Parents: Exploring the ultimate wish to be young again
by Paraskevi Karageorgu
- Danish filmmaker Christian Tafdrup’s first feature, an arthouse drama combining Nordic humour and a surreal touch, premiered at Tribeca last week
Inspired by the director’s dream about his own parents moving into their pre-parenthood apartment, Danish actor-turned-director Christian Tafdrup’s Parents [+see also:
film profile], starring Søren Malling, Bodil Jørgensen, Elliott Crossett Hove, Miri-Ann Beuschel and Anton Honik, is a story about a middle-aged Danish couple, Kjeld and Vibeke, who are trying to find out who they are again, after their son, Esben, moves away from home. The film had its world premiere last week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Kjeld and Vibeke’s journey into finding who they are, besides being parents, brings them back to their youth and to the flat they lived in as students, where they hope to regain control over their lives by putting their own needs before those of their son. The film takes a surreal turn, when one morning the ‘parents’ wake up 30 years younger, and the story, in an almost absurd way and with a dreamlike touch, begins to resemble the revealed subconscious of the protagonists. Tafdrup explores Kjeld and Vibeke’s deepest and innermost desires and doubts: the ultimate wish to be young again and to regain control over their past, their fear of the future, relationship expectations, sexual desire and insecurity, and the value of family life.
The film is an arthouse drama that questions the entire concept of parenthood as a permanent identity, thus putting into the spotlight the problematic relationships between parents and their children after they are supposed to lead independent lives.
Parents was produced by Thomas Heinesen for Nordisk Film Production, received backing from the Danish Film Institute’s New Danish Screen and is sold internationally by Danish international sales outfit LevelK.