Thursday, 24 November 2011

Sonja Richter in "Elsker dig for Evigt" [2002 Denmark]

Susanne Bier's "Elsker dig for Evigt" [Eng. Title: Open Hearts] is an interesting study of love and relationships, and how they could be influenced or complicated by other feelings such as guilt. It is a terrific piece of drama, made even powerful by some convincing performances by all the sparse but impressive cast.

Cecille and Joachim are about to get married - they'd been living together for a while, and are truly in love. But their world is turned upside down when Joachim has a nasty accident that leaves him paralysed neck-down. By sheer coincidence, Niels (well played by Mads Mikkelsen), a doctor at the hospital where Joachim is recovering, also happens to be the husband of Marie (also well played by Paprika Steen) - the driver of the car that caused the accident. A remorseful Marie and Niel feel it's their duty to console the devastated Cecille - Marie even encouraging Niels to meet and talk to Cecille whenever she felt depressed (which is often), because Joachim refuses to see Cecille and wants to break the engagement so that she could move on and start a new life. These meetings instead lead to a full-blown affair between Niels and Cecille, complicating things further for everyone.

The screenplay and characterisation are excellent, and the cast give a commendable performance, including the actress playing Cecille, Sonja Richter. The soundtrack is appealing, but I'm however not sure about the cinematography - doesn't help that some scenes are too grainy in my DVD. That may well have been the director's intention, but I doubt if it was really necessary. This also claims to be a Dogme 95 film, but since my knowledge about the film movement is at best rudimentary, I shall refrain from discussing it, but those interested may check out this Wiki link and decide for themselves after watching the film. The DVD extras and commentary from Susanne Bier give us an insight into the director's thinking, and also the reasons for removing some of the scenes - which I completely agree with. Either way, the final cut of "Elsker dig for Evigt" is a great piece of drama, with an apt ending, and therefore, Recommended Viewing.

Amazon DVD Link (excellent deal going here - I don't work for these guys btw)

Compilation: Sonja Richter
There's only brief nudity in all these scenes, but nevertheless still worth checking.

Sonja Richter in Elsker dig for Evigt

Scene Guide:
  • No nudity - Cecille hopelessly tries to cheer up a miserable Joachim at the hospital, by wearing some underwear he had bought her as a present before the accident. She had to be pulled away by the hospital staff. Cecille is played by the beautiful and equally talented Sonja Richter.
  • A depressed Cecille calls Niels (the doctor) in the middle of the night - and asks him to come over. She just wanted a hug, but then things take over.
  • During his next visit, Niels notices that Joachim, still at hospital had arranged for all his furniture to be removed from Cecille's flat, reason enough for Niel to administer some more TLC.
  • Niels and Cecille overhear a message left on her answering machine, from the hospital informing Cecille that Joachim had finally asked to see her. Just before this scene, all hell had broken loose at Niels' household resulting in he moving out.
  • No nudity, but felt it necessary to show the reunion of Cecille and Joachim when he hesitantly asks her if she could help him.


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