Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Classic Review: Mifune's Last Song (Mifune Sidste Sang) (1999)

* * * * *

Dir. Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, 1999.

Lars Von Trier’s and Thomas Vinterberg’s Danish, draconian movement, Dogme, challenged fellow filmmakers to shoot lo-fi, gimmick-refuting movies. The first two, Festen and Idioterne, remain the genre’s best-known examples. But the third in the series, Mifune’s Last Song, became as renowned for the director’s post-production confession as for its beautiful content – Kragh-Jacobsen was open about breaking several Dogme vows. The narrative is defined by a screen-swallowing pathos. Kristen, raised on a farm, is now urbanized, miserly and married. But his father has just died, and his handicapped brother, Rud, and their farm need looking after. He must return to, and salvage, his roots then, leaving behind an obstinate wife. Enter Liva (Isbene Hjejle: Laura from High Fidelity), a valiant prostitute turned housekeeper, determined to escape her past. She will find solace in Rud’s innocent affection and in Kristen’s emerging humility. Angry, funny and profound, Mifune’s Last Song was one of the ten-bestselling Danish movies worldwide. Astonishing then that it has become celluloid pirate-treasure.

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