Thursday, 20 November 2014

Above The Street Below The Water (Over gaden under vandet)

Without meaning to get repetitive when talking about Scandinavian movies I still can’t see why good quality films made from Denmark in particular have not managed to get a cinematic release in the UK? This is the third excellent film from that part of the world that I have seen recently, and this one has not even been shown on our festival circuit as far as I can find out.  

If Above The Street Below The Water (2009) is any thing to go by the divorce rate in Copenhagen, where the film is based and shot, must be extremely high. Although this movie is a black comedy, it is depressing how many relationships can go sour with people, who should know better, lying to one another pretending that their behaviour is normal when it is obviously not! It’s also obvious that children of couples that go through marriage breakdowns are greatly affected and director and actress Charlotte Sieling’s debut feature film with its tongue firmly in its cheek demonstrates, with some skill, how both siblings and adults are affected by promiscuity.
Ask has fallen out of love with Anne.
This Danish middle class ‘soap opera’ deals with three couples, Anne (Sidse Babett Knudsen), a well-known actress and her husband Ask (Nicolas Bro) who have two children, a young boy and a daughter who is still living at home but is pregnant. Ask has fallen out of love with his wife and in love with Bente (Ellen Hillingsø), whose alcoholic ex husband Bjorn lives on a houseboat, they have a teenage son.  The third couple are Charlotte (Ellen Nyman), who is Anne and Ask’s marriage counsellor, and who is married to Carl (Niels Ole Oftebro) who just so happens to be Anne’s stage director and incidentally a serial adulterer!  Believe me you will get completely involved with this tangled group of people! Things come to a head during the opening night of Hamlet in which Anne plays Ophelia; this play is nowhere near as dramatic as to what takes place just before and during the performance! 

The other woman. 
I personally found the relationships quite demoralising where the characters are constantly under a great deal of stress because of their own actions, always being argumentative rather than settling for the option of working on their relationships. Real life I suppose is never easy? The acting is superb bringing together recognisable actors from various BBC4 series including The Killing, The Bridge and of course Sidse Babett Knudsen from Borgan.

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