This week, take an opportunity to catch up with two of 2010’s best foreign-language films at Ogden’s Art House Cinema 502. ---
Back in April, I wrote a “You Missed It” blog talking about Dogtooth—a 2010 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film—as one of the best films that Utah audiences never got a chance to see in a theater. Now that description no longer applies, and you can check out Yorgos Lanthimos’ brilliantly twisted portrait of parents with a very strict sense for how to raise their children, and the consequences of that strictness. Be prepared for bursts of both violence and dark humor, as well as a pointed critique of bubble-wrapping our children to protect them from the world.
Imagine Twin Peaks in the middle of rural Denmark, and you have a good sense of Terribly Happy, a funky thriller/dark comedy from co-writer/director Henrik Ruben Genz. There’s a new marshall in the town of Skarrild: Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren), a Copenhagen cop re-assigned after personal and professional screw-ups. But the local folk have their own way of handling things, as Robert discovers when dealing with a woman (Lene Maria Christensen) who accuses her husband of physical abuse. Genz does a terrific job of establishing the quirky particulars of Skarrild and its residents, and some of the key suspense moments are perfectly pitched, building to low-key surprises that keep the tension perpetually at a low hum. Nothing here really aims to work on an emotional level, but when the storytelling aesthetics are this crisply executed, it’s hard to complain.