(aka "In Your Hands" )


directed by Annette K. Olesen
Denmark 2004


Annette K. Olesen had her breakthrough with ”Minor mishaps” (2002) and continued her collaboration with writer Kim Fupz Aakeson, one of the most productive Danish writers, in “In your hands”. As the theme in most of Aakeson’s stories deal with death and how we deal with it, our inability to deal with it more precisely, this is more a Aakeson film, than a Olesen. In “Minor mishaps”, the children of a recently deceased father return home to deal with his death and in “Aftermath”, we follow the breakdown of a relationship and inability to deal with the death of their daughter.

In “In your hands”, a newly educated priest takes on a temporary position as prison priest. Here she meets Kate, about whom is said, that she has spoken to God and can perform miracles. Meanwhile, a miracle by itself, Anna becomes pregnant, only later to discover, that her child carries a chromosome defect, which may cause severe defects.

The story sets up a parallel between Kate and Anna. While Kate is in jail for having killed her child by accident, she left her child alone and to a starvation death because she was a junkie, Anna also becomes a killer, in the sense, that she chooses to get an abortion. Likewise, both are women of God. Where Anna intellectually has accepted God thru her education, Kate has had an epiphany. But where one is considered a freak and criminal, the other is considered normal and non-criminal.

A major criticism of “In your hands” is, that the story has so much potential which never is fulfilled. The characters are weak and the story is far from tight enough to carry its premise, and is weakened by several subplots, which may go to character, but ultimately removes focus from the central motif. Another point of criticism is, that it’s a Dogme film. While Olesen may get some pseudo prestige by now being part of the Dogme family, she lacks skill and “In your hands” is the weakest of the Danish Dogme films.

What makes “In your hands” interesting is its theme, which seems to be a trend in contemporary Danish film. The inability to cope with death or sickness has previously been seen in two other Dogme films, “Kira's Reason” (2001) and “Open Hearts” (2003), and also in the films mentioned in the introduction. We are so focussed on happiness and success, that failure and misery alienates us from life itself, and we become irrational.

“In your hands” was nominated for Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlinale.

Henrik Sylow


Theatrical Release: January 23, 2004

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DVD Review: Nordisk Film - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Nordisk Film

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:46

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.69 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Danish
Subtitles Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Nordisk Film

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• The girls behind 'In Your Hands' (25:07)
• The idea behind 'In Your Hands' (3:00)
• Research behind 'In Your Hands' (5:21)
• The cells in 'In Your Hands' (2:32)
• Faith in 'In Your Hands' (3:15)
• Outtakes - deleted scenes commentated by Annette K. Olesen (21:48)
• Trailer (1:41)
• English subtitles on all material

DVD Release Date: August 10, 2004
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Chapters 13

Comments This is thru and thru a very well produced DVD. It has a five featurettes, each about a specific element of the film, discussing motifs, setting and production. Adding to that nine deleted scenes, each commentated by director Annette K. Olesen, who goes into detail what the scene was about and why it was deleted.

The huge bonus here is, that not only is the film subtitled in English, but also every single additional material, even the trailer. This makes it completely accessible for an international audience. If only all DVDs of Danish films were produced like this

 - Henrik Sylow


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