On an agreed canvas, Pernille Fischer Christensen signed an unequal film, replacing subtleties and clumsiness.
The argument: After years in Los Angeles, Thomas Jacob, a famous singer with a turbulent career, returned to record his new album in Denmark. His daughter Julie, whom he hadn’t seen in years, took the opportunity to reappear in her life and introduce her to her grandson Noah. Thomas turned his back on his family and even to himself he had to take care of the child. Her relationship with her grandson is improving and she is soon faced with a choice that will turn her life back on.
Our opinion: The film begins after this, with a concert, with the same first passage addressed (almost) to the public. The difference, of course, is that between the two, Thomas, the elderly rock star, has changed and his grandson smiles at him from behind the scenes. We measure, by reading the synopsis, the pitfalls that threaten the director: how to avoid the tearful effects, how to make the main character change credible, who has to go from gruff misanthrope to to loving grandparents? Should we pour into melodrama (should be flamboyant) or play with restraint and a goal of moderation?
© Rolf Konow © Zentropa Productions2
Fashion is no longer for the big fans à la Douglas Sirk; today we prefer the underlying drama, the humiliation over the excess. Tears evoke ridicule, as it were. In danger, and Someone you love cannot escape it, in a dry; by suppressing emotion, it no longer exists. In fact, all of this remains subjective: where, it must be admitted, we remain unmoved, some will undoubtedly be moved. But it was this unkind, cold, distant nature, who received his daughter as if for a business meeting; this grandson grew up very early, a frightened child and at the same time fully aware of what was at stake; this story of humanization in a few shots; Will all these clichés and so on (rocks, drugs, void fill, no communication) really work, especially when they are said to be useless?
Fortunately, Pernille Fischer Christensen, for whom this is the fourth part of the film, has some properties that prevent the film from sinking: infallible direction of movement, beautiful musical moments, the photogenic nature in the snow. We remember the scene of the sung duet, bathed in warm light and able to touch. The two characters experience a real togetherness, the fruit of a past we don’t know about-and that’s good: the mystery that covers their relationship is a thousand times more effective than the other. explanatory monologue. Above all, on three occasions, the game dispels the cliché with dangerous quests: the discovery of the corpse, first, made from Thomas ’point of view; his journey culminated in the straight sight of Noah, and this sight is what identifies the body. Everything is said, kindly, accurately.
© Rolf Konow © Zentropa Productions2
Two more sequences, echoing each other, caught our attention: at first, Thomas was in the studio and we saw him reflecting in the glass. Behind him was Noah and their two faces joined. Symbolically, rapprochement occurs at this time, even if it is only a reflection, therefore an appearance. This scene finds its meaning through its pendant when the coffin is brought to the car: Thomas is in front, Noah and the undertakers are in front, and blurred. When the grandfather approached, he touched the child which, in turn, became sharp. Nice idea this image game to represent the unspeakable; the two characters become close, but they are often clear in their feelings and their position in the world. The latter will prove it, but, alas, in a clumsy way, at boarding school, as it should line up what we understand, what the game shows us.
It’s hard to give an overall judgment on the film, so it’s not fair; let’s say that on a confusing subject, predictable and brief, the director manages, by the grace of a few moments of pure play, to save the company from ban.