"Mifune," a Different Sort of Dogme, with Soren Kragh-Jacobsen
by Anthony Kaufman
(indieWIRE/2.29.2000) -"Mifune," the third Dogme95 film is a much quieter affair than its more audacious predecessors, Thomas Vinterberg's "Celebration" and Lars Von Trier's "The Idiots." "Mifune" breaks the mold of what we've come to expect from the movement, shooting on film, rather than digital video, and in a mode more akin to romantic comedy than psychological penetration. Still, director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen adhered to the infamous ten rules known as the Vow of Chastity; his only major transgressions: chasing some chickens onto their location, borrowing a hydraulic platform for an overhead shot, and moving some furniture.
The film, which opened in New York and Los Angeles last Friday, follows a yuppie newlywed (Anders W. Berthelsen) who must leave his wife behind to handle the affairs of his recently deceased father and retarded brother Rud (Jesper Asholt) in their rural farmhouse. When a high-class prostitute (Iben Hjejle, next appearing in Stephen Frear's "High Fidelity") leaves her dark past to fill in the role of housekeeper, the odd trio lives together in by turns hapless and symbiotic harmony. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the film shortly after winning the Silver Bear and Special Jury Prize at Berlin '99. indieWIRE's Anthony Kaufman recently spoke with Kragh-Jacobsen, the 52-year-old veteran director with some eight films to his name (including last year's Emmy-award winning drama "The Island on Bird Street"), about the rules of Dogme, making movies swing like music, and Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune.
(For Dogme95 nuts, keep on the look out for numerous upcoming projects, Kristian Levring's English-language Dogme 4 project, "The King Is Alive" which sold to several territories in the American Film Market last week, Jean Marc Barr's French entry, "Lovers," and "D-dag," the Danish Dogme brotherhood's millennium experiment: the four founding members (Trier, Vinterberg, Kragh-Jacobsen, and Levring) each remotely tracked four different characters live through the streets of Copenhagen on last New Year's Eve, each segment airing on a separate television station