Elsker dig for evigt
starring Sonja Richter, Mads Mikkelsen, Paprika Steen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas
screenplay by Susanne Bier & Anders Thomas Jensen
directed by Susanne Bier
by Walter Chaw Susanne Bier's first Dogme 95 film Open Hearts (Elsker dig for evigt) is the Danish movement's twenty-eighth and the second by a female director after last year's Italian for Beginners. It reveals the austere, half-snooty/half-tongue-in-cheek manifesto as a surprisingly effective platform for a reinvention of the woman's picture--a resurrection of the estrogen melodramas circa Mildred Pierce, the legitimizing of the soap opera genre fallen on disrepute since the invention of soaring violins and Julia Roberts. The limiting constraints of Dogme 95, most of them aimed at stripping filmmaking of all artifice, seems to purify the emotionalism latent in stories of paralyzed lovers and star-crossed priests--perhaps the least expected offshoot of a movement that is not only extremely distracting, but probably began life as something of a joke.