Friday, January 3, 2014

Valgaften (Election Night) (1999)

1 Nomination, 1 Win

Win: Best Short Film, Live Action - Kim Magnusson and Anders Thomas Jensen

Anders Thomas Jensen has a knack for creating Oscar fare.  Three of his short films have been Oscar nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action: "Wolfgang," "Ernst & Iyset," and "Valgaften," and the latter won the statuette.  Since then, he has written the Best Foreign Language Film winning In a Better World and The Duchess, which won an Oscar for costume design and received a nomination for Art Direction.

While he's helped others win Academy Awards, the sole Oscar awarded to Jensen came for his short Valgaften or Election Night, a film about a man desperately trying to make it to the polls to vote before they close, but disgusted by the prejudices of those he meets along the way.  Initially shocked by the bigotry he sees in those he meets, he first becomes overwhelmed by it and eventually finds himself unexpectedly making an unintentional yet hurtful bigoted comment of his own.

Riding in a taxi sure must be a trying experience in Denmark.  Though I have heard a cab driver or two espouse bigoted comments, it certainly hasn't happened with frequency or to the same degree that the protagonist endures.  Of course, the frequency of the bigotry encountered is meant to prove a point, though I'm not quite sure what the point is.  Is it that we are all prejudiced in our own ways, and it's just a matter of degree?  Perhaps, though the prejudice he shows is hardly on par with what he hears from cab drivers.  Is it that he overreacted to the initial somewhat prejudiced comment he heard, and after seeing what serious prejudice looks like he is less certain in his self righteousness?  Perhaps, though that would be a pretty cynical interpretation.  Or maybe it's that despite our best intentions, there will always be bigotry in the world, so we might as well accept it, which would be the most hopeless interpretation of all.

I'd love to read any comments regarding what you took away from the short.  Am I completely missing an obvious explanation?

No comments:

Post a Comment