere Dogme method.*
If you're looking for a film that explores the feelings of the partner or spouse of a person with a spinal cord injury , I'd recommend this.
[For an interesting interview of Bier, who also directed After the Wedding, click above.]
[visual description: A scene from the movie - in the foreground in a hospital bed is the quadriplegic with his back to his fiancee, Cecile.]
*This method is described in the article as one "called "the vow of chastity," set out in a movement started by filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg in 1995. These rules mandate the use of handheld camera, location shooting, the avoidance of genres and other strictures aimed at guaranteeing cinematic authenticity." -via sfgate.com