In a Better world is a story about the lives of two boys and how their worlds become entwined forming a dangerous alliance in a battle to survive the internal pain that they both feel. Christian’s mother has recently died and his father moves back to Denmark from London and there meets Elias at his new school who is a victim of bullies.
Both Elias and Christian are dealing with different traumas, but the core issue tackled by the film is the absence of their fathers. Christian’s father is lost in grief and is physically and emotionally absent from his world. Elias father (Anton) is a doctor working in worn torn Africa and is often physically absent but is emotionally present for his son.
See a trailer for the film here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2d528Nh-Kw
I found this film deeply moving and powerful as it revealed the fragility and emotional isolation that many boys feel and how violence and bullying is used to cope with difficult and vulnerable feelings. As an antidote to this Anton challenges the dominant masculine way of being and is affectionate and tender with his son and seeks to model an assertive way of coping with bullies without resorting to violence. On the other hand as a doctor working in a refugee camp he has to deal with the complexities of treating a violent man and the dilemma’s it causes in his practice.
This film portrays a powerful account of how men and boys struggle to cope with violence and their deepest emotional needs. The film wonderfully describes how Anton seeks to be authentic to his values of non-violence and forgiveness and modelling this type of masculinity to his son. For the main characters in the the film there was much to be angry about and yet what was refreshing within Anton’s character was a man who was neither passive or aggressive but deeply emotionally engaged in the different aspects of his world. He didn’t shy away from his responsibilities but was willing to show his strength and courage through his vulnerability.