Struggling to Deal with Life

Selected for the short film competition, Daniel Borgman’s "Lars and Peter" captures the difficult emotions of a young boy and his relationship to his father in the face of great loss.

9-year-old Lars has lost his mother and is struggling to keep the rest of the family together. His father Peter is, in his own way, trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife. The once so closely knit family has been thrown off balance.

“'Lars and Peter' is about the distance in understanding between an adult and a child, a father and his young son, and how difficult it can be to bridge that gap especially when dealing with issues that are very personal and difficult to discuss,” says New Zealand expatriate Daniel Borgman.



Born 1981, New Zealand. Moved to Denmark in 2005. Borgman’s first short film, "The Man & The Albatross" (2007) was selected for competition in Locarno. The 15-minute "Lars and Peter" is a Danish co-production between twolittleghosts and Zentropa, with support from the Screen Innovation Production Fund in New Zealand.

To begin with, Borgman was interested in the idea that you could have a family and feel like you had your whole future in place and then lose your partner, becoming all of a sudden a solo parent carrying all the responsibilities. But as the script developed, he found it more interesting to examine that same universe through the eyes of one of the children.

“We used the photography of Gregory Crewdson as a starting point. He makes these amazing stylised images of suburbia, and we wanted to create the same kind of contained suburban universe in which our story could exist on its own. We were telling the story through the naive eyes of a child, and we wanted a universe that reflected this – where everything was a little too nice to be real, but without being a parody. We wanted to stay true to that innocent glossy view before experiences alter your lens.”

“As a director, I really want to get to the heart of how things feel to a person, rather than what one should rationally think about how they are behaving. I don’t think that any one person is either right or wrong, or good or bad. People are just all struggling to deal with life as best they can.”

“But as hard as life can be, there has to be a kind of beauty in it as well. Life is hard, but it’s also really beautiful, and film is a great medium in which to render that contrast”.

Daniel Borgman foto Katja Adomeit