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Dogville

 
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 04.19.2004 2:50 am    Post subject: Dogville Reply with quote

Recently I saw a screening of Lars von Trier's latest film: Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman. The film doesn't open in Milwaukee until April 30, but I'm fascinated to know what people think about it. Formally it is brilliant: its minimalist style, composed of only one soundstage, few props, and barely any built sets, stresses primitive barbarism, and the lack of walls results in some awesome compositions. (One rape scene is especially disturbing because everyone in the town can obviously see it, although they are ostensibly and figuratively separated by walls.) Indeed, if Mel Gibson hadn't scourged Jesus for two hours earlier this year, Kidman's character of Grace would be the most tortured movie character of the year: every single citizen of Dogville abuses her, rapes her, beats her, or cheats her in some way. And therin lies the greatest fault of Dogville: it is the most viciously anti-American film I've ever seen. I don't even know if you could argue that, since the closing credits consist of a series of photographs of injustice, racism, violence, and shallowness in America since the Great Depression. Von Trier's anti-Americanism would be fine if it was aimed at our government, which presently deserves a great deal of ridicule ( Wink ), or an institution that deserves condemnation, like big-business corporatism or the hypocritical media, etc. But, no: von Trier aims at every individual American citizen. He implies that if you live in the States, you are inherently an ugly creature. He doesn't even pretend that it is a universal story: Dogville represents the United States right from the get-go. His argument is simplistic fundamentally (it didn't really bother me on a patriotic level, although the fact that von Trier's never been to the United States is pretty ludicrous), which is a shame since so much of his style is ingenious. I don't want to call it misanthropic and misogynistic, because too many critics do that when a film addresses the darkness of human nature; but there's no denying the hatred von Trier has, if not for Americans, then at least for people in general (which must be worse).



I'm fascinated in knowing what you folks think of it!
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 04.19.2004 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been faithfully reading about it in the European press for many months now, and I can't wait to check it out for myself. (If you had asked in December, I would have said Dogville was my biggest must-see for 2004.) Right now, all I have to say is that I usually find Von Trier simultaneously fascinating and maddening, and that I hate you for getting to see all those advance screenings.



Eric
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 04.19.2004 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I hate you for getting to see all those advance screenings.





Ha ha ha! I'm on all the VIP lists here in Milwaukee. Yeah, you know. No big deal. Well, excuse me for a moment, I have to go polish the hubcaps of my limousine. Laughing



And now I'm sad, because that is quite the opposite of true.
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janie
Grip


Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Santa Fe

PostPosted: 08.01.2005 5:42 pm    Post subject: dogville Reply with quote

Ok so one could say that treatment ofNicloe K. represents our forgein policy but then what else is here? She represents 'others' that are not 'fear-based', accepting and more open. I came in on the movie after it started and didn't get the poverty/class struggle issue...fill me in please- I was disturbed and loved it's style, craving for more meaning to get inside my brain. And in the end- power corrupts or Jesus gone Judas or we are gonna get nuked for our greed and sort sightedness?? Help me.
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 08.02.2005 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've seen this again since my initial post and like it quite a bit more, with reservations. The end I take as a general statement on the nature of retribution: violence begets violence. Grace, who had been the film's martyr for so long, now is equally condemned by performing an action -- vengeance -- so animalistic and so often used as justification for violence. I would say that it could be von Trier's fantasy (to get back at us dirty Americans) disguised as a statement on violence, but I don't think that's accurate; he obviously condemns Grace's actions, which disturbingly subverts the atrocities committed against her in the film.
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