The dangerous paranoia lurking beneath the seemingly idyllic existence of a family of hermits living on a remote island begins to come to the fore when their daughter starts to question her parents' worldview, in Daniel Joseph Borgman’s (The Weight of Elephants) bucolic and brutal drama.
Contemporary World Cinema
Daniel Joseph Borgman
A startling, nightmarish revisionist variation on themes from fairy and folk tales, Daniel Joseph Borgman's Resin focuses on a family of hermits who reside on a remote island. The family — father Jens (Peter Plaugborg), mother Maria (an unrecognizable Sofie Gråbøl), and daughter Liv (Vivelill Søgaard Holm) — lives off the land, with little or no contact with anyone, save periodic visits from the mailman, whom Jens always chases off. It soon becomes clear that the parents' desperate determination to separate themselves from others has as much to do with paranoia and mental illness as their desire to remain close to nature. All of Jens's lessons for Liv adamantly insist on the spiritual and moral failings of anyone from the wider society. But Liv is naturally curious and it's clear that she will not accept being isolated for long. Her nightly "hunting trips" are really raids on nearby homes; attempts to experience and engage with the outside world.
Resin presents nature as both idyllic and stifling, limitless and claustrophobic — mirroring the relationships among the family members. Jens shuttles from fascinating lessons in biology, entomology, botany, and history, to descents into paranoia, delusion, and violence.
Reminiscent of the fractured fairy tales of Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam (Grimm, TIFF '03; Borgman, TIFF '13), and recent Nordic titles like Ali Abbasi's The Border (TIFF '18), Resin, both brutal and bucolic, is a chilling and memorable piece of work.