It's hard to imagine a film like With Your Permission being made in America, even as an indie film. The film, directed by Danish actress/director Paprika Steen (who appears in another film playing at TIFF this year, Lars von Trier's Erik Nietzsche: The Early Years), deals with the subject of spousal abuse, but it's not, for the most part, an overly heavy film. I know, I know -- there's nothing funny about spousal abuse. And yet, there are very funny moments in this film that allow it to be entertaining, in spite of its potentially weighty subject matter.
For one thing, the spousal abuse in With Your Permission isn't dealt with the way you'd expect, especially at a film fest, where things tend to lean toward the oh-so-serious side of the spectrum. The victim in this case is Jan (Lars Brygmann), a slight, middle-aged man with longish hair who spends his days ruling his workplace, a "gourmet restaurant" -- really, the restaurant on a ferry between Denmark and Sweden -- with a fist so tightly wrapped around the rulebook he makes the bureaucrats at the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles seem downright laid-back by comparison.