View Full Version : Dogville?
07-19-2003, 01:24 PM
Does anyone know when Dogville will come out in the US? I saw it in France and I know we will be able to have some good discussions when it arrives here.
But, I would suggest not revealing ANY of the plot to anyone who hasn't seen it yet. I believe it's better to just go and see it without idea or expectation. All I needed to know to go see it was that it was directed by Lars von Trier and stars Nicole Kidman, and is in English.
07-20-2003, 04:19 PM
The film got very mixed reviews at cannes. From "Masterpiece" to "garbage", it's been labelled a lot of things.
Trier's reaction? He said
"I only compete with myself".
07-20-2003, 10:29 PM
Trier has never made a mediocre film. I've gotten used to expecting a lot and not being disappointed. The film will be seen in Europe, Korea and Argentina before a North American release in December, but exact dates have not been announced. It's a safe bet that L.A. and NYC residents will get a chance to see it before year's end so that the film is elegible for Academy Awards.
09-26-2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by fangor
I saw it in France and I know we will be able to have some good discussions when it arrives here.But, I would suggest not revealing ANY of the plot to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
Dogville is likely to become the most controversial film of the year for a variety of reasons. I think it's possible to discuss the type of film it is and certain aspects of the production without discussing the plot at all.
Trier explains he enjoyed watching the 1977 Royal Shakespeare Co. production of Dickens' Nicholas Nickelby on tv(BBC) and does not object to the film being labeled "filmed theatre". The whole film takes place on a stage with chalk lines standing for walls and a minimum of props. The actors do wear period clothing(1930s Colorado, USA) unlike the actors in Vanya on 42nd Street, Louis Malle's bare-bones film adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. So Dogville has antecedents and it's clear Trier wants to engage the mind by focusing on text and actors. Other sources of inspiration identified by the auteur himself are the song "Pirate Jenny" from The Three Penny Opera by Brecht and Weill and the works of John Steinbeck.
I watched the uncut 2hr 50 min. version. A version that is reportedly 30 minutes shorter is being released in countries where exhibitors have objected to the film's length. I have read comments from viewers(Imdb) complaining about the film being too long, but cutting 30 mins. from it seems excessive to me.
The film will divide audiences like no other film released in recent memory, particularly in the USA. Dogville is the first of a trilogy called USA:Land of opportunities. Trier states he decided to embark on this project after American critics and reporters questioned his setting Dancer In The Dark in the USA without having ever set foot here. "I thought that was unfair. The people who made Casablanca never went there". Americans who despise criticism from "outsiders" should pass on this film. Those looking for uplift and escape won't find it here. Those who appreciate thought-provoking drama will rejoice.
09-27-2003, 02:24 PM
I think it's the absolute "dog's bollocks" (quoting Vinnie Jones) that Lars is giving the world his views on America.
I agree that Dogville may be the most controversial film of the year- I haven't seen it, but I have read about it...
My impression is that Americans (generally) do not like criticism from foreigners. I have always sensed a patriotism that runs REALLY DEEP.
I was talking to a man from Sacramento up on vacation in our marijuana-friendly cafe The Blunt Brothers last week. We chatted about Bowling For Columbine and the divided reaction among Americans. "Americans are naturally agressive" he said. "We are raised to take big bites from our food- it's manly-, we love our right to bear arms, we never back down from a fight and we want to be known as a brave country". I said "Canadians love guns as well, we just don't shoot each other. The shoot-first, ask questions later mantra is kinda dumb".
His reply? "You're right. I love Canada. I would be in jail right now for smoking marijuana in a restaurant. Pass me that doob brother-man".
I'm doing my best to smooth relations with the yankees.....:):)
09-27-2003, 03:48 PM
Nicole walked out of the Cannes screening of Dogville, just to let members know.
She said she felt so uncomfortable & exposed watching herself on the giant french screen that she had to leave...
I want to see this film NOW.
09-28-2003, 12:47 AM
An interesting aspect of Dogville is the credits. There is one opening credit:
"The film DOGVILLE as told in nine chapters and a prologue".
The closing credits appear over pictures of impoverished Americans, most taken during the depression, others from the 60s showing ghettos and homeless people, one shows a man and his little boy posing proudly with their weapon arsenal, and one picture shows a smiling Nixon. It appears as David Bowie sings: Do you remember your president Nixon? Do you remember the bills you had to pay? from "Young Americans".
