Jesper Rofelt’s DAN-DREAM is a hilarious Danish film about the creation of “The First Electric Car.” The film is set in Denmark of 1981, which means, of course, it’s no where near the story of the first electric car, which first came about in 1832. And back in the era when gas powered cars had to be started with hand-cranks – it looked like the Electric car was going to go somewhere, until the US highway system gave people a desire to go more than 40 miles at a time. But enough history, let’s talk DAN-DREAM.
This comes to us from the writing/acting team of the hilarious Danish comedy, CLOWN. I wouldn’t say DAN-DREAM is as outrageous as that, nor would it be anything approaching that level of risqué. Instead we get the story led by screenwriter/actor Casper Christensen playing Thorkil Bonnesen, an inventor/entrepreneur who happens to meet screenwriter & actor Frank Hvam playing Jens Knagstrup at a gas station… only Jens is riding an electric bicycle that gives him the inspiration to “make the first electric car!”
Thorkil brings in Magnus Millang as Vonsil, a one armed auto-mechanic who is also racist and sexist through and through. There’s also a Designer with a pet rabbit, that ends up in hijinks. A small town mayor that happens to be an abusive husband. I wish I had images on IMDB of the actresses in DAN-DREAM – because collectively and individually – they rule.
The film begins in Copenhagen, then transitions to a smaller, more rustic town – where they rent a shop for creating their vision. The locals in town seem to dislike them right from the get go due to their BIG CITY-ness and ways. Homophobia is expressed as well. They hold an open house to get the locals on their side after Thorkil gets pelted by a young boy thinking that they have sex with rabbits and are making a nuclear weapon.
If you remember the earliest VHS labels from the seventies, those early SOUL TRAIN graphics from TV… this film sometimes plays in those ‘glo-graphics’ of the era – and it’s fun. The tech fetish of everything in the film is just a blast for those of you that remember the miracle of technology that we were faced with back then, giggle.
There’s various tests and show offs of the car that go bad. They never do quite solve the battery issues – and through it all – Frank Hvam’s Jens is having marital issues with a wandering wife who isn’t handling the move well, but Jens is intensely sweet about his daughter. There’s a moment between the two of them that would thaw the coldest heart.
The DAN DREAM is the actual name of the car they’ve created – and they do regret the DREAM part as certain things go… shall we say astray! Ultimately, the film is pretty damn hilarious throughout. The ‘brakes’ gag has been used before but the exclamation mark to the gag was just – hilariously nightmarish.
It just finished playing at FANTASTIC FEST – and if you missed it, definitely check it out. Awesome funny tech history!
Keep it cool,