Simon or Casper: Which one is The Man?
by Vitor Pinto
- Charlotte Sieling’s feature brings a father-and-son rivalry to the heart of Copenhagen’s trendy art scene in a story starring Søren Malling and Jakob Oftebro
Screening both as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Voices section and at the IFFR Live event (read more), Danish feature The Man [+see also:
film profile] by Charlotte Sieling brings a father-and-son rivalry to the heart of Copenhagen’s trendy art scene in a story starring veteran Søren Malling and new talent Jakob Oftebro.
After an opening sequence that effectively sets up the successful career of artist Simon Brahe (Malling), the film quickly moves on to depict his daily routine, which includes running a hip artistic centre with the help of his life-long companion, Darling (Ane Dahl Torp). Simon is undoubtedly “the man”, the one everyone has been talking about for decades – at least since he dumped his first wife, a prima ballerina, to fully devote himself to painting. But he left behind not only his wife, but also their son, whom he has never met – until now… When Casper (Oftebro) shows up, he takes everyone by storm. It turns out the 28-year-old artist is the world-famous graffitist known as "The Ghost" – something that seems to threaten his father’s established status.
With a classic narrative arc that brings an external element into a stable circle, violently shaking it up as if caught in an earthquake, The Man pits a father against his son, without any emotional bond between them. It places them in unexpected contexts and features a series of dialogues that switch from drama to comical situations, deliberately avoiding melodramatic scenes or clichéd conceptions linked to fatherhood.
Rather than feelings, Sieling’s script seems to focus more on success, artistic jealousy and potential frustration. With dynamic editing that strings together rapid sequences set within luxurious environments, The Man is anything but a monotonous film, although its pace could sometimes have been slower, allowing the viewer to pay greater attention to the details and leaving more room for character development.
Sieling’s second feature – eight years after Above the Street, Below the Water – was co-produced by Copenhagen-based company Nimbus Film along with Hummel & Nimbus (Norway) and Sirena Film (Czech Republic).
As part of the Festival Scope IFFR catalogue, The Man is being screened online until 5 February here.