© mindjazz pictures UG

Von Vätern und Müttern (Fathers and Mothers, Fædre & mødre)
Denmark 2022

Opening 23 May 2024

Directed by: Paprika Steen
Writing credits: Jakob Weis
Principal actors: Jacob Lohmann, Katrine Greis-Rosenthal, Rasmus Bjerg, Lise Baastrup, Nikolaj Lie Kaas

Hannah (Ida Skelbæk-Knudsen) has just enrolled in a new sixth grade, where she attempts to fit in. Her parents Piv and Ulrik must also readjust, being confronted with at least five other couples who all believe to be in control. As they say, “Parents are the backbone of the school.” They are skeptical of Piv and Ulrik, considering that Hannah has changed schools four times recently. Still, the parents have other topics to discuss, i.e., a week-long class trip into a cabin in the woods, accommodating both students and their parents. This keeps them in very close contact with each other, mostly partying, sitting around a fire at night, drinking, and slipping out into the forest with a different partner.

Piv and Ulrik do their best to communicate with other parents, e.g., going to a “Chinese” party, dressed appropriately. These parents appear similar and occasionally I had trouble recognizing who was Wenke, Julien, Per, Julie, Thorbjorn, Frederik, etc. And then, we have Adrian, the school principal. There is mention of caring for children in emergency situations (Paragraph 20 Kinder). The original Danish title translates literally to “Fathers and Mothers,” and we accompany them for ninety-seven minutes through events, which many of us with children might also have experienced in real life. For example, Hannah’s parents are worried that she finds it difficult to make friends. All action is supported by twenty-two songs, which begins and ends with “Mama Loo.” (Becky Tan)

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