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Cruel et sans la moindre pitié
le 11 juillet 2014
At first sight the film is plain idiotic. But there must be a second sight. The second sight is the manifesto behind the film I say the manifesto but certainly not the project because it has no objective OR destination whatsoever.
The manifesto first:
I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by DOGMA 95:
1- Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
2- The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot.)
3- The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
4- The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera.)
5- Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6- The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
7- Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
8- Genre movies are not acceptable.
9- The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
10- The director must not be credited.
11- Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste! I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a “work”, as I regard the instant as more important than the whole.
12- My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations.
Thus I make my VOW OF CHASTITY.
Copenhagen, Monday 13 March 1995
On behalf of DOGMA 95
Lars von Trier Thomas Vinterberg
The concept of Chastity seems to imply all they refuse is for them nothing but a rape. They are raped by the camera, the director-dom, the actor-dom, etc. In other words they dream about making films without any cinema technology. They thus reduce their films to a mirage inside a delusion. And yet here is one film they made.
The film is an absolute illustration of these principles. It describes a voluntary community, if not a commune of some sort, of people systematically called, in the English subtitles since the film is in Danish, idiots, retards and other nice terms of this type. All the actors are acting their own parts, their own reality, their own truth. The retards in the film are retards in society.
Does this bring any truth?
These people who are going to a restaurant and acting their mental and behavioral handicap against the personnel and the customers in order to be kicked out, after eating of course, without paying does not reveal anything true or truthful since these people are playing what they are to gain an advantage. This is thus a big lie and nothing but racket.
In fact it reveals that the only decent people are more or less the innocent witnesses who actually accept the disturbance with patience or even accept to help the differently-abled persons with some empathy and care, like two tattooed bikers who actually take one of them who had been “entrusted” to them by his “educator” to the toilet and help him urinate without any fishiness.
Of course the fact that it is filmed is the proof it is all a lie. Too bad for Lars von Trier: we know there is a camera filming the scene that has probably been rehearsed several times.
The only moment when we may think something slightly enlightening is provided is at the end when an officially normal woman who is under a strong post-traumatic stress syndrome due to the death of her infant tries to go back to her husband and family. She is accepted, including the real handicapped woman who accompanies her, and yet she is unable to cope and she plays retard with catastrophic consequences. When we know she had escaped into that commune on the day before the funeral of her own child, we can measure how deep her Trauma was but that has little to do with mental handicap.
This Dogma thing seems to me to be extremely over-rated.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU