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Denmark, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Northern Lights)

Director: Annette K Olesen

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 classic, The Celebration (MIFF 1998). The film's blackest joke is that the mishaps in it are scarily minor: death, terminal illness, marriage break-up and incest, both alleged and factual. The script was prepared (Mike Leigh style) through extensive improvisation with the cast, resulting in the development of genuine emotion between actors playing an extended family. When Ulla, the matriarch of the family, dies in a road accident, the family gather for her funeral. Old conflicts and sexual tension threaten to explode in accusations and infidelity. But all is not doom. The lively jibes and insults are punctuated with plentiful incidents of gallows humour and outright belly laughs, striking a perfect Scandinavian balance between darkness and light.

"An extremely warm, likeable and funny film that both in its technical polish and terrific performances, signals a very accomplished feature debut for its director." - Screen International

Annette K Olesen (born in Copenhagen, 1965) commenced her career as an editor for television before studying at the Danish Film School, where she now also teaches. Olesen has directed a number of shorts and documentaries; Minor Mishaps is her first feature film.

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