Friday, June 1, 2012

'Teddy Bear' at the Little Rock Film Festival

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Kim Kold stars in TEDDY BEAR
  • Kim Kold stars in "TEDDY BEAR"

"Teddy Bear" opens with the brooding, hulking figure of Dennis (Kim Kold) standing in a stark, cold-tinted bathroom and staring at himself in the mirror. He says nothing and his expression is chiseled into what can best be described as a soft-eyed grimace. It's practically his only expression, and one of many scenes where Dennis contemplates the mirror. This makes sense for a professional bodybuilder, which he is, age 38 and living at home in a Copenhagen suburb with his shrill, petite, obsessive mother. The mirror serves as both a refuge and a torment for Dennis — it's as if he's constantly trying to find himself in its thankless reflection.

It turns out Dennis is on what appears to be one of many failed dates with a buxom blonde he met at the gym. He goes home to his mother and lies about where he's been. His relationship with women is established briskly: He reveres them, but he can't emotionally access them. This is due, in part, to his overbearing matriarch, whose creepy jealousy and infantalizing of Dennis has apparently, ironically, worn down this muscled behemoth of a man into a simpering coward. When, at a celebration dinner, he sees the unbearable joy his wiry uncle Bent feels towards his new, questionably procured Thai wife, Aoi, Dennis is in awe and consumed with envy. After Bent assures him that Thai women are warmer and more friendly, Dennis naively travels to Pattaya, renown for its salacious nightlife, to find what he hopes to be his bride.

Of course it verges on a gentle-giant stereotype to feature an enormous, physically strong person as awkward, gullible, and easily dominated by others. But the sympathy is earned less through Dennis's action as much as it is his inaction, his silence, his inability to react. Shots are composed around his bulky frame—seeing him standing over the showerhead in attempts to shampoo his hair, watching him dial a touch-tone telephone whose keys look like candy beneath his thick fingers. These are the images that earn pity. It's the small things, including his tiny mother, that seem to overpower him.

There must be something about Danish mothers — the infamous director Lars von Trier speaks often about his flawed relationship with his domineering mom — because there's an implicit approval of these less-than-progressive female ideals throughout the film. Even Toi, the Thai woman who Dennis eventually meets, at times still seems clueless, or mute, or unable to stand up for herself. This may be cultural, and this may be what makes her a good match for helpless Dennis. But it's these skewed and anti-feminist female portrayals that present the only weakness in what is otherwise a plainly heartful, tender film.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

  • Jeff Nichols to direct 'Aquaman,' according to leaked emails

    December 15, 2014
    The revelations from last month's massive Sony hack have so far included embarrassing financial statements, embarrassing emails and many other categories of embarrassments. Sony employees hate their own movies, for instance, and Channing Tatum writes weird emails. And now even Arkansas is involved, however tangentially, with the news that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols might be attached to direct the "Aquaman" movie. /more/
  • Come watch 'Blue Velvet' with us at Ron Robinson on Dec. 18

    December 3, 2014
    This month, we’ll be screening David Lynch’s powerful and deranged 1986 classic “Blue Velvet” as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival. The Los Angeles Times has called it “the most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life” and the New York Times deemed it “an instant cult classic … one of a kind.” /more/
  • Tav Falco on his new Arkansas-set film, 'Urania Descending'

    November 21, 2014
    Though he's most often associated with Memphis, Panther Burns frontman Tav Falco grew up in rural Arkansas, out in the country between Gurdon and Whelen Springs. Falco has announced that he'll be releasing a new album, "Command Performance," in February, and a photography book, "Tav Falco's Wild & Exotic World Of Musical Obscurities," as well, but he's also just premiered his new feature film /more/
  • Thanks to everyone who turned out for 'Who is Dayani Cristal?' at RRT last Friday

    November 19, 2014
    We had a good crowd at the second film in our monthly series last week at Ron Robinson Theater, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” Big thanks as well to our partners in showing the documentary — the Little Rock Film Festival, El Zócalo and our two guests from Arkansas's immigrant community. /more/
  • Cinemark Tandy 10 to close

    October 16, 2014
    Cinemark Tandy 10 will screen its last discounted movie on Sunday, Oct. 26, according to manager Jonathan Holt. The long time North Little Rock dollar theater (now $2) is shutting down. /more/
  • Announcing the Arkansas Times Film Series at Ron Robinson Theater, featuring Judge Reinhold

    October 14, 2014
    Next week, the Arkansas Times is collaborating with the Little Rock Film Festival to present a brand new monthly film series at Ron Robinson Theater. We're kicking it off at 6 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 23 with a special showing of "Beverly Hills Cop," featuring Little Rock's own Judge Reinhold, a.k.a Detective Billy Rosewood, who will do a Q&A and answer all of your burning questions about the making of the film. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Natalie Elliott

Most Shared

  • Humanists sue over Baxter County nativity scene. Looks like another winner

    The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
  • Opinions split within GOP on "law and order" issues. Where will Asa stand?

    The New York Times reports that some Republicans are trending away from the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to criminal justice embraced by the party's old guard, in part out of a recognition that minority votes matter now more than ever. Asa Hutchinson wants to reach out to black voters — what better place to start?
  • U.S. growth rate highest in ten years; Arkansas economy also looking up

    National GDP grew by 5 percent in the third quarter, according to a revised figure by the U.S. Commerce Department. Arkansas Business reported yesterday that forecasters also predict a strong year of growth ahead for Arkansas. We're still waiting for Obamacare to deliver its promised economic implosion.
  • Here's to Hutchinson, McCain and American revulsion at torture

    On Nov. 16, 1776, Gen. George Washington stood on the Jersey Palisades and peered across the Hudson River through his telescope as the British tortured American militiamen who had surrendered and then put them to the sword. Hearing the screams of his men, according to an aide, Washington turned and sobbed "with the tenderness of a child."
  • Easy on the pay raises

    An independent commission appointed by the governor, legislative leaders and the chief justice began work last week to fulfill part of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that eased term limits, banned lobbyist gifts to legislators (sort of) and provided a mechanism for pay raises.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation