The Boss of It All
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The owner of an IT firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started his firm he invented a nonexistent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on negotiating with the "Boss" face to face the owner has to take on a failed actor to play the part. The actor suddenly discovers he is a pawn in a game that goes on to sorely test his (lack of) moral fiber.
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When I ordered it from the library, I asked for "The Boss of it All" but it shows up as "Direktoren for det hele" in IMDb and on other lists, so take your pick...
In a nutshell, a fellow with a Danish information technology company hires an actor to pretend to be the chronically absent president of the company just long enough to grant him power of attorney. That way he can sell the company to a hostile man from Iceland (who hates the Danes for 400 years of servitude!). The poor actor hasn't been very successful lately, so is desperate enough to give it a try. He's a little unsure of the ad lib aspect of the job, but agrees to do it.
When he attends his first meeting, one of the employees slugs him and things go downhill from there. One of the women says she can see through his disguise. He thinks his pretence has been uncovered but instead she says she knows he has been trying to hide his homosexuality in his e-mails and is prepared to show him how she can help him get over it. This is Scandinavian cinema, so naturally, he allows himself to be "shown."
He is very concerned about his lines and his timing, while the employees are very concerned about their JOBS! He becomes better acquainted with them and the situation... but then another character makes an entrance...
Suffice it to say, this is very, very dry humor, and the extras, which include a mockumentary, are hilarious...but only if you like exceedingly dry humor. I got my DVD from Amazon.
This absurd set-up creates ample opportunity for hilarity: The staff is easily convinced that Kristoffer is President despite his ignorance and inarticulate prattle. He must negotiate conversations with the six seniors, who have each been given a different impression of him by Gavn, without letting on that he doesn't know them. He gradually comes to realize that Gavn created the President to take the blame for his unpopular decisions, while Gavn took credit for more generous policies. The men are more alike than Kristoffer would like to think, as they both crave attention and acceptance. "The Boss of It All" is insightful, comical, and almost believable.
The film doesn't look good, though. Lars von Trier employed Automavision to frame all the shots. In other words, he let a computer decide where to put the camera. "Decide" might not be the best word. The computer selects randomly. A silly exercise in my view -and a false one, since the director set the computer's parameters (to avoid filming a blank wall or ceiling), and the actors can see the camera, so they maneuver to get into frame. Lars von Trier does things like this to amuse himself. In this case, the framing looks amateurish but not unusual, so I don't see a point to it except to relieve von Trier of the burden of framing his own shots. I was more struck by the problems with color temperature, which are distracting and ugly. In Danish with subtitles.
The DVD (IFC 2007): Bonus features are a theatrical trailer, 2 mockumentaries, and 3 featurettes. In "The Actors (and the Journalist) of It All" (22 min) the cast gives mock interviews to a "journalist". Occasionally funny, but much too long. In Danish with subtitles. "The Foreigners of It All" (6 min) are mock interviews with the 3 actors who played the American employee and the Icelanders. "The Making of the Boss of It All" (5 min) interviews Lars von Trier. In "The Director of It All" (6 min), von Trier talks about his inspiration for the scape goat idea. "Automavision: The New Dogma" (6 min) interviews von Trier and Peter Hjorth about Automavision. Bonus features are in English except where otherwise noted. Subtitles are available for the film in English, English SDH, and Spanish.