Jagten aka The Hunt, written by Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg, directed by the latter
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Jagten is a scary movie.
It has been nominated for The Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film, but it was the year of La Grande Bellezza.
The Hunt won the prize for best film in Romania and had another thirty six wins and sixty four nominations.
It has a fabulous Metascore of 76 and it is placed at an incredible 106 best films by the audiences that voted on IMDB:
In the leading role we benefit from the genius of Mads Mikkelsen, who won the prize in Cannes for his acting.
Thomas Bo Larsen has a supporting role and he made a strong impression on this viewer in Festen, albeit he was an obnoxious character in there.
Lucas is the teacher at the center of this narrative.
He is lonely and somewhat abrasive at times, but all the other men in his entourage and neighborhood struck me as brusque and unlikeable.
To confess my bias, I must say that I am not crazy by all things Nordic, albeit I know there are many features that we would need to import from there.
Earlier on, I was noting on The Cove and the calamity that takes place in Japan, but in the process, I learned that Norway kills more whales than Japan and Iceland combined and cares not a jot about international outrage on the topic.
But one of the main points of this film is exactly how wrong people can be- mea culpa- when they generalize and condemn someone on appearance, without looking further at facts, proofs and possible explanations.
Lucas has a series of issues and personal problems that affect his behavior and his morosity is due to his divorce…mainly.
He is affected by his separation from his son and the impossibility of communicating with his ex-wife, who hangs up on him.
She forbids him to call her and when he does and explains that he wants to see his son and they need to talk about that this woman has no compassion.
There is a glimmer of hope in this dark atmosphere, brought in by Nadja, who is helping Lucas around the house and may revitalize his broken soul as well.
But the awful tragedy of Lucas is still to unfold.
As a teacher, we see that he is an agreeable man, with a liking for children that he treats with admirable restraint and calmness.
As a man who cannot stand the crying, shouts, aggressiveness of today’s children- people behind a Tortilla Curtain next to me tend to have as many as possible and that means a seemingly endless lot, with disturbing consequences on my peace of mind-who are allowed to do, shout, cry, throw, slap anything and much more, I admired the coolness of the teacher.
There is an early scene, when a boy of about five (?) has to use the toilet and then asks Lucas to wipe his behind…
Lucas does it…
There were two things that crossed my mind at that moment-
- First I was thinking that this is a demanding job, if not exactly the penance of the most determined ascetic saints and stylites, close enough in my book
- Secondly I thought how this rates for those who determine abuse- I mean it was the second time that I saw the film and knew the story- should poor Lucas avoid answering the demand and let the boy out with shit on his pants?
- It could be better, given that the alternative might be to be accused of fondling the child and abusing him…
Klara, the little girl in the same group of children, accuses Lucas of harassment and more, with everyone giving her credit.
Lucas becomes an outcast and he is perceived as the most vile, monstrous, atrocious, repulsive criminals.
- “Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.”
In this case, the ignorance, imaginative innocence of a child is on the point of destroying a man whose life had already been pretty grim…