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Susanne Bier: The Blue of Death

A vision of the movie In a Better World, from an angle.

Susan Pierre:The Blue of Death

By: Sara Salah

Susanne Bier, holding fast to the human, throws an eye at humanitarian belonging. She sheds light, in this film, on human relationships in tales of the Third World, arguing that they are an integral part of her tales about death. These tales are represented by her characters in their commitment to the locale. Tales that embody the voice of fear and conflict in a solid dialogue and a robust scenario. Africa of Death, where Anton’s work brings him to face the dying innocents in a camp for the displaced as victims of gangs that kill women and children. Anton’s separation from his wife Marion factors in. On the other side, Christian, whose mother has recently died of cancer, moves from London to live with his grandmother in Denmark where he meets Anton’s son Elias at school. 

Christian’s speech at the church reflects the poeticness of cinema when it links the aridness of the desert with the gloominess of funerals. It is inherently a lofty piece of prose in Christian’s speech. While Anton faces the odds in African camps that ooze of the stench of death, he confronts the error of a rising superego in his primary school son Elias and tries to fill the gaps of imbalance between good and evil in him. Anton’s high sense of virtue and his self-denying conscience freeze him into inaction towards harm. But Christian comes to balance Elias’s self love and thus help reduce the scrambling of injustice and the rampant bullying upon his friend in that school stage. However, Elias has his own external reasons. From his parents, as we have mentioned. His mother’s separation due to his dad’s repeated infidelities. But the question is why they happened?Where they existential drives provoked by the spreading death in his field of work? Has he resorted to sex as an instinct that aids him in the struggle with death? He who has been a life giver; a physician.

Christian, on his own, is the child who is angry with his father; blaming him and thinking that he participated in the killing of his cancer-stricken mother. Christian directs the anger caused by the death of his mother to ward off death from his loved ones as if that will bring back his mother’s tormented soul. But, meanwhile, his father resumes his normal life and lets the death of his wife dry up completely, soon.
All these characters have looming death as their strongest driver. The higher the moral motive, the deeper is the human sense. And all these deep human emotions are closely captured by Bier’s lens in the features of her characters; their sadness, joy and anger; when they feel humiliated, when they tend to soothe wounded dignity or when they show tolerance. Bier also uses a shaky camera to express the disordered emotions of her characters in search for the desired equilibrium. Even the colors are portrayed in lackluster to convey emotional disorder and sadness.

Movie Specs
In a Better World 2010.
Winner Golden Globe Best Foreign Film (BFF) 2011.
Winner: Oscar for BFF 2011. 
Genre: Danish drama 
Written by: Oscar-winning screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen.
Directed by Susanne Bier. Her movie After The Wedding won winner of Oscar BFF 2007.


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