It's a mystery how Peter Schonau Fog manages to combine child abuse, a study of a rural community, affecting tragedy and black comedy into a satisfying whole, but in "The Art of Crying" he pulls it off. A gently offbeat study of a Jutland family in the early 1970s as seen through the merciless, innocent gaze of an 11 year-old boy, this refreshingly unconventional pic tackles its taboos with
compassion, grace and wit.
Jonathan Holland, Variety

Emotionally devastating and astonishingly mature, this is a unique feature debut. Steve Gravestock, Toronto International Filmfestival

A young Scandinavian genius tackles Bergmanesque themes of family taboos and relationships with pathos, humor, and a loving eye. Chiseko Tanaka, Tokyo International Film Festival

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hollywood Reporter review

The Art of Crying
Bottom Line: Its relentlessly despairing tone will make it a hard sell overseas.

By Richard James Havis
Nov 28, 2007
Final Cut Prods.

NEW YORK -- This slice of Nordic doom and gloom envelops the gruesome behavior of its subjects in a jaunty charm. The story of a dysfunctional family with a tyrannical, child-abusing father ambles along like a gentle pastoral tale. The clash of style and subject matter ultimately proves quite startling, as does the movie's capacity for meting out forgiveness. But its relentlessly despairing tone will make it a hard sell overseas. The Danish film screened at the EFP New York Industry Screenings.

"The Art of Crying," directed by Peter Schonau Fog from a novel by Erling Jepsen, is told from the point of view of 11-year-old Allan (Jannik Lorenzen). Allan is in the thrall of his unsavory father, Papa (Jesper Asholt), who suffers from an inferiority complex and bullies his two children. Papa uses Allan to keep tabs on daughter Sanne (Julie Kolbeck), especially when she's dating. Suspicions about Papa's overzealous investigations into Sanne's romances are confirmed when he's revealed as an incestuous child molester.

The script, by Bo Hr Hansen, cleverly expresses the nonjudgmental view of a child who doesn't know any better. Allan doesn't realize that there's anything wrong with his family and is quite proud of his father until it dawns on him that Papa's relationship with Sanne is not quite right. The mother, played by Hanne Hedelund, is a study in cowardice, allowing the abuse to continue. The film also examines how rural isolation can build close-knit communities oblivious to general standards of right and wrong.

Performances are all above par, with Asholt managing to immerse himself in the role of a child abuser.