Author Topic: Dogville  (Read 34857 times)

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mogwai

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Dogville
« Reply #165 on: May 10, 2004, 09:52:26 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
spoilerish
And the ending was mindblowing...

yep.. that's a spoiler alright. :yabbse-grin:

cron

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« Reply #166 on: May 20, 2004, 09:44:59 PM »
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Bryce honey,  you don't smile in a Lars Von Trier set.
context, context, context.

Pubrick

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« Reply #167 on: May 20, 2004, 09:47:20 PM »
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i was right..

Quote from: Pubrick
i see, von trier is finally going to address the issue of ugly chicks.
under the paving stones.

matt35mm

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« Reply #168 on: May 20, 2004, 10:07:40 PM »
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... this... this is the face that replaced NICOLE KIDMAN???

I'd say this nearly warrants a "WTF??" but I'm gonna go ahead just trust Von Trier on this one.

SoNowThen

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« Reply #169 on: May 20, 2004, 10:48:20 PM »
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Whoa guys... I'm the one who makes shallow observations on actresses around here...
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

godardian

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« Reply #170 on: May 21, 2004, 12:03:19 AM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
Whoa guys... I'm the one who makes shallow observations on actresses around here...


 :lol:  I like to think we all have a little Homer Simpson in us (the little Homer inside Pubrick says "ugly chicks," and every once in a while I find myself speeding to the nearest Krispy Kreme before I drown in my own craving-saliva).

I'm sure the movie will be fine. I didn't exactly find that Dogville posed Kidman in a lot of glamor shots or anything... as long as you can wear a dew rag and believably bear the suffering inflicted by "wholesome communities," you'll do fine in a von Trier film.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

Pubrick

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« Reply #171 on: May 21, 2004, 12:18:24 AM »
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Quote from: godardian
(the little Homer inside Pubrick says "ugly chicks," and every once in a while I find myself speeding to the nearest Krispy Kreme before I drown in my own craving-saliva).

that's true, mostly he says:


"Food goes in here"
under the paving stones.

godardian

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« Reply #172 on: May 21, 2004, 12:30:58 AM »
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Quote from: Pubrick
Quote from: godardian
(the little Homer inside Pubrick says "ugly chicks," and every once in a while I find myself speeding to the nearest Krispy Kreme before I drown in my own craving-saliva).

that's true, mostly he says:


"Food goes in here"


You always have the exact right Simpsons capture for every occasion. I love cartoon(ish) characters that are all self-involved appetite- Homer, Cartman, Jerri Blank, those horrible(y funny) Seinfeld characters. They make me laugh.

von Trier should do a comedy (has he ever?).
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

samsong

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« Reply #173 on: May 21, 2004, 01:58:31 AM »
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Quote from: godardian
von Trier should do a comedy (has he ever?).


The Idiots is a comedy (for the most part).  It's his best film, or my favorite of his anyway.

godardian

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« Reply #174 on: May 21, 2004, 11:18:02 AM »
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Quote from: samsong
Quote from: godardian
von Trier should do a comedy (has he ever?).


The Idiots is a comedy (for the most part).  It's his best film, or my favorite of his anyway.


I've seen it, and I don't really consider it a comedy, although it does have its laughs (compared to his other films, especially). I really liked it, though. I guess for von Trier, it is a comedy... kind of like Todd Solondz's films can be viewed as "comedies." Satires... comic nightmares, perhaps?
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

samsong

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« Reply #175 on: May 21, 2004, 06:15:34 PM »
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Quote from: godardian
Quote from: samsong
Quote from: godardian
von Trier should do a comedy (has he ever?).


The Idiots is a comedy (for the most part).  It's his best film, or my favorite of his anyway.


I've seen it, and I don't really consider it a comedy, although it does have its laughs (compared to his other films, especially). I really liked it, though. I guess for von Trier, it is a comedy... kind of like Todd Solondz's films can be viewed as "comedies." Satires... comic nightmares, perhaps?


If The Idiots is a comic nightmare (and I agree with that description) I've never seen/experienced a more beautiful one.  I think it has enough laughs to warrant the title of "comedy"; its tone and atmosphere makes it feel like one too, despite its commentary.  Have you seen Carl Dreyer's Gertrud?  Supposedly The Idiots is von Trier's Gertrud, like Dancer in the Dark is his The Passion of Joan of Arc and Breaking the Waves is his Ordet.  I have the Criterion's Dreyer box set but it's taking me a while to get through it :cry: ... though I guess I could use, "I'm still recovering from Ordet" as a valid excuse.  :-D

Gold Trumpet

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« Reply #176 on: May 21, 2004, 08:21:43 PM »
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Quote from: The Silver Bullet
And the Audience Says Woof

It seems to me that Lars von Trier has outdone himself with Dogville (2003). If you loved him before, you'll probably fawn over this picture. If you hated him...well, maybe you shouldn't see it.

