Photo courtesy of www.FresnoFilmWorks.org
Each Spring since 2002, on the second Friday of the month Fresno Film Works showcases first-run international and American independent films. Last Friday, the Tower Theatre featured the Danish drama, “Frygtelig lykkelig.” But the translation, “Terribly Happy,” is anything but happy.
The film, written and directed by Henrik Ruben Genz, is set in the town of South Jutland, Denmark. South Jutland is a small town with lots of mud, murder and deceit. People aren’t raised in South Jutland, they are sent to South Jutland. The few that call it home are just as sinister as the city itself. The lead character, Robert Hansen is a Copenhagen cop assigned to South Jutland after having a divorce-induced mental breakdown.
It doesn’t take long for Hanson to figure out that he isn’t the only one with issues. The entire town is on pills prescribed by the local doctor. The neighborhood hairdresser is also the neighborhood hussy. And the films antagonist and resident alcoholic, Jorgen, has also fathered more than half the town’s children. Jorgen’s wife thrusts herself on Hansen and confesses her husband is violently abusive.
While trying to do his job and keep his feelings for Jorgen’s wife at bay, someone dies. The murder is thrown in the bog, the local sinkhole, along with the town’s secrets.
Although “Terribly Happy,” is in subtitles, it proves to be the least of worries come credits, as viewers exit the theatre thankful to stand on the streets of Fresno and not the dirt roads of South Jutland.