"One hour above ground is worth more than an eternity underneath it." So says Simon, the ageing and ailing patriarch of Frans Weisz's new contemporary drama.
With Simon gravely ill, his family and friends gather around his bedside to comfort him, trying to decide how to say goodbye, and what to do if he is no longer able to decide for himself.
As in his earlier works, Polonaise
(1989) and Qui Vivre
(2001), which together with Happy End
form a loose trilogy, this self-contained drama is an intimate, cross-generational portrait of Dutch Jewish life since the Holocaust, through the prism of one family and its circle of friends.
As a younger generation steps forward to assume the mantle, these children of survivors are left to grapple with the mortality of their parents, smouldering desires for old lovers, and family secrets that continue to fester beneath the surface.
Just as Ingmar Bergman plumbed the human condition in his films, Weisz pushes scenes and situations beyond civility to expose how much the past shapes the present.