Dir: Pernille Fischer Christensen. Denmark. 2006. 104mins.

A woman's picture by definition, ASoap, Pernille Fischer Christensen's auspiciousdebut, should play well with female audiences who will appreciate its intimatesensitivities.

Portraying a woman who breaks out of a stagnating relationship and hertranssexual neighbour, the script has the earmarks of the TV soaps it emulates,while trying to unwrap the glossy trappings of the genre.

Structured like legendary 1970s US TV series Soap though without itswicked irreverence each episode ends on a cliffhanger, complete withvoiceover.

Emulating the predictability of telenovella story-telling coulddisappoint some critics, but it should give the picture precious points withaudiences.

Trying to say that life is no better than a 'soap' may be tooambitious an statement for a small picture. But it marks a promising first stepfor yet another talented young Danish director.

At 32, Charlotte (Dyrholm) wants more from her affair with Kristian(Thiel) and moves into a cheap neighborhood. Next door likes Veronika (Dencik),otherwise known as Ulrik, an afternoon soap addict and transsexual who servicesmen and plans to have a sex change.

Working from a series of cliches showing how clumsy Charlotte is intechnical matters, and how inadequate Veronika/Ulrik is in the kitchen, thescript gradually brings the pair together. At the same time it drives justenough of a wedge between them before the narrative bridge to the next chapter.

Every rapprochement ends in another rift as both are dissatisfied withtheir emotional lives, suspicious of having their independence tampered withand wanting to find love on their own terms.

It is evident that Andersen wants to turn the genre upside down, withminimal use of humour and irony and earnest treatment of other genresignposts (like Veronika's painfulmother).

Trine Dyrholm handles with natural ease Charlotte's defiance and longingwhile David Dencik avoids the pitfalls of a flashier part.

Though not a Dogme film, the handheld camera, frequent medium andclose-up shots, and minimal additional lighting bring a rough realism incontrast to TV soaps.

Production company
Nimbus Film

International sales
Trust Film Sales

Executive producers
Bo Erhardt
Birgitte Hald

Lars Bredo Rahbek

Kim Fupz Akeson

Erik Mohlberg Hansen

Main cast
Trine Dyrholm
David Dencik
Frank Thiel
Elsbeth Steentoft