Susanne Bier is a Lady

I haven’t been watching very many movies lately. But of the movies I have been watching, Susanne Bier is standing out more than anyone else.

She’s this awesome director from my hometown, (Hjemland, if you will) Denmark. And she makes movies about mostly good – but flawed – people making mostly good – but sometimes regrettable – choices. All of her films are character-driven, slow-moving, microscopic looks at relationships. And even when parts of the film don’t work (usually the soundtrack choices), the performances she gets out of her actors are always incredible.

Even Halle Berry and David Duchovny! Now, you know I love me some Fox Mulder, but Duchovny’s somewhat of a one-track actor. He always plays a kind of obsessive ladies man with a quick wit. Not so in Things We Lost in the Fire. Do you remember seeing the trailers for this one? It was awful. They were packaging it as a drug fueled thriller, but there’s really nothing thrilling about it. Instead, like many of Bier’s films, it’s a movie about death and how you deal with death of loved ones. Looking past some of the cheesy lines, I think this is definitely the best film of both Berry and Duchovny’s careers. And may be the best of Benicio del Toro’s.

Most recently I watched her Dogme 95 film Open Hearts. It’s a really painful story, but she approaches the subject with so much honesty. You’d think that would be a staple of dogme 95 films, but that hasn’t really been my experience. I feel like many directors who work in the genre want to use the natural lighting and sets as a way to shock and disorient you. They use the human body as something ugly and greasy, ready to be injected with drugs that will bruise and disfigure it. Open Hearts takes the opposite approach, taking a realist approach to what could be an overly dramatic situation. There are affairs, car accidents, screaming matches, door slamming, and paralyzation, and yet the film is very quiet.

Susanne Bier. Check her out.



Filed under Whitney

3 responses to “Susanne Bier is a Lady

  1. Hey Whitney!

    I’ve been having fun re-reading your old 1001 Must See Movies posts, as I’ve decided to pick up the mantle after the extended hiatus. The club should not be without a host!

    On the week of November 29th to December 5th, 2010, I will be hosting an good old fashioned Blog-A-Thon to re-inaugurate the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club.

    I am writing you today to invite you to contribute a post on the first film on the epic 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die List, George Méliès’ A Trip To The Moon (1902) aka Le voyage dans la lune. Since you’re an old club member, it would be great to see your contribution!

    One of the many great things about “A Trip To The Moon” is that this short film is available everywhere for viewing. I’ve put a couple links for you of the complete film at the bottom of the page.

    If you’re interested, drop me a link or a line through my site (, and feel free to spread the word!

    Un voyage dans la lune:

    Alternate link:

  2. I haven’t managed Things we lost in the Fire yet, but I loved After the Wedding and Brothers was really interesting.

    Will definitely try to look Things up after your positive comments.

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