Personally, I find von Trier to be an endlessly fascinating and often frustrating filmmaker. That doesn't mean I particularly like him or his movies, but that I'm merely intrigued by him and his work. Dogville is no exception. As with Breaking the Waves (1996), The Idiots (1998) and Dancer in the Dark (2000), von Trier has gone to great lengths in Dogville to alienate his audience and has succeeded absolutely at doing so. I don't think it's his best post-Dogme film [or his worst], but it's easily his coldest.

Where von Trier's personal [and distinct] style was used in his earlier pictures to suggest docudramatic reality, it actually does the opposite in Dogville. Handheld cameras are still employed [and still create of a sort of intimacy between audience and image], but it's fairly obvious that this is no longer an aesthetic choice, but a personal preference [and I believe von Trier has actually verified this himself]. And even if there was some aesthetic purpose to the nature of Dogville's photography, von Trier's other stylistic choices would render it irrelevant anyway. The minimalist and highly presentative set is reminiscent of George Mosher's filmed production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town (1989), and indeed the film seems to be taking many of its cues not only from the theatre and its innovators, but from Wilder's play also. It is this bizarre style – the set, the title cards, the omnipresent voice of the Narrator – that ultimately prevents the audience from ever getting too close to the characters and the story. However [and here's the real conundrum], nobody ever actually said that von Trier was trying to engage us emotionally. Dogville is not a film of emotions, but of ideas – both specifically political and universally philosophical [not to mention aesthetic]. To that end, von Trier was almost wholly successful.

It's all very Brechtian, of course – and all very calculated on the part of von Trier. In one of the film's more uncomforting sequences, Chuck (Stellan Skarsgεrd) rapes Grace (Nicole Kidman) on the floor of his home, where she has been minding his children. This scene, more than any other, really illustrates how in control of his art von Trier is. He chooses to frame the rape from afar – not intimately as we may expect – and thus, as the set is without walls, the camera seems less uninterested in Grace's plight than it is in the other citizens of Dogville. It's unsettling, because we realise that the camera's apathy is our own. We fail to [really] connect with Grace on an emotional level [as we usually do with the characters in other films] and then we are unsettled by this when we realise it.

But our inability to connect to Grace isn't von Trier's shortcoming as a filmmaker – it's ours as people. The film has been deliberately constructed to show us this, and von Trier is again almost wholly successful in doing so. Yes, he seems very excited by the idea of tricking his audience in order to make them feel bad about themselves. His less-than-subtle manipulation of the audience has prompted many to think of him a sort of cinematic sadist – someone who is "abusing" cinema, and who holds the audience in an eternal state of contempt. I'm not saying that this isn't partly the case [actually, I think it is], but it's certainly not the full one. Brechtian alienation techniques have a far greater purpose than that, and Lars von Trier [slightly skewed though he may be] is not oblivious to this fact.

The theatrical nature of Dogville and its heavy reliance on Brechtian technique clearly suggest that von Trier is sick of audiences going to the cinema to escape the world and its issues – he is sick of audiences "leaving their brains at the door". Is there really anything wrong with wanting to teach? von Trier wants to make the audience think, and maybe even learn a little something about themselves – even if it's something that they may not like. The most contrived moment of the film [and the one in which von Trier's influence feels most ubiquitous] is Grace's extreme change of heart at the film's climax. The scene, like the general artifice of the film's visual style, makes it impossible to really believe what is happening – but that's the whole point. We're not supposed to believe fables and parables; we're just supposed to learn from them. Dogville is not a film you can escape into the false "reality" of – it forces you to think about what is being said as opposed to what is happening. Its mission is not like that of other films and von Trier's is not like that of other filmmakers. As far as Grace's character goes, it's a pretty unbelievable moment [and I would imagine for many, too extreme a turnaround] though in regards to von Trier's manipulation of the audience, it's actually sorta perfect – we've left ourselves open [just like Dogville]. As an audience [and as people], we automatically feel that we deserve the mercy Grace is willing to offer us – but the thing is we don't, and that's the final lesson. We're not worthy of Grace [both the character and the state of being], because we're ultimately no better than dogs. It's not a "nice" lesson to learn, of course, and Dogville is not a "nice" film to sit through – but who on Earth said it was, and who on Earth said it had to be?

