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Adam's Apples


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Those are the films that crowded into my mind watching ADAM'S APPLES tonight. No kidding.

Important clarification: I'm not claiming Masterpieceness for AA. I will say it's the funniest movie I've seen for a very long time: I don't know when I've laughed as hard in many years. Also, that if you find it as funny as I did, I don't want you near my loved ones.

I'll also say it's as spiritually stimulating, baffling (during the course of the film), transgressive, theologically gutsy a movie as any I've seen.

I won't say the the film ends up anywhere I want it to end up. No comment on where it ends up. But the rowdy ride to get there raises every kind of spiritual question that I care about, bracingly so - regardless of what "answers" it may or may not end up suggesting, or undermining.

I'm not going to get specific. I don't want to put out anything like spoilers for anybody. Also, I don't know how many of you will even find an opportunity to see the film - and I'd rather converse about it and explore than opinionate and pontificate. Also, it's past midnight, and if I start writing about this one, it'll be dawn before I quit.

If there'd been another showing of this movie after the one I saw, I would have stayed in it and watched it a second time.

And I'll never hear "How Deep Is Your Love" the same way again.

Ron

P.S. All that is meant to tantalize. However, recognizing that I risk setting up expectations that will be met for no one, let me say in the strongest possible terms: this is a very idiosyncratic movie, that just happened to hit me right in the sweet spot. Will anyone else respond as I have? I doubt it. (Well, I'm thinking of mdp and stef and a couple others of aberrant cinematic proclivities, but even there I really couldn't say - I'm just too aware how peculiar this film is, and how peculiar my response to it.) But I do want to flag it - others won't likely be transported as I was, are unlikely to be wired in quite so odd a way as to be so perfectly matched with the sensibility of this film, but still... I'd love somebody to talk about it with!

Edited by Ron

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Ron wrote:

: And I'll never hear "How Deep Is Your Love" the same way again.

Oh Good Lord, that song has been on my mind the last few days. Curse you, Adam's Apples!

I liked the frequent references to the Book of Job. As with that text, so with this film (and with other films that have come out of these Dogme-tic Danish folks) -- there is an interesting question as to whether the evil that befalls us is sent by God or Satan, and how we would know the difference, and whether the distinction would even matter in the long run. (The first two chapters of Job tell us that "the prosecutor", called in Hebrew the "satan", inflicted harm on Job, with God's permission, as a way of testing whether God had the bragging rights in Job that he said he had; and then the bulk of Job revolves around Job's assumption that it is GOD who has inflicted all this harm on him; and then when God appears at the end of the book, he never challenges or corrects this assumption -- indeed, if anything, he seems to confirm it.)

So, while Adam's Apples sets out to "upset" beliefs more than to confirm them, it certainly has a biblical precedent for "upsetting" our view of the divine.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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(After looking it up because I really am out of the film loop this year.)

OK. You definitely have my interest. You have my favorite dogme writer (Mifune, The King is Alive, Open Hearts, and almost-dogme Brothers) Anders Thomas Jensen, now directing, and at that, directing Ulrich Thomsen, who has stayed in my best nightmares since Festen (Dogme #1).

Is it out now or did you get some sort of advanced copy?

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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stef wrote:

: Is it out now or did you get some sort of advanced copy?

It played a theatre in Vancouver here last week. I believe the film is technically a 2005 release, but it might not have come out in North America until now so that it could capitalize on the fact that Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the "insanely optimistic preacher" in Adam's Apples, recently played bad guy Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This thread prompted me to look into buying some Danish DVDs. So I'll soon be getting this movie plus Per Fly's The Inheritence which I'm told was quite good, and a copy of Manderlay which I still haven't seen.

So thanks very much for the tip. I'll get back to this thread once the DVD arrives.

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This thread prompted me to look into buying some Danish DVDs.

Swell! What's your source? I'd love to buy me an ADAM'S APPLE. (Are they English subtitled?)

I'll get back to this thread once the DVD arrives.

Swell.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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(After looking it up because I really am out of the film loop this year.)

Oh, there aren't many film loops that include ADAM'S APPLES!

