Tribeca 2022 Review: Annette K. Olesen’s “A Matter of Trust” Hops Around Difficult Leaps of Faith

It’s always difficult to tie together story anthology and it’s to the great credit of writer/director Annette K. Olesen that there’s no effort to do so in “A Matter of Trust,” ultimately asking an audience to place their faith in her as she presents a collection of vignettes set across her native Denmark where none of the characters necessarily know one another or will even get to, but will certainly feel a kinship due to circumstance when they all require people to go places without knowing the exact destination.

Actually, that’s not entirely true – “A Matter of Trust” opens with a medical consultant named Eva (Trine Dyrholm) tasked with accompanying a family being repatriated back to Afghanistan, though she can’t be sure the plane will touch down with the uncooperative Ahmed (Hamun Maghsodlo) doing his best not to get on the flight and once seated, doing his best not to leave as Danish officials put him in a straitjacket. It’s naturally intriguing when the film cuts to a far different milieu, a classroom where the teenage Emil (Emil Aron Dorph) wishes he hadn’t gone to school that morning after a friend informs that he sent an indecent pic to the wrong address and it has been forwarded throughout the school. As awkward as that is, it may not be quite as cringey as the situation that Adam (Jakob Cedegren) finds himself in, wanting everything to be perfect after booking an AirBNB for what appears to be a lovers retreat with Viyan (Ellaha Lack), a vivacious colleague he met recently at a conference, but is revealed to actually be an illicit affair, and Olesen heads in other wildly disparate directions both geographically and emotionally in following Simon (Morten Hee Andersen) and Maja (Sofie Juul Blinkenberg), a young couple with a child on the way who attend a funeral for someone Simon is reluctant to talk about in any great detail, and Laura (Ellen Rovsing Knudsen), a girl whose mother attempts to make a game out of a pilgrimage to the beach, though the black eye she has suggests the two aren’t merely going out for a day of fun.

“A Matter of Trust” is lighter than its opening quote from Vladimir Lenin would suggest, as the founding father of the Soviet Union is remembered saying “Trust is good, but control is better,” a pointedly ironic turn of phrase when things only get worse as its characters try to contain things rather than come clean with the truth. This being an anthology, some sections are stronger than others with its highest-profile stars in Dyrholm and Cedegren handling its two most opposite tales tonally as Eva feels she has the weight of the world on her shoulders, unsure whether what she’s doing is at all humane in relocating a family that doesn’t want to leave their adopted home, and Adam scrambles to appease his nosy AirBNB host who threatens to tell his wife about what’s happening in her home, caring only for his own welfare. The spectrum of experiences are vast enough to cover a lot of ground and Olesen rewards patience as characters are moved by the formative moments you’re allowed to witness for better or worse, either having a little more faith in humanity or a little less and readjusting their own attitude towards life accordingly. While their instincts may be a work in progress, Olesen proves her own are sharp in “A Matter of Trust” with its strong performances and room for ambiguity, fittingly trusting the audience to come to their own conclusions with a thought-provoking film that touches all corners of the mind.

“A Matter of Trust” will screen again at Tribeca on June 16th at 5:30 pm at the Cinepolis Chelsea and June 17th at 5:15 pm at the Tribeca Film Center. It will also be available to stream on the Tribeca at Home platform from June 16th at 6 pm through the end of the festival on June 19th.