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A Writer Named
Tove | CPH:DOX 2020
cph:dox & ekko
Peter Lopes Andersson, Sami Saif — Denmark — 2020 — 38
A mosaic portrait of the
Danish writer Tove Ditlevsen. The self-confident and outspoken author, and
the fragile woman behind the books.
An audio collage of interviews and poetry readings is
woven together with some lovely animations and takes a look at how life and
literature came together for Tove Ditlevsen.
It is with life at stake
that writing comes about, and with a life lived as the basic element of
literature itself. We meet both the white-wine-drinking, outspoken
Tove, and the frail, lonely soul, who defines the woman who has
gifted us with so many words and feelings – from ‘Early Spring’ and well into
adulthood. She has always been there, but keeps on being rediscovered from fresh
angles with each new generation of readers.
Tove lived a
sort of double life. Whilst Tove
Ditlevsen the human was falling apart, Tove Ditlevsen the writer would sit in ”The Oval
Room” to analyse and describe her life, in full serenity. It is obvious to ask
whether Tove actually lived her life to live it, or to write about
"I am a wicked human being. A
miserable human being. A thoroughly depraved human being. I am sleepless as an
owl, ugly as a witch, and white wine flows in my veins instead of blood.
Besides, I am about to kill myself." . This is how it sounded from
Tove Ditlevsen in the wake of the
break-up with her last husband in 1973.
are mostly linked to a taped interview with the elder Tove Ditlevsen, who, typically for the 70s, enjoys
a lot of wine and many cigarettes. The interview is carried by bram-free
open-heartedness and a poet who is asked to write his own obituary.
interesting retrospectively to hear a younger Tove Ditlevsen - daughter of an
absolutely working class from Vesterbro - speaking with high Danish diction,
which is somewhere between Karen Blixen and Bodil
But - as the movie comes in - at the age of 22, she
married the 30-year elder conservative magazine editor Viggo F.
"There were also child lockers in the street of childhood," Tove
Ditlevsen says. The mood is low but comfortable and there is quite a gifted
relaxation in the interrogation of the poet with the red wine blue
We get the stories of her many men - about the four husbands as
well as the loose, random men on her way. We get the fatal story of how she
cheated on her second husband Ebbe Munk with Carl T. Ryberg. But when she forgot
her diary, the one-off gag got consequences.
'A Writer Named Tove' is not just a plaque or
tribute. We get testimony about the violent marriage to Victor Andreasen, who
would make her a nice lady - more on the studded floors with diplomats than in
the poetry reading cafe with cheap wine.
existentially is not for retainers. She goes in and out of psychiatric wards.
But she retains the self irony when, as admitted, she is the Family Journal's
advisory letterbox editor for normal people's everyday problems. Not all of her
answers endure repetition.
Death is now her neighbor, either a black
triangle up the ground or the reaper.
It is told as a kaleidoscope without chronology, a favorable mixture of mad
humor, horror and madness with the accent of the tragic.
The movie ends
with her funeral, where everything that could go and crawl was present. Except
for the Danish Academy and its secretary who apparently found her too
Tove i stykker (A Writer Named Tove)
38min • Peter Lopes Andersson • Sami Saif
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