OK. You definitely have my interest. You have my favorite dogme writer (Mifune, The King is Alive, Open Hearts, and almost-dogme Brothers) Anders Thomas Jensen, now directing, and at that, directing Ulrich Thomsen, who has stayed in my best nightmares since Festen (Dogme #1).

Yeah, the pedigree has "stef" written all over it. (Can you write on a pedigree?) I'm now eager to check out other Jensen films. Any of them have God stuff?

Is it out now or did you get some sort of advanced copy?

As Peter posted, it played at a local cinephile-type theatre (the VanCity), which is an outgrowth of the Vancouver International Film Festival. I doubt whether it will make it to the mid-range arthouse theatres (like our Fifth Avenue), and definitely won't hit the multiplexes.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Since the film is little known, here's a description...

ADAM'S APPLES (Adams

Edited by Ron

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Ron wrote:

: I got a huge kick out of the Adam / second Adam, tree / cross things that were

: going on. Whether the film maker came up with that stuff through reading

: theology, or intuitively, it's pretty snazzy stuff.

Hmmm, I wouldn't mind hearing more about that.

: Ah, or is that what you're saying? You write "beliefs" rather than "belief."

Let's just say that I don't see the film affirming any one particular set of beliefs, but rather subverting or challenging the beliefs articulated and embodied by the various characters (the minister,

the doctor

, etc.).

I agree that SOMEthing seems to be "affirmed" in the end -- but what, exactly, I am not sure. And I am also not sure whether the film actually wants to affirm something in the end, or whether it needs to give the appearance of affirming something in order to

subvert the beliefs of the one set of characters whose beliefs have not yet been subverted

.

(Incidentally, what do you make of

the minister's intervention, in the scene where he is shot? With his talk of "rudeness" or whatever, he seems to be lapsing back into the habits of the earlier scenes, when he was deep, deep in denial -- but only a couple scenes ago, we were told that he had "lost his faith". So has he still lost it? Has he reverted back to a pre-naive form of faith? Or is he actually in the process of moving forward to a post-naive form of faith

?)

BTW, my friend made a comment afterwards about a character trying to regain his "innocence", and I replied that "innocence" is not necessarily a good thing, and what the character REALLY needed was "goodness". "Goodness" allows us to see the evil in the world and overcome it. But what we see in this film is definitely not "goodness", it is mere "innocence". (This is a distinction that I first encountered when reading Thomas Hibbs's comments on Forrest Gump; the title character of that film is not "good" so much as he is "innocent", etc.)

: Peter, do you see why I cited the films I did in the subtitle of the thread?

Yup, I think so. Though not entirely sure about the Man without a Past connection.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Swell! What's your source? I'd love to buy me an ADAM'S APPLE. (Are they English subtitled?)

axelmusic.dk. They're selling four DVD packs for 100KR (about $18), one of which includes Manderlay and Dogville (!) along with 2 other films, another of which includes Adam's Apples and three other movies. Unfortunately the Adam's Apples pack was out of stock and I couldn't find another site that would ship to the US, so I had to pick up the normal version (which was about $18 itself).

All the DVDs there are Region 2 PAL, so you need a player that can handle them. All of the ones I ordered had English subs.

I use DVDTalk's International DVD forum for help with things like this. (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=12)

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, The Odd One...?

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Well, due to a scheduling mishap (ie, I played World of Warcraft too long) on Sunday I watched this tonight instead. Baffling is a good word, and it's definitely the strangest comedy I've seen in a long while.

I mostly agree with what's been said here. I won't claim it's a masterpiece, and it offers more questions than conclusions. I'm not particularly happy with where the film ended up... it seemed like it deserved another few minutes going through whatever changes a particular character goes through.

I found it very quirky, quite funny at points (

especially the scenes involving firearms... eep

), and blatantly preachy... yet it seems impossible to determine what the film was preaching about. I'll need a little longer to think about it before I come to any strong conclusions, but it was worth seeing.

(Incidentally,

what do you make of the minister's intervention, in the scene where he is shot? With his talk of "rudeness" or whatever, he seems to be lapsing back into the habits of the earlier scenes, when he was deep, deep in denial -- but only a couple scenes ago, we were told that he had "lost his faith". So has he still lost it? Has he reverted back to a pre-naive form of faith? Or is he actually in the process of moving forward to a post-naive form of faith?

