CELEBRATIONS & CONFESSIONS GALORE…

‘Efter Brylluppet’ or ‘After the Wedding’ is acclaimed Danish director – Susanne Bier’s family drama which unfolds like a thriller, but possesses the lasting reverberence of  psychological turmoil that addresses the most basic of human concerns – the acceptance of death.  

In order to maintain an Indian orphanage in dire straits, Danish volunteer Jacob Petersen (Mads Mikkelsen) visits his homeland to meet with a self-indulgent millionaire – Jørgen (Rolf Lassgard), a man who represents everything that Jacob abhors.

Jørgen feigns studying the proposed noble plans, but ultimately offers a rather generous donation contingent upon a very strange request. Inviting Jacob to his daughter’s wedding, Jørgen has some plans up his sleeve that shock both the naive transplant, and Jørgen’s unsuspecting family.

With revelations that turn everyone’s world upside down, from Jacob discovering his paternity, and Jørgen’s family learning of his sickness, ‘After the wedding’ is a poignant look at relationships… an introspective study of the lengths a person will go to, to preserve a family.

My favorite characters are Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen) the wife, and Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen) the newlywed daughter – both very well-written and three dimensional characters, a rare quality in female protagonists. With a great performance by Mads Mikkelson (better known as the villanous ‘Le Chifre’ in Casino Royale), this film asks big questions, but doesn’t pretend to know the answers. Instead, the characters, all very organic to the story, simply live their lives – coping, learning, failing, growing…

Denmark’s cogent entry to the Foreign film category at the 2006 Academy Awards, this movie is an intense emotional powerhouse and a must see for any foreign film enthusiast.

Suggested similar movies: Breaking the waves, Life as a house.  

Also by Susanne Bier: Brothers, Open hearts.