The Danes hit the headlines with 'The Killing', 'The Bridge' and 'Borgen'. They also do comedy. KLOWN is a wonderfully outrageous comedy gem with assured performances and a finale of all time. It'll linger with you and you'll certainly chuckle after you leave the cinema. Together with THE PATIENCE STONE, a poetic, eloquent, powerful and strikingly pertinent tale set in Afghanistan and you've got great viewing.
Director: Mikkel Norgaard Cast: Frank Hvam, Castper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen Genre: Comedy Country of Origin: Denmark 2010 Language: Danish with English subtitles 93 mins. Rating: *****
'Funny, hilarious, raunchy, a 5-star comedy gem that's an outrageous delight. A pre-Christmas present that's a comedy classic'.
'KLOWN' comes with a pedigree. It was Denmark's highest-grossing film in 2010, was critically acclaimed in the US and is scheduled by Warner Bros. for a re-make by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down).
Two wildly inappropriate friends, Frank (Frank Hvam) and Casper (Casper Christensen) run amok through the Danish countryside, plowing through awkward confrontations and unspeakable debaucheries. Wrongheaded Frank (Frank Hvam) decides to prove himself suitable father material by 'kidnapping' Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), his pregnant girlfriend's 12-year-old nephew and they join sex-crazed Casper (Casper Christensen) on his secret adulterous weekend canoe trip. Rampaging through exclusive brothels, hospitalizations, armed robberies and even prison, the three paddle downstream from one chaotic adventure to the next ultimately leading to the finale of the year.
'KLOWN' 's a pre-Christmas present, a comedy classic. Beautifully filmed by Jacob Banke Olesen and with quite brilliant performances from two of Denmark's celebrated comedians, Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen. Frank Hvam delights as the oafish clueless Frank and who would have thought that Y-fronts and vest would ever grace the screen with such comedic style. And what of Bo, the socially inept and 'small-willied' 12-year old nephew of Frank' s pregnant girlfriend ? Great casting allowing the three to gel with ease into naturalistic performances.
From the opening frame there's promise but you don't realise what promise. 'KLOWN' 's a delight that lingers with you and makes you chuckle long after leaving the cinema. It even culminates in a surprisingly sentimental portrait of friendship that isn't a cringe making Hollywood take.
Much of the film's dialogue was improvised and the script was less than thirty pages long. That's quite something!
And of the conclusion - unexpected, stunning and quite brilliant. Well done Bo !
'KLOWN' deserves to be seen by many but of course with subtitles we're taking of the major cities.
Say 'cheers' and raise a tiny bottle of Underberg to the lips. It's not an in-joke. You don't go on a canoe-trip with Frank, Casper and Bo without a supply of Underberg.
KLOWN is released by Arrow Films 6th December 2013 in selected cinemas.
Director: Atiq Rahimi Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat Genre: Drama Country of origin: France, Germany, Afghanistan 2012 Language: Farsi with English subtitles 102 mins. Rating:****
'Poetic, eloquent, powerful and strikingly pertinent.'
Somewhere in Afghanistan or another war torn country, a beautiful woman (Golshifteh Farahani) watches over her husband (Hamid Djavadan) who is reduced to a vegetative state because of a bullet in the neck. One day the woman starts a solitary confession to her silent husband in which she talks about her childhood, her fears, frustrations, loneliness, desires and regrets in the ten years of an arranged marriage. She touches him, kisses him, things that she would never have done before. Therefore this paralysed man unconsciously becomes 'syngue sabour', The Patience Stone which according to Persian mythology when placed in front of a person shields him from unhappiness, suffering, pain and miseries. The woman will unburden herself from her suffering through the words she delivers to her husband and be free. In the struggle to survive she'll seek refuge with her aunt (Hassina Burgan), who's a prostitute and the only relative who understands her.
It sounds theatrical, literal, a monologue between a young woman and her silent husband. It's not. It's stunning and powerful and will gently hold you as this remarkable and moving tale unfolds.
'The Patience Stone' is a poetic, eloquent and strikingly pertinent piece of cinema. Told in flashbacks with sudden incidents Golshifteh Farahani is mesmerising as the woman trapped in the memories of an arranged marriage and the destructive uncertainties of a war torn country. Based on Atiq Rahimi's 2008 Prix Goncourt winning novel of the same name and co-scripted by Jean Claude Carriere, Luis Bunuel's old collaborator, it's a beautifully composed gently paced visual feast that's hypnotic and emotional.
'The Patience Stone' doesn't lend itself to mainstream cinema and being subtitled will be confined to the major cities as is so often the case with foreign language films. The cinema going public don't know what they're missing.
THE PATIENCE STONE is released by Axiom Films 6th December 2013 in selected cinemas.