Monday, December 17, 2007

Adam's Apple

A friend lent me this DVD, solemnly committing it to my care, explaining that it is not available in the U.S. and that he had great difficulty obtaining it from Europe. Somehow I missed this at Sundance a few years ago. I've never been a huge fan of Danish films, so maybe that's why I overlooked it. But this effort from director Anders Jensen is a far cry from Lars Von Trier. Adams Apple (or Adams Aebler, as it appears on the DVD in Danish) is an extraordinary movie.

Unfortunately, it defies description. This is Candide done by Franz Kafka, with tastes of Kierkegaard, Camus and all their existentialist friends, and maybe a little Plato and Nietzche and ... not sure anyone can be left out. It's an absurd examination of good and evil, and both the attractive and repugnant elements of religious zeal. It is a violent comedy with dark, brooding themes and an outrageously quirky cast of characters, somewhere between the Coen Brothers and Little Miss Sunshine.

Adam is a neo-Nazi sociopath that is sent to this country church at some stage in his rehabilitation process. The church is run by Ivan, a seemingly unflappable priest with a tenuous hold on reality and a world viewed only in black and white (well, mostly white). The rest of the cast is equally odd, including a reforming Pakistani terrorist, an oafish kleptomaniac alcoholic former tennis player, Ivan's son, who has cerebral palsy, and a local doctor who finds vulgar humor in his patient's ills.

Somehow, Jensen manages to make this film an engaging drama, with compelling characters trying to find their way among the absurdities of life. And somehow, he manages to infuse the story with dozens of symbols and metaphors, working a loom of philosophy and idealogy, yet at the same time keeping the whole thing so simple and comprehensible, so accessible and within range of you and me.

Hopefully it will be released someday in the U.S. If you get a chance--grab it.


Blogger Bill said...

I just saw that this movie was finally released in the U.S. on DVD last week.

6:11 PM  

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