At the very least, Lars von Trier knows what he's doing. You just have to ask yourself if that's good enough for you, and it very well might not be. Some would say that von Trier is a genius because he has such an acute ability to manipulate. Others would call him evil. But the only difference between the sort of manipulating done by Lars von Trier and that done by someone like Steven Spielberg is that the former is manipulating you in a way that makes you feel and think things that you might not like, while the latter is trading in more visceral sensations. There's nothing better or worse about either one, of course – they both have their purpose. Whether or not they serve it is the question, and the answer is much too subjective for me to answer. You have to do that for yourself. So see the film. You'll love it or hate it. To each his personal own.


This review - mostly positive - is the best review I've come across on this site for the film. My opinion for the film is negative, but I'd like to speak them in contrast to this review so I feel I am on solid ground with my criticism.

It is this bizarre style – the set, the title cards, the omnipresent voice of the Narrator – that ultimately prevents the audience from ever getting too close to the characters and the story. However [and here's the real conundrum], nobody ever actually said that von Trier was trying to engage us emotionally. Dogville is not a film of emotions, but of ideas – both specifically political and universally philosophical [not to mention aesthetic].

After watching the movie the full length, I really became aware of the specific coldness the film was trying to convey. At the beginning, I kept thinking what a wreck the film was in trying to convey the emotions of intimate theater to screen and how Ingmar Bergman would have done things differently. That said, with the bizarre style of the set, title cards and the voice of the narrator, the story, even though it wasn't trying to engage us emotionally, never presented a story of much intelligence or depth beyond simple novelty that was not unique for America at all, but just about every country for that time period. Its strange that Von Trier wants to make a film that is critical of the United States, but sets it in a time period and location that doesn't do any of the above. Minus the scant traces of Americanism in this film, this village easily could have been European.

Also, with the slim intelligence or freshness in the story, comes the praise I always felt Von Trier never was deserving of. Yes, his filmmaking is beyond his story, but how much talent of craft comes from weilding ideas out of the stale? Beyond Von Trier's new concept of staging drama, there is little that is actually refreshing. Apologies of his art that he does this for the higher ideas are just that, apologies. In art, great ideas come from great art. Considering Von Trier didn't want to engage us emotionally, it is intelligent of him to hire an actress for the lead who really is a statue of acting - Nicole Kidman - but her ability to come across a statue of beauty in every role isn't a good trait, but one that symbolizes her own weakness as an actress. Her facial expressions and lashing out of emotions come across as imitative at best and she hardly ever attains the greater depth in a role. A lot of things in film are rationalized where the bad become good cause its purposes is beyond the usual. The fact it has a purpose beyond the usual is great, but a lot of fluff work is getting the aclaim it doesn't deserve. The staleness of this film torpoed any chance of attaining the higher aim.

But, Silver Bullet, complements on an excellent review. Even if I disagreed, with Dogville discussions in full swing, it should be brought back to easy reading for everyone else.

The Silver Bullet

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Dogville
« Reply #177 on: May 22, 2004, 08:31:35 AM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
But, Silver Bullet, complements on an excellent review.

Thanks, GT. Much appreciated.
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rustinglass

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« Reply #178 on: May 22, 2004, 10:26:29 AM »
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Quote from: godardian


von Trier should do a comedy (has he ever?).


Not exactly a comedy, but epidemic is surely his most funny feature:
" I'm still not used to being a priest. In half a day you can become a dentist. In a day you become an airline pilot. and in two a priest. They said I was to be a priest, so I studied for two days. They gave me a book. I opened the book... it was goddam latin! I told them: "This book is goddam latin!". They said that I was a catholic priest. "


btw...SPOILERS FOR KILL BILL








there is a shot in epidemic tht is very similar to kill bill's buried alive scene. oddly enough, Tarantino managed to make it more breathtaking than von trier.
I didn't type "spoilers for epidemic" because I'm not really spoiling anything.
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El Duderino

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« Reply #179 on: May 27, 2004, 10:46:58 PM »
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it finally started showing here. i went today. it was my first Lars Von Trier film, and i didnt know what to expect. at first, i didnt like it, but then by Chapter Two, i was hooked. all members of the cast were good, especially Stellan Skarsgaard. all in all, i thought it was great. 4 and a half/5
Did I just get cock-blocked by Bob Saget?

 

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