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THE BENCH

Denmark, 2000 (MIFF 2002, Northern Lights)

Director: Per Fly

An incisive, witty and deeply moving drama about responsibility and solidarity. Per Fly's directorial debut tells the story of alcohol-ravaged Kaj in the sympathetic, straightforward style adopted in the best films of Ken Loach (particularly My Name is Joe, MIFF 1999) and Mike Leigh.

Kaj (a superb turn by one of Denmark's most prominent actors, Jesper Christensen, see also Minor Mishaps) is a stubborn man with a great deal of pride. The former master chef lives in a council flat. He has wasted his life, turned his back on a brilliant career in favour of binge drinking, and is now on a job-training scheme for the long-term unemployed, weeding for the dole.

When Kaj's daughter, with whom he has not been in touch for 19 years, moves into the same council estate, on the run from her violent husband, a change comes over Kaj. His initial instinct is to avoid her, but chance decrees that he ends up babysitting Jonas, her six-year-old son. For the first time in years Kaj has genuine responsibilities and must reach through an alcohol haze to protect his estranged loved ones.

Per Fly graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 1993. He has directed several series for television and made commercials, music videos and shorts, including The Little Knight (1999) and the prizewinning Kalder Katrine! (1994). Prior to his feature film debut The Bench, Fly directed the animated feature Prop & Berta (2000).

See also...

MANSLAUGHTER

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MINOR MISHAPS

Berlin Film Festival award winner Minor Mishaps exhibits the peculiarly Danish brand of bittersweet intimate comedy and turbulent family relationships handled so expertly in Thomas Vinterberg's ... More »

THE ICELANDIC DREAM

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A SONG FOR MARTIN

Martin Fischer, one of his nation's most beloved and esteemed composers, begins a fiery relationship with his married first violinist Barbara. An idyllic Moroccan honeymoon and the imminent ... More »

MOTHERS OF LIFE

Mothers of Life serves as a companion piece to Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lahmuskallio's previous film, Seven Songs from the Tundra (MIFF 2000). Once again the filmmakers journeyed to the remote ... More »

DRAGONFLIES

Eddie and Maria have met at a time in their lives when they're both keen to start life afresh, eager to leave their respective pasts behind. But the past has a way of emerging unexpectedly. One day ... More »

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