The realisation of one’s own mortality might normally be a depressive topic, as we struggle to grasp that death is slowly coming for us all. Here, Daniel Borgman offers us a glimmer of hope through the search for love and the quest for a meaningful connection. At Elske Pia (Loving Pia) gives us a glimpse into the life of Pia (Pia Skovgaard), a developmentally disabled 60-year-old woman, who lives with her ageing mother (Céline Skovgaard) in the Danish countryside. To come to terms with her own mortality and that of her mother’s, she turns to Jens (Jens Jensen), a stranger she meets at the harbour.
Shot on 16mm and what looks like 4:3 aspect ratio, which used to be the standard for television, Loving Pia creates a more intimate, almost documentary feel. At times, it’s difficult to distinguish reality from fiction even though this is a fictional story based around Pia’s real situation. Daniel Borgman’s choice to use natural lighting throughout gently gives more authenticity to the narrative. The dialogues between Pia, Jens, and Pia’s mother often feel like they might be improvised, adding again to the realism; it would be fascinating to see how much of the script actually made it into the finished film.
The subtle and unobtrusive camera work shows the daily routines of the protagonist and her world. The scene at an aquarium is beautifully shot, allowing the audience to fully enjoy the spectacular fish that Pia and Jens are discussing. The lack of a film score – only the limited music within the actual story is used – allows one to just absorb the images and dialogue fully for what they are. The silent moments throughout the piece do not seem forced at all; it all comes across as very natural and necessary. It almost seems as if the viewer is a fly on the wall, witnessing the dreams and feelings of this woman who is looking for love.
The unique and experimental way that Loving Pia deals with the themes of mortality and the search for love are quite impressive. The movie’s subtle approach and the way it blurs the line between reality and fiction make it a captivating watch.
At Elske Pia (Loving Pia) does not have a UK release date yet.
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