Kill Your Darlings: A Normal Life

  • Festival
  • November 18, 2012
  • By Olga van Ditzhuijzen

With a heavy heart, filmmakers delete scenes they love - because they don't fit the story or don't really add anything for instance. Here, the respective directors explain why they had to kill one of their darlings. This time, Mikala Krogh of A Normal Life.

Danish 11-year old Cecilie has leukemia. Her countless trips to the hospital have taken their toll on her family, as Mikala Krogh's A Normal Life shows. In this moving scene that didn't make the final cut, Cecilie has a part in a school play, a story from Nordic mythology. The girl picked the character of the queen, who dies in the play, herself.

Krogh is still not sure if she should put the scene back in. "After the film has screened here, I'll have another word with my editor." The problem lies not in the tragic drama of the scene, but in its place in the film's chronology. "The film opens with Cecilie at karate lessons, and I wanted to follow that with her bone marrow transplant, which is a pivotal moment in the film. The audience needs that information to know what's happening, so adding the scene there meant that the opening of the film took too long."

It's a heartbreaking image: a very sick child reading a line from the play about her death. "But for Cecilie it was a way to talk about her illness, just as it could be a way to discuss her eventual death with the other kids." Still, Krogh felt for the audience that day. "They thought they'd have a nice time seeing their kids in a school play, but instead they're confronted with such a painful scene."

A Normal Life

  • Mikala Krogh
  • 2012
  • 58 min

    Cecilie is a 12-year old Dane whose serious illness is very stressful for her and her entire family.

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