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July 10, 2007

DVD of the Week – Sweet Land (2006)

by RISHI AGRAWAL

DVD of the Week often presents some tough choices. This week, I have seen three of the films that are being released on DVD for the first time. My favorite of these films is probably the Danish film After the Wedding, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. But, I felt I should take the opportunity to talk about a neglected film, Sweet Land, the first film by director Ali Selim, which stars Alan Cumming, Alex Kingston, and Ned Beatty, though none of them are the leads.

The plot concerns Olaf (Tim Guinee), a Norwiegan man who is a farmer in Minnesota in the 1920s. Soon, Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) arrives from Germany. She’s to be Olaf’s bride, though they have never met. Due to problems with citizenship and strong anti-German sentiment in the rural town, they cannot marry immediately.

The tone of the film is charming and sweet. The film certainly has touching moments, but the parts that most people will remember are the comedic scenes. A lot of the humor is very cute and arises from cultural misunderstandings. The film is well-shot with very capable acting. I don’t want to give off the impression that I loved this film, but it certainly deserves more attention than it got. It’s a very accessible film, and I think this would be something that you could see with your grandparents, especially if your grandparents are immigrants.

The DVD isn’t packed with features, but does feature a commentary track with “cast and crew.” Still, I don’t anticipate a fully loaded DVD coming down the road, so if you want to own this film, the time is now.

Other new releases this week: After the Wedding, The Astronaut Farmer, Iraq in Fragments, The Last Mimzy, The Page Turner


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