Arecent report from the Boston Centre on Wealth and Philanthropy from 2011 concludes that extreme wealth, e.g. sudden inheritance, can deprive people of the fundamental joys of life. Additionally: a life without work or without meaningful activity due to economic comfort often creates an emotional vacuum and obtuseness.

The first film to touch on this topic is The Will made by the Danish director Christian Sønderby Jepsen. It is the story of two brothers who are about to inherit a fortune from their grandfather on their mother’s side. Both brothers live in the outskirts of Denmark. One of them, Christian, a drug-addict has been homeless for five years. The other brother Henrik, the narrator of the film, is an unemployed provincial hustler with sideburns and sunglasses like his idol Elvis, and is separated from his wife. He lives in the provincial city of Skals with an apartment full of marihuana-plants for which he cares as if they were his own children. The two brothers are connected through a staggering relationship with their father and the constant need to fulfill their immediate desire for beer, hash and rock’n roll. Now their mother’s father is dead and maybe the inheritance can be fulfilled. Wealth could change a life in the shadows to a life that fulfills their dreams. But will a great inheritance also remove the destined traumas of family? Will the desire for a sudden reward remove the profound feelings of angst, despair and loneliness that permeate the lives of the two losers? This is the underlying question of this compelling and fascinating tale of human destiny.

Through old family photos and video-clips the two brothers describe how and why their lives have reached a complete dead-end. An alcoholic mother who died from drinking, a father who was never a good example – like when he took them on a trip to Thailand when they were teenagers, and introduced them to local prostitutes.

The loss of their mother is a recurrent theme and it all adds up to a picture of being brought down, of loneliness and despair. Now they are both hoping for the great inheritance – but this, the daughter, Aunt Petra in Germany, who lives on the other side of the border, wants to keep for herself.

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