Ms. Kidman told Trier at Cannes she'd appear on Manderlay. Two months later she said she could not due to conflict with the shooting schedule of the remake of Stepford Wives.
09-28-2003, 05:25 PM
You've got me all psyched up, oscar.
It's not available in Canada yet.
We were the Young Americans....
12-03-2003, 12:49 PM
I bought the Dogville uncut DVD here in Paris (something I had every intention of doing, along with Greenaway's Baby of Macon).
I don't know how the fuck I'm going to play them, but I at least own copies. I guess I'll have to convert them.
Thanks for the link to DVD Beaver, Oscar. That's a great website. Lots of info on Trier's movie. It will without a doubt make my top ten for the year. (I'm guessing it'll be a little weaker than Russian Ark, but only slightly).
03-21-2004, 07:53 AM
Trier's latest film about America is finally about to open in American theaters. Or a few theaters, at least. Here in Houston, it appears that "Dogville" will be shown once, at one location only, the Museum of Fine Arts. Maybe it will have a less limited showing in other cities; I know Oscar saw it on the big screen in Miami at the film festival there.
Maybe I'm showing my belligerent, cynical, and ignorant side, which typifies my good standing as a true American, but I don't see how Trier can make an accurate film about America and its citizens without ever traveling to the country. I've never been to France, for example, so I wouldn't even try to make an accurate judgement of its people, its soceity, and its culture before spending considerable time there. Otherwise you end up unfairly resorting to stereotypes. His comparison to "Casablanca" isn't particularly relevent; that film wasn't primarily about that Moroccan city, it was about the relationship between two people torn apart by WWII.
Here's an article about "Dogville" in today's NYT:
Registration is required, but it's free. I'd post the entire text but it's too long.
03-21-2004, 01:49 PM
I found out that Dogville will also play here in Canada- also in a limited run on April 4- VERY SOON! Unfortunately it's not the 3-hour version.
Yes, Lars has never been to The US. He's pushing buttons, alright.
J. Hoberman says Dogville is "an austere parable of failed Christian charity and Old Testament payback". He says the ending is horrifying but the credits make it cathartic.
I'm burning to see this movie. Why?
-Kubrick's Barry Lyndon is an inspiration (Trier said the narrator and music were soley based on Kubrick's example)
-I wanna see how great an achievement it really is- Trier shot the film himself with a digital camera in 6 weeks. If my hunch is correct, the man may now be called a cinematic miracle worker...
-Nicole Kidman as directed by Lars.
According to Hoberman, by the end of the movie Nicole's character metes out some "rough American Justice", and because of it Lars illustrates how "exploitation and violent overkill is All-American". Couple that with Bowie's "Young Americans" and I'm guessing Lars is more scathing than Oliver Stone.
Ironically, it's being released *officially* after the Passion of the Christ, and Lars is making a bold swipe at Christianity in the US circa 1931. It should still create controversy over the next few months.
03-21-2004, 04:30 PM
First things first, the music: is the music in the film the same as what's on the official website?,
because I love that song on the website. It does indeed sound like something from a Kubrick film (and, by the way, I'm about to watch "The Killing" for the first time; there are still a couple of his films I haven't yet seen).
As for the subject matter, pointing out hypocrisy in America is not a particularly original idea, and I'm afraid Trier doesn't understand the subject matter well enough to take it on in any original way. The fervor and hypocricy of religious Puritanism in America has been a major theme in many great works of American literature (and American film history as well). It goes hand-in-hand with the supposed "frontier mentality" that drives us Americans to aim for great things (and often fail while trying).
The description, "an austere parable of failed Christian charity and Old Testament payback", makes it sound alot like Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The film also sounds like something out of one of Steinbeck's books. Such corruption, conformity, and hypocrisy in society is one of the big themes in the works of Sinclair Lewis (e.g. Babbit or Elmer Gantry). And current American authors are still exploring this same theme - everyone should read American Pastoral and The Human Stain, both by Philip Roth. He's one of our great contemporary authors. You'll ache for The Swede, an immigrant to New Jersey who achieves happiness and success in America in American Pastoral, only to be torn apart by the actions of his daughter, who violently rebels against everything he thinks is good about America.
