There’ve been a fair share of cons produced under the auspices of Dogma 95, but when American critics began to condescendingly dismiss Lars von Trier’s aesthetic movement as a publicity stunt, they essentially closed their eyes to some of the more difficult moral inquiries these films were trying to make. In revolting against von Trier’s allegedly hawkish desire to ingratiate himself with the American press, the anti-Dogma brigade ironically put forth attitudes as bad as the ones they accused von Trier of employing. In essence: “Mr. von Trier, we the press are hipper than thou!” The 34th film made under the Dogma 95 banner, Annette K. Olesen’s In Your Hands sounds risible on paper but its incessant moral interrogation is presented with great sensitivity. Anna (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen), a female priest who can’t have children, goes to work at a prison for women, where a new arrival, Kate (Trine Dyrholm), appears to be performing miracles. Because the female prisoners so easily turn to the quiet and seemingly unfriendly Kate, Anna comes to resent the woman for her alleged communion with some higher power. “There’s something about her and God,” says one prisoner to Anna, claiming that Kate cured her of her drug addition. By the time a prison guard, Henrik (Nicolaj Kopernikus), learns that Kate isn’t running away from the law but the potential judgment of her family and friends before they arrive at her sister’s wedding, it’s already clear that In Your Hands means to convey the divinity of human interaction. Every subplot in the film (a female prison guard resents Frank for shunning her in favor of Kate; Anna becomes pregnant but learns that she may have to abort the “baby”; a drug-pusher has it out for Kate for cutting down her business) evokes humanity trying to do right by their contract with God. There isn’t a single person here who isn’t trying to figure out how they should (and should not) treat others who may (or may not) share their moral perspective, and it’s this faith that we can do right by each other in spite of our sometimes horrible actions that sets the generous and captivating In Your Hands apart from other Dogma films before it.
- Newmarket Films
- 101 min
- Annette K. Olesen
- Kim Kupz Aakeson, Annette k. Olesen
- Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Trine Dyrholm, Benedikte Hansen, Sarah Boberg, Petrine Agger, Jens Albinus, Nicolaj Kopernikus, Lars Ranthe, Sonja Richter, Henrik Prip
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