MIFUNE - The Way of the Samurai? magyarul

Why see a Danish movie called “Mifune”? How could you not? Most people who have done so have probably gone because the film’s reputation as “Dogma III” preceded it. Much of the criticism it has received an accessible Dogma movie ..has surrounded the fact that it was shot on 35mm film (unlike “Festen” and “Idiots” which came before it), and is ostensibly far more ’accessible’ than the other Dogma offerings were. Without getting too involved in the Dogma aspect of the film, as far as I can tell nothing in the manifesto prohibits shooting on film instead of video, and “accessible” has always struck me as a snob’s euphemism for “enjoyable.”

Certainly that seems to be the case here, though personally I would take exception to the idea that “Mifune” is truly less challenging than, for example, “Festen” (a.k.a. “Celebration”).
There is, in fact, considerable similarity in the themes of the two projects, above all that of a lone protagonist awkwardly attempting to maintain composure while struggling with an increasingly unwieldy breakdown in his already dysfunctional family. What opens “Mifune” up to the charge of (gasp) accessibility is that the later film attempts to do so with a rather more generous dollop of humour than the earlier one did. What Soren Kragh-Jacobsen’s “Mifune” (or “Mifune’s Last Song,” as it was titled in certain languages) undoubtedly shares with Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’s earlier Dogma efforts is exceptionally good performances by virtually all members of its cast. More than one Liva's ex-prostitute friends ..critic has taken to asking whether Denmark really has this apparently unlimited supply of fantastic, unknown (to the rest of us) actors, or whether Dogma is just an elaborate conspiracy to make us think so. Certainly one shudders to think what horrendous results would ensue if someone came up with the idea to make a series of such ’warts-and-all’ films in, say, Hungary.
But enough about Dogma. In case you were wondering, “Mifune” refers to the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who played a peasant masquerading as a samurai in Kurasawa’s “The Seven Samurai” (and the subject of a childhood game to the brothers in the film, in case you were also wondering how anyone’s supposed to make that connection).
It is the story of Kresten, an egotistical, upwardly-mobile Danish yuppie, who at the outset of the film is in the process of cementing his promising future by marrying the boss’ daughter. When the call comes that his father has died, he finds himself in the awkward position of having to admit to his shiny new bride that, instead of being the orphan he’d always claimed to be, he was son to a poor farmer from nowheresville, as well as younger brother to a mentally handicapped middle-aged man whom he’d now have to find care for.
With that, Kresten heads back to the sticks and, “Rain Man”-style, tries to figure out how he can get his brother - Rud - taken care of without unduly inconveniencing himself. When he gets back to the ramshackle family farm and tries to sort things out with Rud, Kresten begins to experience pangs of guilt about having his brother committed to an institution for the retarded and letting the homestead go.

He gets the idea to hire a housekeeper to look after both Rud and the farm, thinking he can head back to Copenhagen when calm has been restored. His newspaper ad for this position is answered by a call girl named
Liva, looking for an Kresten, Liva and Rud ...out-of-the-way place to lay low from her pimp and an increasingly threatening stalker (she doesn’t mention this in her application). Kresten is immediately taken by this beautiful and mysterious stranger, having expected an aging matron, and Rud is likewise immediately convinced that Liva is actually ’Linda,’ a comic-book heroine whose exploits he’s been following for decades, appearing on the farm to make things right. His attempts to ’signal’ Linda with the comic character’s signature open-palms, hands-to-the sky gesture makes for a truly inspired running gag in the film. Various problems ensue, including run-ins with sadistic neighbours, Kresten’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, Liva’s problem-child little brother and a posse of overly-protective former fellow-prostitutes.

Contrived as this all may sound, Kragh-Jacobsen’s film somehow manges to feel unhurried, as well as to ring true far more often than it rings false. Those who have seen Iben Hjejle’s bloodless ’star turn’ as the female lead in Stephen Frears’ hit “High Fidelity” will, I suspect, be amazed by her electric performance as Liva. Anders W. Berthelsen is flawless in the role of Kresten, and in fact it is his work which permeates and carries the film. Jesper Asholt’s Rud has been the subject of controversy and wildly varying reviews, but in my view this has more to do with the as-yet-unexplained preponderance of mentally slow characters in Dogma films (including the lone non-Danish Dogma-certified project to date, Harmony Korine’s "julien donkey-boy"), rather than the virtues or faults of his work here. To my mind, Asholt’s performance is strong,Liva and Rud .. while Emil Tarding as Liva’s brother Bjarke is no less than excellent in a difficult role for such a young actor. There are, inevitably, weak points in the story: the “visit” of Liva’s prostitute ’friends’ is plain silly, her reaction to Kersten’s rough seduction is uncharacteristically extreme, and the ’evil’ neighbour seems to be more than a little out of place in rural Denmark, especially when he pulls into the farmyard for an attempt to sample Liva’s sexual wares in his sparkling new Ford station-wagon.

The “Hollywood” ending (which I won’t give away, although it’s exactly what one would expect from an ending saddled with such a moniker) has been the source of much derision from “serious film”-types, and I must confess it came as a disappointment to me as well, though not because of any ’Hollywood’ or ’anti-Hollywood’ choices on Kragh-Jacobsen’s part, but rather because it didn’t fulfill the promise of all the distinctly non-storybook situations which led up to it. Nonetheless, the journey was more than worthwhile, and “Mifune,” for me, not only goes further than the other two Danish Dogma efforts in satisfying the manifesto’s objective to “force the truth out of ... characters and settings,” but it does so with an intoxicating cocktail of humour, humanity, harshness and charm.

-dylan gray-




oldal: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27