Per, a young man growing up in rural Denmark in the late 19th C, gets a scholarship to a technical college. He has rather advanced ideas about alternative energy, and he makes a successful elevator pitch (before elevators were invented) to a budding venture capitalist, who not only assembles a consortium of investors, but also introduces Per to his sister. Things don’t go smoothly.
This story, based on a Danish novel written in 1904, attempts to understand Per’s complicated psychology at a time when psychology was in its infancy. Rather than the Freudian concepts we use today, the author uses the no-longer-fashionable language of Christian piety — solace, humility and, above all, love, to explain some of the attempts to help Per deal with his demons. At the same time, the author is ruthless about the shortcomings of the evangelical Lutheranism of the day, contrasting it with the love and support Per gets from the Jewish family that champions his ideas.
This movie is not for everyone. For one thing, it’s very long – 2 hours and 40 minutes. I fully expected to watch this one over two days, but I found it so compelling I wound up watching it all at one go. I haven’t read the book (never even heard of it) but it appears that the makers of this movie wanted to dramatize the entire story, which is a rare thing in literary adaptations. Check it out. On Netflix.