Saturday, March 8, 2008

Two Movies – One Theme – One Director

I am a crying crazy loon………tears have always flowed easily and voluminously……. You probably should never go to see movies with me (or weddings, or parades, or shows with cute kids, or get the picture....)

Last year at Tuesday Movie Group I saw After the Wedding, a film by Danish Director Susanne Bier. I wept all through the movie and long after it was over. The emotional truths conveyed by the actors was overwhelming.

In the movie, a humanitarian trying to save his orphanage in India from going under travels to Copenhagen to meet a millionaire who is interested in financing the project, only to learn that the businessman has a more personal motive for bringing him to Denmark. There are many secrets revealed and many decisions to be made, but the essence of the film is that it is a story of human connection, the kind of connection involving lives becoming better thanks to the people encountered along the way.

I ordered the movie through the Public Library (there aren’t many foreign films in video stores in Kansas) to see it again. On the same day, I hastily picked up a new release Things we Lost in the Fire at the video store not realizing that this movie was also directed by Susanne Bier.

Things we Lost in the Fire is the first English movie for Bier – it features Hallie Berry, a grief-stricken young widow and Benicio del Toro, a young man trying to end his drug addiction. The movie examines how these two characters are brought together over the loss of a person who was central to each of their lives. The characters, like those in After the Wedding are human – their frailties, their complexities and their conflicts exposed. Again, the connection between those affected by the death of the friend, brings people together in ways that change everyone.

So – my suggestion – rent these two movies and see them together. Have lots of tissues at hand (don’t invite me over) and see how Bier portrays us as we deal with tragedy and change in our lives.

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