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In Your Hands
cast: Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Trine Dyrholm, Nicolaj Kopernikus, Sarah Boberg, and Sonja Richter

director: Annette K. Olesen

97 minutes (15) 2004
Metrodome DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Dogme 1995 first came to the world's attention when the first two films made under its 'vow of chastity', Festen and The Idiots, premiered at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Dogme preached a back-to-basics ethic, directors promising to make films using natural light, real locations without brought-in props, a handheld camera, no non-diegetic music, no genre stories, the director to be uncredited. Although this manifesto was no doubt as much a publicity stunt as much as it was serious, some fine films were made under its banner, the above two among them. (The Idiots does divide people, but it's certainly provocative.) At its best, by disallowing too many directorial flourishes (the lack of credit intended to remove the temptations of egotism), Dogme films tended towards low-key realism, with the emphasis placed more on the script and performances.

In Your Hands (aka: Forbrydelser) is the 34th and reputedly last Dogme film. Anna (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) is a newly qualified priest given a job in a women's prison. At the same time, Kate Kristoffersen (Trine Dyrholm), is transferred from another prison to this one. Soon word gets round that she can perform miracles, curing a fellow prisoner from drug addiction, much to the local pusher's distaste. But Kate has a secret - when on drugs herself, she left her child alone to die of thirst. This is kept from her fellow prisoners for fear of reprisals. Then Anna, who has been told she cannot conceive, finds herself pregnant - but learns that her foetus has a chromosomal abnormality. The film deals seriously and without religiosity, issues of faith and miracles. Ultimately faith is not enough, which leads to a tragic ending to a well-acted and thought-provoking film.

Another Dogme precept was that the film had to be shot in the old Academy ratio (1.37:1), which is transferred to DVD in a 4:3 full-frame image. Like most Dogme films it was shot on video (Dogme #3, Mifune, was an exception by being originated on 16mm film), and the image is a little soft with a yellowish cast to some scenes. The soundtrack is plain Dolby surround in the original Danish language: it's very much front and centre with the surrounds used occasionally for ambience. There's no music score, except over the final credits.

The extras include a 33-minute Q&A with the director, hosted by Lizzie Francke after the film's London Film Festival screening. There are also interviews with the director, actors Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Trine Dyrholm and Sonja Richter, and 19 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.

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