Cinemagoers who signed up for Italian For Beginners may feel they've taken a course in déja vu when they see Annette K Olesen's debut. Made by the same producer, it's another helping of Danish Dogme-lite, one that breaks a few of the rules but doesn't stretch the imagination like Festen or The Idiots.
Less contrived than Italian..., it nonetheless shares that film's reliance on excellent ensemble acting to pep up its familiar narrative. Investing heavily in Mike Leigh's patented brand of bittersweet, Olesen charts the fallout of a family bereavement as newly widowed John (Jørgen Kiil) renegotiates his relationship with his three adult children.
Items on the dramatic agenda include adultery and accusations of incest (à la Festen) but it's the comedy that carries more weight, whether it's John faking a seizure at the dinner table or a recurring riff on haiku writing. Watchable enough as an actors' piece, but the word "minor" unfortunately serves as an apt assessment.
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