Miami 2019 Review: AN AFFAIR Has No Easy Answers

Editor, U.S.; New England (@m_galgana)
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Miami 2019 Review: AN AFFAIR Has No Easy Answers

There are so many international films playing here at the Miami Film Festival 2019, that it would be nearly impossible to watch them all. I've just seen Director Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken's fifth feature, An Affair, and it treads some rough cinematic waters where content is concerned. That is to say, an intimate affair between a teacher and a student learning how to harness his hormones and raging sexuality. 

The film centers on middle-aged Anita (Andrea Bræin Hovig), a bored, well-to-do woman married to a never-home lawyer who couldn't be more disinterested in his wife if he tried. And so, Anita takes a job filling in as a substitute teacher at the nearby high school. It isn't long before student Markus (Tarjei Sandvik Moe) comes onto Anita in an extremely agressive way, and he won't let up.

Since Anita is bored, lonely, and frankly vulnerable to this passes, due to a major personality flaw (to be kind about it), she gives into the passion. Like a wildfire that cannot be contained, Anita becomes addicted to how she feels when she's with Markus. In short, she's mistaken lust for love, and it's filled a huge void in her life that she may or may not have known was there. Now unable to stop herself, she pursues him in risky situations, such as in his own home. She's friends with his mother, who's invited Anita to join the book club.

We see Anita spiral out of control throughout the film. At first, she doesn't drink, but soon slips a healthy amount of vodka into her smoothies. She was in control, but now smokes and leaves her husband's work gathering to stalk Markus when he doesn't answer her texts. When she learns that Markus has begun seeing another student and wants to break off the affair, Anita inserts herself between them and manipulates the teens' emotions. She even goes so far as to upload a half-naked photo of the girl from Markus' phone to Facebook. Heinous stuff.

In these instances of Anita's wrongdoings, Dahlsbakken lets the viewer off the hook. Some audiences may feel a range of emotions while watching An Affair, from being uncomfortable to almost feeling complicit in Anita's crimes. But as we are shown that she is indeed a morally corrupt human being --- not outwardly so, but if given the choice --- we feel relief that we are also not bad for going on this journey.

That said, I'm not quite sure what the real point of the film is, other than to show a slice of life. The acting is good, but the story doesn't feel as if it goes deep enough into the psyche of these characters. When Anita's husband has learned of the affair --- his wife sleeping with a teenager and she having lied about being pregnant --- he looks at her passively with a glass of whiskey in his hand and simply watches as she jogs away. Likewise,       

If you live in town or are here for the festival, An Affair plays again this Saturday at 9:30 pm at the Silverspot Cinema in Downtown Miami. You can learn more about the film and purchase tickets here.

En affre

  • Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken
  • Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken
  • Andrea Bræin Hovig
  • Tarjei Sandvik Moe
  • Anneke von der Lippe
  • Carsten Bjørnlund
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Miami Film Festival 2019Henrik Martin DahlsbakkenAndrea Bræin HovigTarjei Sandvik MoeAnneke von der LippeCarsten BjørnlundDramaThriller

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