Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig weaves together four stories of melancholic types, each wounded by a specific violence but connected by subtle movements. In “A Winter in New York”, which is on Netflix, Scherfig builds a mosaic of pain and relief that transforms into a unique substance, taking the viewer to an unknown, but surprisingly familiar world.
The theme of cosmic connections, an incorporeal link between human beings, addressed magnificently in films such as “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (2019), by Marielle Heller, or in the works of Woody Allen and Truffaut, is explored by the director through from a poetic anthropology lens. She offers somewhat reductionist solutions, however, not devoid of reason, without falling into delirium.
The first sequence may mislead those with no prior notion of what will unfold over the next 114 minutes. A woman sleeps next to her husband, but suddenly she gets up, wakes up her children and the three of them leave in a car with no apparent destination. Although Sebastian Blenkov’s photography masterfully uses cool, dark tones, creating a scene awash in dense teal, Scherfig’s script leaves no room for speculation about what’s going on.
Clara, played by Zoe Kazan, arrives in New York with only her determination to win and the urgency to escape her husband. The city becomes part of the magical atmosphere, crushing those who try to unravel its mysteries, but offering the chance to prove themselves capable of doing so.
Clara seeks shelter in her father-in-law’s hut, Lars, played by David Dencik, facing financial challenges and the risk of being reported. Meanwhile, a support group for people with emotional disorders is led by Alice, a nurse played by Andrea Riseborough. The other two protagonists, Marc and Jeff, orbit around these meetings. The director ties these four stories together, also highlighting an admirable cast of supporting actors, providing comedic-dramatic moments that elevate the film to an even more superb category.
Jay Baruchel plays John Peter, Clara’s lawyer, and Bill Nighy takes on the role of Timofey, the owner of the Winter Palace. Tahar Rahim has a touching romance with Clara, while Caleb Landry Jones plays Jeff, who remains lonely. New York watches everything, cold but attentive.
Film: A Winter in New York
Direction: Lone Scherfig