Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lars Kaalund, Bodil Jørgensen, Ann Eleanora Jørgensen, Peter Gantzler, Peter Hesse Overgaard
Written by: Lone Scherfig, Niels Hausgaard
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Danish with English subtitles
Running Time: 97
Date: 03/30/2007

Just Like Home (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

A Report from SFIFF

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Writer/director Lone Scherfig made one of the most beloved of the Dogme 95 films, and certainly the sweetest, with Italian for Beginners. Though she was not afraid to run her characters through the glum, grim ringer, her tone was unmistakably warm. It was almost as if she didn't belong with that group of rule-following sourpusses. Here she returns with a similarly goofy, multi-character study with more sweetness. This time she has announced as her gimmick the fact that she wrote her script every day during production, never knowing where it was going to turn out. That aside, the highly enjoyable Just Like Home plays like a very good Hollywood rom-com, set in a peculiar little town. The town square has been dug up by tractors and awaits some kind of rebuilding. A naked man has been seen running around at night, causing all kinds of commotion; in the daylight, every man is a suspect. A local advice hotline becomes the center of activity as the town leaders encourage the naked man to call and confess. Of course, there's a newcomer in town, an escapee from some strict religious camp. Each character has some kind of uniquely bizarre trait, such as the town scholar who gives lectures and collects plates, or the grizzled, angry orphan who thinks he's addicted to drugs (it's really baby aspirin), or the dingy, good-hearted blonde. Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, star of the Dogme set, provides some truly unique cinematography, using colorful flares, smears and reflections to add a slightly foggy, unrealistic quality to the film. Niels Hausgaard co-wrote the screenplay.

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