September 25 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter
I just finished reading Ray Carney's encyclopedic biography of American filmmaker John Cassavetes this week (titled "Cassavetes on Cassavetes"). I find it interesting that Anders Thomas Jensen's method of working is very similar to the way Cassavetes created his independent films. Like Cassavetes, Jensen works with the same group of actors (Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas have been in all four of his films, for instance)so he can write roles specifically for them and incorporate their ideas into his films.
Jensen's stories tend to take place in isolated, rural areas and "Men and Chicken" is no exception. Much of the film was shot on location in a former insane asylum near Berlin. The atmosphere created by shooting in such a building adds an element of Gothic fairy-tale that is wonderful. While Jensen's characters are also eccentric and extraordinary, their underlying needs are not. Elias, one of five brothers in "Men and Chicken" states, "It's not good to be excluded", a sentiment with which the audience can identify.
There is a certain shock value in all of Jensen's films, and the same can be said about Chilean director Pablo Larrain's film "The Club" (2015). The story centers around a group of disgraced Catholic priests and a nun who live in exile in a small coastal village. Their peace is disrupted when a victim of sexual abuse by a priest discovers the home and begins harassing its residents. The film is a scathing indictment of the sex crimes committed by those in positions of authority. It is more graphic than "Spotlight", so is not for all viewers. It is a film, however, made by a fearless director and I would recommend it for viewers who want to experience the emotional power of cinema.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Men and Chicken Film Review
Filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen explores the meaning of family, employing his singular blend of shocking dark comedy and deeply affecting drama.
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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor
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