My concern is that Trier, having never spent time in the United States, will fall back onto stereotypes and will emphasize the "bad" (as mentioned above) without countering it with any "good". It's this juxtaposition between the "good" and the "bad" in America that causes me such consternation, and it's a theme often found in American literature and film. Natural Born Killers is a great example of a parody of the American Dream. But I also love the films of Altman in this context. Short Cuts, Nashville, and McCabe & Ms. Miller are wonderful character studies of those who are both succeeding and failing in their attempt to attain the American Dream. All three are slice-of-life films about Americans. The Puritanical hypocricy is a major theme in McCabe & Ms. Miller, and I'd imagine that Altman is more successful in capturing it than Trier, though I must wait to see Dogville just to be sure.
03-21-2004, 06:09 PM
Hey, let us know your thoughts on The Killing!
It's the best heist film I've ever seen.
I understand your concerns about Dogville. Lars has never been to the US and that's the main reason people are up in arms. There was a critic who saw the film at the NY Film fest press screening who said "I can't decide who I'd like to kill first- the man who made the movie or the people who like it".
Lars may be resting on stereotypes, he may not. If you're familiar with Trier, then you know that he is VERY conscious of what he puts on screen. If he's using stereotypes, he's doing it on purpose.
I think Nicole dropped out of the two-film commitment she made to Lars because she doesn't want to hurt her career by starring in a trilogy that slams America. Remember, she walked out of the Cannes screening. I may be reading between the lines, but I think Nicole is more concerned with her acting career than Lars' directing career. She is a smart lady, but she may be making a mistake...
Manderlay is part 2 in his "Woman's Maturing Process" trilogy (his words). It's set in the American South and it begins two days after Dogville's final scene.
03-21-2004, 06:25 PM
So Dancer in the Dark is not part of his trilogy? For some reason I thought it was. I guess the third film will come after Manderlay.
There's a good interview with Trier on the Dogville web site. He says that while the story takes place in America and is intended to be a reflection on the USA, it could take place anywhere, really. He also says he would like someone who's never been to Denmark to make a film about that country. His example is someone from Japan making a movie about Denmark, though it would still be biased because all of the world news comes out of America anyway. But, I don't think he's anti-American, per se, he's just frustrated and dismayed at the arrogance and corruption that comes out of the country having so much power. Tough to argue with that. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.
03-21-2004, 07:17 PM
Dancer is the final film in his "Heart of Gold" trilogy:
Breaking The Waves
Dancer in the Dark
All three have a tragic woman at the center.
03-22-2004, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by JustaFied
The Puritanical hypocricy is a major theme in McCabe & Ms. Miller, and I'd imagine that Altman is more successful in capturing it than Trier, though I must wait to see Dogville just to be sure.
I don't recommend walking into Dogville expecting a major treatise on Puritanical hypocrisy or anything else. Don't walk in with a "yardstick film". Certainly not Altman's frontier masterpiece. Walk in alert, rested, and free of the clutter of others' opinions and interpretations.
03-23-2004, 07:14 AM
Originally posted by oscar jubis
I don't recommend walking into Dogville expecting a major treatise on Puritanical hypocrisy or anything else.
Isn't that what it's supposed to be? Why else did Trier make this film? What are we to expect, or more precisely, why should we see this film?
I'm looking forward to seeing it, but I'm not sure what context to put it in. Maybe I should wait until after seeing it to determine that? LOL.
03-23-2004, 03:05 PM
A guy I know in BogotÓ saw Dogville some time ago, so it was also showing there. He loved it. I'm hoping I will too, which will be a first for me and von Trier. I've found his films unpalatable up to now. At least it looks "pretty", judging by the previews, and since there're previews, obviously it's coming shortly to the SF Bay area. I will make a note not to walk in looking for a treatise on puritanical hypocrisy, but I usually don't.
11-05-2004, 09:04 PM
I'm only sorry I didn't see this movie earlier and missed out on the discussion. After I saw Dogville, I was blown away by it. The blend of stage acting and movie production was so creative for me that I really cherished the opportunity to see a movie directed as a live stage production but not shot as from a real stage production. Like Madonna's Evita that realy was a movie that was pure musical production, so to "Dogville" is a stage production format but an actual movie. The subject matter, its build-up, even to his climatic conclusion still resonance in real raw emotional and intensely heightened mental turmoil - a symptom of a really great movie for me. One of the best.
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