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  •  REVIEW: MIFUNE

    Mifune

    Samu-wry

    The quirky romance "Mifune" combines unusual characters, odd situations and the radical Danish filmmaking philosophy Dogme 95 to tell a lovably unusual story.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    Good-looking blond yuppies Kresten and Claire enjoy a storybook wedding in Copenhagen, and off they go for their first night of, um, wedded bliss.

      
    MIFUNE
    Directed by: Soren Kragh-Jacobsen.
    Written by: Anders Thomas Jensen, Soren Kragh-Jacobsen.
    Cast: Iben Hjejle, Anders W. Berthelsen, Jesper Asholt, Emil Tarding, Anders Hove, Sofie Grabel.
    Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle.
    In Danish with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    But within a day, the honeymoon is over as Kresten gets a call on his cell phone — his estranged father is dead and he must go back to the countryside handle the details.

    Detail number one is his brother, Rud, who's not right in the head and now will have nobody to take care of him. Enter Liva, who's fleeing her prostitute job in the city but almost immediately regrets moving into the rickety old farmhouse as a housekeeper.

    From here, this romance can almost write itself. Life gets complicated as personalities begin to collide in the small hamlet.

    Mifune  
    "Here in the country, nobody has any secrets," Kresten tells Liva.

    "Here in the country, there are no inhibitions," she corrects him.

    Both statements will prove true for the others but not for our protagonists as the plot unfolds. Only these two have secrets from each other; only they have inhibitions when they're together.

    But if the film is a little obvious, it's also engaging and seductive. Partly, that's because "Mifune" is a Dogme 95 picture — part of a growing body of work from a brotherhood of Danish directors who have sworn off all artificial techniques in filmmaking, such as set design, sound dubbing, lighting, props and special effects. (More info at the Dogme 95 web site.)

      Mifune
    The result in the best cases — notably "The Celebration" — is that all of the emphasis is on the script and the acting, where arguably it should be in every film. The result can be a movie with the grittiness of cinema verite and the electricity of great theater.

    "Mifune" lives up pretty well to these possibilities by telling a simple story well, with strongly developed characters, some absurdly funny plot twists and an offbeat charm.

    MARCH 3, 2000
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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