Du er ikke alene is a Danish coming-of-age cult classic focuses on the relationship between the two boys – 15 year old Bo (Anders Agensø) and 12 year old Kim (Peter Bjerg) in a 70’s boarding school. Their close relationship morphs into love, while the school becomes more and more opressive place, mostly thanks to the behaviour of the principal (Ove Sprogøe), who is also Kim’s father. One of the studensts, Ole (Ole Meyer) is threatened with expulsion for decorating his room and the school’s bathroom with pornographic posters. The students unite in their attempt to stop the principal and most of the staff from carrying out their decision by boycotting classes and decorating the school with Communist paroles. Does love and freedom become one in the end – or was this all just the beginning of the problems?
What’s good about this movie? Well, in short, most of the stuff – the acting, the humour, the photography, the overall atmosphere and the way the main subject matter is presented (that’s also not without its possible problems – more about them later). The acting is very good, the two leads are excellent and completely believable in their handling of the difficult subject matter. The “villains” of the movie, despite the weakly written characters are not completely one dimensional. They are presented as difficult and bad people, but they are not caricatures, although the film almost goes in that direction couple of times.
The film is beautifully shot, photogenic locations of boarding school’s surrounding give the director lots of possibilities for nicely composed shots. The film relies on visuals instead of dialogue and produces some beautiful and very effective scenes – great example and one of my favourites is the “mirror game” scene, a scene very much tied to the main theme of the movie. When it comes to presentation of sex, the movie is basically very innocent (sick freaks who want to see that kind of stuff in the movie will be dissapointed). When it comes to presentation of sexuality in general the movie is refreshingly free and unrestricted and I would say that the directors found the right balance between the two.
Now, I mentioned that the main subject matter is very well handled. But there also goes a (possible) problem that comes, ironically, from the same source. The two leads are great in their roles and the heart of the movie is on the right place, that’s true. The possible problem is that the film basically presents almost an ideal version of their relationship. They are close friends and their frienship borders on something more. Then that “more“ happens. Here we have the problem related to the dramatisation of their relationship – it suffers because of the episodic structure of the movie – sometimes we are pretty much left to connect the dots. Sometimes we even forget that we are watching a movie about the relationship between the two boys – the happenings around the school and the expulsion of the student take a lot of the movie’s running time and it obscures the main story as a result.
The other problem is the fact that, while Bo and Kim enjoy their relationship nobody reacts to it in the way people around them would probably react at that time (and even today). The principal, Kim’s father, doesn’t know about them. The only oppression they encounter comes from the group of motorcycle riders/nationalists who are then defeated by a group of students from boarding school. Everybody from their school is either completely supportive or doesn’t know about their relationship. That support will lead to a proposal of making a short film (by a young filmmaker from school) about their relationship, which is a movie that ends the actual movie we are watching. In the real world Bo and Kim would face much worse opression and bullying, I am sure. But this is a movie, not the real world. So, on the other hand, I don’t scrictly look at this as a problem. The situations from the movie are not completely unrealistic, and the very act of making a happy ending movie about homosexual love between young teenagers is good thing by itself – it can be compared to pre-seventies American movies about racial problems, where the black hero usually dies at the end. That trend ended with Melvin van Peebles excellent movie ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’. The similar thing can be said about this movie. So the end result is not exactly problematic on that level, perhaps just positively different. In that way, the last scene of the movie is beautiful and very charming in its idealism and “fuck you all!” attitude. Also, the fact that the scene is presented as a movie within a movie can have another meaning – it is removed from reality and therefore can be read as both optimistic and pessimistic.
All in all, with all of its problems, existent or non-existent, I do believe that this is very good and very important movie, a cult classic that needs to be seen by every lover of cinema.