Out of the mouths of babes takes on a whole new meaning in the Danish movie, The Hunt, in which a young girl falsely accuses a close family friend of sexually inappropriate behavior and sets off a punishing Saturnine reaction within a close-knit community.
The Hunt, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, is set in a rural Danish town where the males’ recreational activity of choice is hunting. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a teacher whose former school has shut down and who is now underemployed at a daycare center, is one of the core fraternizing guys in the group. Recently divorced, he’s a responsible father – another nod to Saturn – who’s trying to finesse legalities with his ex-wife so his teenage son Marcus can live with him permanently.
One day at the center, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), daughter of his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), can’t resist giving Lucas – she has a crush on him – a handmade craft and an on-the-mouth kiss. Highly aware of Saturnine boundary issues, Lucas addresses her too-affectionate gesture and suggests she give the gift to a fellow playmate. Klara doesn’t take Lucas’s rebuff very well. Having seen a sexual image on an iPad, carelessly shown to her by her teen brother, she tells the head mistress that she has seen Lucas’s private parts.
Klara’s lie – Mercury meets Neptune – prompts a call to the Saturnine authorities, and Lucas is quickly ostracized, forbidden to shop at the local supermarket, and arrested. Even after he’s been exonerated – Klara has recanted her story, and the other children’s affidavits discounted – it hardly seems to matter to the town dwellers, as the movie’s final moments confirm.
What The Hunt underscores is how difficult it is, because Saturn is so brittle and unforgiving, to sway the impact of tradition and rethink false beliefs. Towards the end of the film, several months after Lucas experienced his nightmare, Marcus has come of age and receives his hunting license. As part of the ritual, he receives his father’s rifle as proof of his rite of passage and the congratulations of the community’s men. But despite hugs and handshakes for Lucas, the teacher’s real status is now both hunter and prey.
Astrology Film Rating: ♄ (Saturn)