The Market and Dancers

The Market: A Tale of Trade is about Mihram, an uneducated trader in Turkey in the 1990’s. When the film opens he’s selling a telephone cable to someone who had theirs stolen–and perhaps the one he’s selling is the exact same one that was stolen. Mihram will buy or sell anything there’s a market in, and when business is good the profits tend to go into alcohol and gambling. His wife is surprisingly understanding, and she actually reminded me a little of that famous National Geographic cover picture.

The film is well done, and the characters (other than perhaps the uncle) seem real. The feeling is fairly tense, because when life is hard you’re always close to the edge. I’m not sure if there is a particular message, other than getting a feeling for life in a very different part of the world. I’ll give it 3 stars out of 4 stars.

Dancers is listed in the Cinequest program as a romantic drama, which is about right. The main characters are Annika, a 30-something dance instructor, and Lasse, an electrician. Annika lives in an apartment attached to the dance studio, which has serious power problems, which is why she and Lasse meet. She is outgoing and cheerful, while he seems very shy and emotionless.

Shortly after they meet, Lasse confesses out of the blue that he’s been in prison for fraud. Annika is taken aback, but still seems drawn to Lasse.

I won’t go into more of the story to avoid spoiling it. This is a Danish film, so I shouldn’t been surprised that it was more intense than the program made it sound. But that it is a Danish film is pretty much the reason I wanted to see it. And that rule seems to still be a good one, because I thought it was quite good. It reminded me in some ways (but far from all ways, so don’t read too much into this) The Piano Teacher. It isn’t quite as good as that film, but I will still give it 3.5 stars out of 4 stars.

I’ve been wondering what the title means. On the surface, it obviously refers to all of the dance students we see at the studio. But I wonder if it also refers to the dance that Annika and Lasse do as they figure out if they should be in a relationship. There is also be a dance between Annika and her mother. Speaking of which, my favorite line of the film is when Annika tells her mother, ”I’m not you.”

I looked up the actor who played Lasse. He’s Anders W. Berthelsen, and it turns out he was in We Shall Overcome from Cinequest two years ago (and was my favorite film there), as well as Italian for Beginners. The actresses who played Annika and her mother were both in the excellent The Celebration.

Both seen on 2/26/2009 at Cinequest.

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One Response to “The Market and Dancers

  1. Final Cinequest 19 Thoughts « Random Musings About Movies, Running, and More Says:

    […] Dancers— […]

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