*WON BEST FOREIGN FILM – 2010*
Hævnen is Danish for “the revenge”, but this films title in English is In a Better World. Director Susanne Bier says that she prefers the English name, because it emphasises the hopefulness of the film, where as the Danish title is a lot darker by nature. In a Better World is film truly worth noting, and worthy of its Oscar win.
This film is about life, and the struggles associated with those left behind after a death. It is also a film about bullying and the possible repercussions of it. Part of the film takes place in a refugee camp in Africa, these scenes are as important as the main story line, they are a clever parallel of bullying and the different forms in shows it’s ugly face. Please be aware that this film is a tense drama thriller, and some scenes may be hard to watch!
Danish cinema has been blessed with 3 Oscar wins and another 7 nominations, Susanne Bier has directed two of those films, making her the only female director in Denmark to have achieved this, and this is an amazing feat, very much an inspiring woman! Susanne’s, In a Better World is a film that dares to be bold and confrontational, but it doesn’t come across as preachy, rather she has employed clever story-telling techniques, that make it thoroughly entertaining. In addition, the film is very well cast, and the characters come to life, especially the two young boys, on which the films story centres around. Their performances really make you feel, and due to the unfolding events, this film may make some emotional.
This story is an engaging one, and whilst there aren’t any real cinematic break-throughs here, this story deserves to be told. With a minute shy of 2 hours, it may seem long to some, especially if you’re having to read those subtitles, but the 3rd act re-engages you and ultimately delivers.
The opening and closing sequences show a group of african children chasing after a utility vehicle, on which is the Danish doctor that travels to assist at the refugee camp, and its these images that are most touching, most telling. Children are care free and happy, irregardless of where they are. A soccer ball is thrown to them, by said doctor, and this single ball, means the world to them. The film is trying to express to us, that this is what children are meant to be doing, playing and enjoying their childhood, with others, and not having to fret over bullying. Bullying is very damaging, and it is an issue that needs to be continuously addressed so that children can enjoy their time as children. Susanne Bier makes this point very clear though this Danish piece.
Additionally there are some stunning shots in this film, and the score is completely apt, its a delight to listen to.
Film Munchers, danish?
TRIVIA COOKIE: In just three weeks, this film turned a profit in Denmark, after its international release, it went on to make over 200 percent profit, based on a budget of $33,000.