)

My take on this...

I didn't see any movement towards faith at all... just the quirkiness of the character showing through. He tells the gang of neo-nazis that they can take Adam out in the woods and do whatever they want with him. It seemed pretty clear that he was still in a lost/apathetic state at this point, and didn't move towards post-naive faith until his incident in the hospital. My guess was that the hospital robes in the penultimate scene were supposed to suggest a project a "Christlike" image indicating that he had found his faith again and this time accepted his life much like a post-trials Job, but this is one of the things that could have done with some elaboration on the film's part. At the end is he just the same old pathetic preacher he was throughout the film or has he moved on to something else? Is Adam now just as pathetic, or have they both found a real faith? It's (intentionally?) unclear, making the film a little less... potent, I'd say.

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  • 6 months later...

Returning to Vancouver November 30 - December 1, as part of the European Union Film Festival.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 months later...

Update:

Adam's Apples came out on R1 DVD last month, I just found out, and it is available at Blockbuster. It'll be a nice break from my Star Wars trilogies -- I am currently thru five of the films and am actually enjoying it for the most part -- but it feels like it will be good to get back to reality.

(In my experience, Scandinavian reality is best.)

It is #1 in my queue. I really hope to get to this soon.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Since this thread was bumped, I'll just add that a few months on from my viewing, I now have much more respect for the film than I appeared to have in my previous postings. I've been trying to get some of my film-liking friends to watch it, but I had the R2 DVD, so the news of an R1 version is quite welcome.

It's a film that sticks with you, in my experience. I guess that could be since I'm watching so few films these days... but I think it also indicates a fairly strong film, in the genre of "quirky comedy that aims to speak about life".

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Thank you, Ron, for sharing your enthusiasm for this film. I doubt I would have caught this one without your encouragement. And I'm really glad I did. What a unique comedy. I laughed a lot. It's an original... I can't think of anything quite like it. Gutsy indeed.

And yet, I too am rather dissatisfied with the conclusion. It's a very messy movie that concludes a little too neatly. Still, I'm happy to find that my guesses about the conclusion were all wrong. (I thought we were going to find out that the whole series of ordeals were a charade, like Fincher's "The Game", set up to teach Adam a lesson. I'm soooo glad it didn't go there.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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When I saw this film, I enjoyed the dark humor, but I didn't really know what to make of it. But I agree that the film lingers for you for a few days afterward. It's like a puzzle, not all of them fit together, some of them are jammed together awkwardly, some of them are missing, but still they point to a fuzzy picture of a strange kind of, what would you call it, really? I guess you just have to hand it to those wacky Scandinavians, they know how to totally throw you for a loop. ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm home sick today, and watched the DVD. Loved it! My recent screenings have been duds; I was overdue for something substantive and thoughtful, although this one taps veins that take it into a more spiritual realm. I'm not sure why others were disappointed by the ending. I thought it was just right.

Does that make me the film's Biggest Fan? :)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I loved the ending. It was my personal Pick of the Month for The Kindlings Muse this month. (Podcast pending...)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I loved the ending. It was my personal Pick of the Month for The Kindlings Muse this month. (Podcast pending...)

Post a link when you have a moment. I'd love to hear more about the film. Had any of the other Muses seen it?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Ron, if you're still wondering where to buy a copy, Film Movement has it.

Yes, I bought two copies: they've arrived at my friend's US P.O. box, I pick them up Wednesday!

I'm home sick today, and watched the DVD. Loved it! My recent screenings have been duds; I was overdue for something substantive and thoughtful, although this one taps veins that take it into a more spiritual realm. I'm not sure why others were disappointed by the ending. I thought it was just right.

Does that make me the film's Biggest Fan? :)

You'd have to fight me for that title. I think the ending is terrific.

Anybody else see what I'm on about comparing the essential scandal of this film to that of Rossellini's FRANCESCO?

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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  • 10 months later...
(Well, I'm thinking of mdp and stef and a couple others

Laughed, loved, want to see it again, it's Danish, what more is there to say.

of aberrant cinematic proclivities,

<_<

More later gater, gotta head to The Shed, el Marsbo awaits.

edit: Aah, I got aberrant confused with abhorrent... Heh

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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