Greetings again from the darkness. Parenting comes in many forms and styles. There are overprotective parents and absentee ones. There are those who encourage individuality and those who force their child in a particular direction. There are cheerleaders who believe their child can do no wrong, and bitter folks who belittle the little ones. We all have moments from childhood that we carry with us forever. Some of us recall moments of inspiration, while others are burdened with the scars of a misguided parent. Writer-director Nicolaj Kopernikus offers us the story of his own father, whose personal and emotional recollections fall into that latter category.
The director’s son Louis Naess-Schmidt plays the childhood version of Kopernikus’ father. Jorn was a youngster who loved music and found it to be a creative outlet that inspired and entertained. Rather than encourage the young prodigy, Jorn’s father berated him and constantly showered him with negative and hurtful comments in the vein of, “You’re not good enough.” Even when denied the use of his beloved violin, Jorn finds a way to make music – filling a void created by a man whose pride and unhappiness led him to deprive his own blood of hope.
Familiar face Jesper Christensen (Mr. White in a few ‘Bond’ movies) plays the elderly Jorn as we flash forward many decades. His own adult son (played by the director) prods him to recall his early love of music. This leads to the flashback memories that have stifled his love and impacted his approach to life. More importantly, the discussion pushes the old man to re-live the precious moments of joy and re-discover the music.
Mr. Christensen excels here as both the downtrodden man who has learned to live with his lot in life, and the re-born musician invigorated by an unshackled passion. It’s been said that music heals all wounds, and this 21-minute personal story from Mr. Kopernikus is a powerful reminder of the long-lasting impact of parenting, and that redemption is always possible.