The Story of Annika

in 32nd Cairo International Film Festival

by Ahmad Al Hadary

DancersThe story of this film is centered around Annika, the attractive dance teacher who runs the dancing school with the help of her mother. One day the electrician Lasse arrives at the school to do some repairing and Annika is instantly attracted to him. She also knows, in spite of his tight lips, that he was jailed for one year on a charge of rape. She subsequently becomes more attracted to him in spite of her mother’s objections and tries to know more details about his accusation, particularly whether he was actually innocent or not. She is also busily engaged in preparing for the graduation party and celebration of her student dancers according to their different levels.     

From the beginning of the film we find ourselves admiring Annika (played by Trine Dyrholme) for her bright performance and her facial expressions and also her conveying different feelings during her training with the dance students who are of various ages and abilities. These are young students of ballet and elder ones who simply want to improve their ballroom dancing. We come to admire Annika’s controlling of their performances, but more so when she starts admiring the electrician Lasse, expressing her different feelings about the truth of his case, and also when she is upset by the telephone calls from unknown people who warn her about her getting involved in any way with this condemned man. The actress Trine Dyrholme reaches a level of performance that elevated her to competing for winning the prize of best actress.              

The film director was evidently successful in casting Annika, Lasse and the rest of the roles including the dancers of different ages. Her admirable control of the atmosphere in the dancing school with all its details, and also during the progression of Annika and Lasse’s relationship, through the beautiful presentation of the graduation party, underlines that this achievement is accompanied by how happy Annika is in her feelings towards Lasse. After graduating from the Film School of Denmark, director Pernille F. Christensen directed a number of short documentaries until she made her first long feature film A Soap (from 2006) which successfully won a prize at both the Karlovy Vary and Berlin Film Festivals. Coming right up to date, she won here at the Cairo International Film Festival 2008 the prize of best direction for this film, Dancers.            

Edited by Steven Yates