Just Another Love Story (Kærlighed på film)
While much has been made of Danish cinema’s interest in realism in the wake of Dogme, how many Scandinavian films have been equally interested in self-reflexivity? Whether it’s von Trier’s overlooked Manderlay playing like a homage to curious 1970s slavery romancers Mandingo and Drum, AntiChrist which works similar anticipatory tricks with the audience as torture porn, or Thomas Vinterberg’s homages to sci-fi and western respectively in It’s All About Love and Dear Wendy, there seems to be a knowing streak at work.
Director Ole Bornedal calls his film Just Another Love Story so he can offer a tale not so much of mistaken identity as of confused and adopted ones. Julia (Rebecka Hemse) careers into the back of another car driven by the married Jonas (Anders W Berthjelsen), and as he goes to her aid a strange obsession takes hold. When she ends up in a coma and he starts to visit, the partly responsible Jonas may feel guilty, but he’s also besotted. As he helps her out of her comatose state he is also taken by her wealthy family to be the man Julia met whilst backpacking in Cambodia. Why disabuse them, when Julia seems to be returning to health, and he gets to spend time with a woman he’s falling in love with, a woman who of course cannot remember him, but who warms to his warmth?
Bornedal as writer and director eventually loses interest in the subtleties of psychology and social milieu for a thriller denouement (the simultaneously charming and scary Nikolas Lie Kaas is drafted in), but this is a knowing thriller, aware of its conventions and still capable of getting a few moments of surprise and shock out of the audience.
GFT, Glasgow from Fri 21 Aug 2009.