Article from the Danish Newspapaer Politiken, by film critic Erik Jensen.
“The alarm goes off in an apartment above Palle’s Tanning Salon in the rural village of Skals. Residents Henrik Steffensen and cat Whisky gets up. First on the agenda is a trip to his grandfather's funeral in Germany. Shirt, suit, tie and sunglasses in the style of Elvis Presley, in his era of self-promotion in Las Vegas. Accompanied by his older brother, Christian, Henry arrives late for the funeral. But is it also too late for the two brother to inherit millions after their grandfather? Money, which as Christian states “they have waited their whole life for."
The focal point of Christian Sønderby Jepsen's revealing documentary, 'The Will' is the classical family conflict surrounding an - assumed - heritage. Millions that could potentially transform their existence from a life lived in the shadow of dreams. But can an inheritance also remove a family's fateful trauma from a life lived in a perpetual hope of scooping the big prize from grandfather one day? This is the underlying question in a compelling and fascinating story, that strictly speaking ought to stand out as a candidate for the title of Danish Film of the Year.
"I've seen that you are looking for a story for a documentary film. I come from a wealthy family and a childhood marked by failure and scandals. Now, my grandfather is on his deathbed, and I stand to inherit millions. A new beginning?”so read the email, that 33-year-old Henrik Steffensen wrote to Christian Sønderby Jepsen. With this message he gave the director a terrific premise for a film, whose final out-fall hardly anyone could have imagined. Gentle and present ”The Will” tells a story of the two brothers, their children, their father, Henry's wife Ceci, half-brother Andrew and the absentee German aunt Petra in a remarkable palette of characters. All behave exactly as the late grandfather had anticipated, and as Henry notes a way into the movie, all masks are slowly dropped, revealing his family’s true face. With an unconventional handling of the story, breaking with the traditional chronological momentum, Christian Sønderby Jepsen carries us through old pictures and video clips, explaining how and why these two truly sweet, poetic and sensible brothers ended up in life's blind alleys.
And constantly present, is both brother’s great yearning for their lost mother, whom they lost years previously to a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Now, they use marijuana to keep Christian's addiction to harder drugs at bay, as they fight to stick together and battle for the inheritance that their German aunt Petra, is apperently attempting to wrestle them out of. All the while dad stands on the sidelines in Denmark, trying to control the troops, possibly founded in his own selfish interests.
With The Doors and Jim Morrison as a reference point, the brothers bustle back and forth between their grandfathers German empire of large villas and hotels on the beach and the lopsided reality amidst the beautiful scenery around the small town Skals. Surroundings which Christian Sønderby Jepsen, who has himself captured the images in 'The Will', manipulates into an almost religious tableau. An aesthetic which mirrors Henrik’s simultaneous attraction and disgust at revivalist preachers as a way out of the mire.
In its own way seeing “The Will” is like to following the Danish comedy trio "The Boys from Angola" on tour into reality. The film balances on a knife’s edge, too dedicated to an unrelenting solidarity with its main characters to reduce itself to cheap laughs. Rather, one needs to be made of stone not to be moved by the portrayal.The struggle for the fortune will be ruthless. To find out whether the brothers will succeed in bringing it home, you have to experience that struggle for yourself. In the telling, you will be given a fantastic insight into the everyday, somewhere in Denmark, in the company of people that gradually discover that money might not be so necessary to transformation as first thought.
It took courage from the cast to be in this movie. Because it tells the entire story behind a traumatized family. All this desire to show it all started up with an email from main character Henrik:
I can see that you are looking for a story for a documentary. I come from a wealthy family where my childhood was marked by failures and scandals. Now, my grandfather is on his deathbed and I stand as the heir of many millions.
A new beginning?
Henrik aka Lux Lucis…
The text caught the producer and my attention and 1 week later, I moved in with Henrik who lives in a small North Jutland live Skals outside Viborg. With this kind of "methoddirecting" I was able to get to know him, and his acquaintances in a natural way where I felt able tocapture the detail and intimacy.
I have previously made films that were very staged - for example, "Side by Side" who cultivated the magnificence of image and theme, while the realization of the truth slowly emerged. With the webseries "Doxwise" filming was roughly out of my hands, I of course directed and pushed in different directions, but purely psychological. This method opened my eyes to the harsh reality that with the right cast and story you can tone down the staging. Letting go...
With The will, I stood in the middle of the ultimate combination. A reality which is magnificent in itself with death, manipulation and great emotions. An epic tale that unfolded before my eyes.My ambition is to "The will" tells a raw reality with the somewhat bizarre and highly sympathetic main character Henrik and his strange life, thoughts and entourage. A realistic drama that at some points surpasses the imagination of extremity and unpredictability.
— Christian Sønderby Jepsen, director
Bombay Bully is copenhagenbombay's youth department.
Bombay Bully's emphasis on the realistic and Unfiltered story in eyesight. In an acclaimed and intelligent language, the goal is to create reflection on relevant topics.
In both genre and platform, there are variations from documentary to fiction, from cinema to application. Bombay Bully will not be recognized on the appearance or genre, but on the unfiltered story, the bare realities, and the full story with room for contemplation.Segment: 15-25 years.
|Production:||Copenhagen Bombay Bully|
|Executive producer:||Sarita Christensen|
|Director:||Christian Sønderby Jepsen|
|Feature Length:||86 minutes|
Julie E. Pedersen