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Archive for July 15th, 2013

Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen in Thomas Vinterberg’s wrenching Danish drama “The Hunt.”

by Sam Juliano

In The Hunt the devastation wrought on an innocent man and his rural Danish community reaches tragic proportions after an innocuous comment leads authorities on a witch hunt.  Family relationships are severely strained, loyalty succumbs to mistrust and banishment, and simmering resentment morphs into guilt by association and finally, violence.  Acclaimed Danish director Thomas Vinterberg returns to the central focus of his exceptional 1998 film Festen, though it examines a different aspect of sex abuse issue that was broached almost immediately in the earlier work.  In the appropriately-titled new filmthe thrust is less concerned with denial, than it is with how easily a community is willing to believe an unsubstantiated allegation without any semblance of fair play.   The film is certainly a cautionary tale aimed at those who embrace rumors and baseless charges, but even more resonantly it’s a harrowing drama that is powerfully engrossing, all the time boiling your blood over the shocking injustice it showcases.

A mild-mannered, popular teacher, Lucas, trying to make ends meet after a divorce takes a position in a kindergarten day school.  An imaginative young girl feels jilted after Lucas smartly gives back her plastic heart and politely rebuffs her kiss.  Spurred on by a pornographic image seen on her brother’s iPad, she tells the principal that Lucas is “stupid” and he has a penis that “sticks out.”  The woman then uses some persuasive wordplay to turn that declaration into a accusation of indecent exposure.  The school psychologist then leads on Klara further with loaded questions that fully support the baseless allegation.  The entire community takes to believing the girl under the bizarre notion that all children tell the truth, and a horrific series of events spiral bringing terrible retribution to the formerly well-liked and popular father of a teen age son. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

We continue to move deeper into the summer and in most regions the heat is settling in for a protracted stay.  Many friends and associates are away, taking refuge at their regular vacation spots, while others are enjoying first-time explorations.  Of course it’s winter for a few of us, a time when every observation is pretty much in reverse.

Though it seemed like an eternity for western ballot voters to cast their lot, we are now down to about two weeks -16 days to be exact- for those who intend on offering up their two cents (rather 60)to help determine the 70 films that will be be essayed at the site over several months for the third genre polling that has been negotiated at WitD.  The western countdown will commence on or about September 1st and will run till mid-December.  At least a dozen writers have already expressed their desire to participate with several already placing reservations on some titles that appear certain to make the final cut.  A few voters like Jon Warner, Sachin Gandhi and Shubhait Lahiri are to be especially applauded for their remarkable dedication to the project. (more…)

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