Thursday, July 26, 2007

KBT Presents: PRAG

I'll be quite brief on this as it has been a busy month. After a six week hiatus, I'm itching to get KBT back up and running; particularly because I have a lot of offbeat and interesting films to project onto the screen in the small dark room. Not the least of which is a recent Danish drama which premiered at TIFF last year. Prag follows a middle aged couple in the midst of a crumbling relationship from Copenhagen to Prague with the goal of picking up the body of a dead relative. Cold and stony Christoffer is played by the bogglingly talented Mads Mikkelsen (Last seen crying blood tears and playing Texas Hold 'Em in Casino Royale , but much better in other KBT favorites Adams Apples and The Pusher Trilogy), who has been estranged from his dad for more than a decade and is working on alienating his wife (she has already taken the liberty of having an affair). Picking up the last earthly remains of his father is more a civic duty than a sense of emotional closure. As the couple gets a bit of the Lost in Translation vibe from the foreign Czech Republic culture, they try to quietly hash out their differences while completing the bureaucracy to obtain the body.

What makes Prag an exceptional film is that the story telling strategy employed by director Ole Christian Madsen involves filming facial expression and body language more than plot points and dialogue. Anyone who has at some time or another been involved in a crumbling relationship is sure to recognize the signs on display; even as the performances from both leads are models of subtlety and restraint. Some light and dark comedic touches keep the film from any sort of bogging down that often plagues films such as this, say French talkies. The gorgeous backgrounds of Prague provide an ironic romantic backdrop to the proceedings. That much of the Danish cinema that I've encountered over the past few years (it has certainly been a fun national cinema to watch) is either over-the-top black comedy or gritty and bloody violence, Prag's quiet and detached nature is a breezy change.

3 Comments:

Blogger Stewart said...

Kurt, may I ask where you got a hold of this to show it? Is it on a commercially released DVD?

I'm familiar with tracking down UK and Asian titles, but could use help with the rest of Europe.

Stew

8:39 PM  
Blogger Stewart said...

Kurt emailed me and told me:

"I believe I ordered it from CD-WOW, (here: http://www13.cd-wow.com/detail_results_2.php?product_code=1901545&subcat=region2 ) . The site does not say that there are english SUBS on the disc, but fear-not, there are."

4:03 PM  
Blogger Kurt Halfyard said...

Oh, and MAKE SURE you have a PAL compliant multi-region DVD player, as it is a R2 PAL disc!

4:28 PM  

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