France/Italy/Japan/USA/UK ; 135 min.)
directed by: Lars von Trier
starring: Nicole Kidman; Harriet Andersson; Lauren Bacall
Bruce says: "Lars von Trier uses a magnifying glass to
explore the various institutions of Western culture. He looked closely
at how women are subjugated through religion, community and marriage
THE WAVES. In DANCER
IN THE DARK he achieved the same result
with law enforcement, the workplace, and the judicial system all failing
the heroine. Now DOGVILLE has arrived, employing a new mix - the workplace,
family and community -to illustrate von Trier's point of view.
|Diane says [spoilers]: "I was feeling
guilty for going to the movies on Good Friday, but DOGVILLE vindicated
me. Funny, I was having a convo with my pastor just a few hours before
about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST the scapegoat theory in Christology,
and the Left
That's how I would broadly
designate Trier's latest: the scapegoat Jesus [death of an innocent
victim] versus the Jesus who looks at people and makes them blow up [from
the latest Left Behind installment].
"It's a terribly Christological film. Grace comes to town, seeking refuge. The residents cannot accept Grace. Instead, they shackle her with their sins. In the end, Grace's father comes back and offers to take her back home, where she can share in his power. She tries to defend the people of Dogville, but her father is having none of it. 0nly the dog, who had a _reason_ to act badly toward Grace, is saved.
"Acting and camerawork are very good. I liked the '0ur Town' presentation very much. Since there are no walls to the houses, it becomes clear what we all choose not to see [a rape being committed while the woman's boyfriend saunters a few feet away].
"The movie felt like all of its three hours. While some find DOGVILLE
too obvious, I think it gives plenty to chew on. Although Trier chooses
ending that plays for a fool anyone who thinks that humanity is worth
saving, the still shots of poverty and killing afterward undercut that
|Ivy says: "I caught this last night at the Brattle.
I am so glad I saw it on the big screen! I have felt for years that
Von Trier is a talented filmmaker and DOGVILLE just reconfirms this
"It was wonderful to see such an allegorical film, realized with such interesting design choices, and shot beautifully (Von Trier welcome back to film!)
"Emotionally harrowing it's true, but I was so happy for him to present a stronger female character. Grace's role as scapegoat feels more acceptable to me in this metaphorical world. I questioned her choices less unlike the heroines of BREAKING THE WAVES and DANCER IN THE DARK. Plus she isn't *touched* like the other two characters are.
"I haven't gone back to read what you all wrote about the film because
I am trying to dash this one out and I promise I will. I definitely
this film should be considered for an award at the end of the year."
|Michael says: "Whew! DOGVILLE is certainly
not going to be everyone's cup of tea. In fact, of the five of us who saw
the film Monday night, I'd say we each had a different opinion. Surprisingly
(?) I think I liked it the best. (Not sure who liked it the least... Rick?
Bob? I'm hoping to see at least one other review!)
"DOGVILLE is the latest in Lars von Trier's series of victimization of women films (the first two being BREAKING THE WAVES and DANCER IN THE DARK). Here, our tortured lead actress is Nicole Kidman, luminous in a Christ-like role. On the run from a mysterious past, Grace (Kidman) literally stumbles across the remote mountain town of Dogville. There she meets Tom, the local moral philosopher, who convinces her to stay in town and win the town over so she doesn't have to run anymore.
"The story progresses with Grace agreeing to Tom's plan, and eventually falling in love with the simple life in Dogville. However, the longer she stays, the more the moral injustice and cruelty of the townsfokl comes to the surface. As the film grows darker, and Grace's suffering increases, you may find yourself wondering just what the point to this film exactly is.
But believe me, there is a payoff, and it's a doozy. Even those who weren't enjoying the film were shaken out of their malaise by the surprisingly funny and satisfying ending. Clocking in at three hours, DOGVILLE doesn't drag, and it earns its running time. It also tells its tale in a unique, "Our Town"-esque style, with a surprisinly effective barren set and somewhat effective narrator. But despite the set limitations, the film is still visually striking in the way it portrays both the seasons and the tone of the townspeople by the inventive use of lighting. Grace is also lit very carefully to illustrate her nature.
"My favorite part of the film was the Christian allegory, which I found surprising and quite strong. Given the story and dialogue, I can't really think of any other way to interpret the film other than with the Christian symbolism. Many critics have harshly commented on the film that it's anti-American, to which I respond, so what? You don't have to agree with von Trier's politics or religious beliefs to enjoy the film. In fact, as we discussed after the film, it's difficult to even interpret what von Trier is trying to say in DOGVILLE. Does he truly believe the themes he presents in his film? Or is he merely trying to provoke the viewer? I am suspicious of the proposed trilogy that DOGVILLE begins. I'm not really sure where he is going to go next in this tale, and I think it's unfortunate that Nicole Kidman has declined to continue on in the role of Grace.
"DOGVILLE is a challenging film that will not be to everyone's taste, but I believe that it is a worthwhile film experience for anyone, and it will surely provoke viewers to talk about it afterwards. 4 cats"
|Hilary says: "For those of you who actually paid to spend three hours of your life in the theatre with this film: As the old adage goes, you are either very brave or very stupid. I'm not sure if it was worse than I'd anticipated (having deliberately dodged it in theatres), but I found no redeeming qualities in this Danish Dogme-twisted version of 'Our Town.'"|