DOASKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEWs of Dogville, Manderlay, Epidemic, The Element of Crime, Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, The Perfect Human, The Five Obstructions, Red Road, A Sense of Freedom, Killer of Sheep, Morgan!, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Ten, The Phantom of Liberty, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, There Will Be Blood, Lonely Child, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Adventureland, A Broken Life, AntiChrist, Paranormal Activity


Title:  Dogville

Release Date:  2004

Nationality and Language: Denmark/Sweden/Finland/UK/France/Spain, English

Running time: 177 minutes

MPAA Rating:  R

Distributor and Production Company:  Lions Gate Films and Sony Tristar / Zentropa

Director; Writer: Lars von Trier


Cast:   Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Stellan Skarsgard, Ben Gazarra, John Hurt (narrator), Patricia Clarkson, Lauren Bacall

Technical: HDCAM and Cinemascope

Relevance to doaskdotell site:

Review:  My first reaction as this film started was that I was watching a filmed stage play. The opening shot is a street map, drawn on stage, of the very small town with suggestions of houses and buildings and very simple props for items inside the homes. There are quaint items like the gooseberry hedge, the park bench. The set, with the muted dark colors, looks like a Parker Brothers board game. The narration of the story (John Hurt) starts as if it were to be a children’s fable, but eventually it becomes anything but that.  Now filming plays has worked before. There is a 1995 videotape of Robert Cassler’s play Second in the Realm.


Here it is slow in the beginning, if you buy the conventional wisdom: a woman Grace (Nicole Kidman) wanders into a tiny depression-era Colorado mining town, and she is destitute, and running from the mob. You want, however, to see real visual reconstruction of a mining town (you see that only as stills in the end credits), but this town, it soon becomes clear, is no Everwood. It seems like a social experiment. The townspeople live collectively, communally, and get to decide if Grace can stay. Money seems to mean very little; rather the people give Grace little tasks (she is no Apprentice) that seem to add to a collective good. A young aspiring philosopher-writer Tom Edison (Paul Bettany) seems to be in charge, but in time it seems like the town is his own thought experiment, as he stands outside of it. The “dogs” start to bite, but ultimately we learn more about Grace’s own sinister intentions. The payoff, at the end, after a cycle of seasons, is like a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.


There are the moral diatribes, as Tom recognizes the hypocrisy of his own writing projects, and the Grace sees the same of her own forgiveness (for multiple linear rapes from every man in the town except Tom, who comes close himself lying on her) as she talks to her gangster bosses before the catastrophic end. And that will turn out to be like a kid destroying his own toys. For Dogville seems to be a play world, a board game of archetypical characters manipulated like the dolls of a puppetmeister. It is a social experiment in the Twilight Zone, a game, an attempt to find a utopian ideology that cannot work in real life. In the end, fascism destroys communism.


Now, I’ve seen experiments with imaginary dominions, like The Triplets of Belleville, or my own Project Greenlight screenplay entry Baltimore is Missing.  In my screenplay, the protagonist is not so clearly in cahoots with the “gods” and the payoff is much less. Here, the technical nature of the writing is more that of a play than a movie (the plot has nine “beats” instead of five), until the bombastic finale, where it all breaks out in fire-engine red visual splendor.


This film is the first of an intended trilogy "USA: Land of Opportunities" which has been followed by Manderlay (2005, TWC) and Washington (2007). 


Some people have said that this form of filmmaking is called “Dogme” (dogma).  The film is characterized by one set, natural lighting, with simultaneous activity (in Rear Window style) on different parts of the set.


Actually "Dogme 95" i(Dogma 95) a filmmaking protocol (sometimes called "Dogme 95 Collective" or "Dogme Brethren" which stresses natural sets, the lack of external props (in Dogville, a set could be considered a collection of prop), old-fashioned Academy 4:3 aspect ratio (Dogville is 2.35 to 1), real time storytelling without flashbacks (it would seem that narration is OK).  The Wikipedia entry on this is detailed. 

Dogme website is this:


Manderlay (2005, The Weinstein Company / Zentropa, dir. Lars von Trier, 129 min, NC-17, Cinemascope) is obviously a sequel, almost on an extension of the same sound stage, if you can imagine it as a huge atlas of the U.S.  The opening shot shows a model T Ford driving across the map until it settles in Alabama. Grace will be played by Bryce Dallas Howard, with Willem Dafoe as her father. She and the gangsters settle on the plantation Mandalay, and this does seem like a setup of foil for another philosophical dissertation. The movie is in eight chapters, with the same narrator. The layout of the plantation "as a Mr. Ree board game" is not so clear and bounded as in Dogville (the geography maps of Middle Earth in Tolkien Rings or of Paoli's kingdoms in the Inheritance trilogy become imaginable as von Trier pseudo-dogme sets!); the floor is often white (snow would not be appropriate), and there are some good effects, such as the dust storm. But few films (or plays for that matter, and this is, for practical purposes, like an off-off-Broadway stage play) have laid out the philosophical dualism between idealism (equality, individual rights, control of one's destiny, and most of all independence), and the practicality of living, interdependence, the meaning that can be found in a limited community by human relationships. Grace is the idealist who, upon arrival, finds de facto slavery on the plantation in 1933. She will impose her will on the place the way George W. Bush will in Iraq, with no grasp of the practicalities of how they get along. (From a plot point of view in a more real world, it seems hard to accept that she is in a position to implement her world view; but who among us would pass up the chance to set up our own universe and okay God if we could?) Gradually she understands the subtleties of "Mam's Law" which compares to Sharia in Islam. Eventually, she finds out that the law was laid out in a Koran-like manifesto by one of the slaves (Danny Glover).  The Law here spells out a way people can live together without fiat money, and there is still a kind of economy of feelings (There is hierarch in the seven "nigger" Groups, the critical one being chameleon.) In the mean time, "free enterprise", however ideological, turns out to be a sham here when the "profit" of the cotton harvest is stolen. Grace actually comes to accept the "socialism" that enables the "negroes" to live together adaptively with some local and inner integrity. What is fascinating here is that von Trier creates an alternate universe -- it could be another planet, with an environment cut down to simplicity -- where he can make his own moral rules and see how they play out. It eventually involves sex, with graphic scenes of Grace's masturbation and submission to interracial sexual intercourse. von Trier's rules and resulting engagements do create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. 4-1/2 stars.


Epidemic (1988, Home Vision Entertainment, Danish Institute, dir. Lars von Trier, written by him and Jacob Erikson, 106 min, PG-13) proposes another experiment in layering. Lars and Jacob write a screenplay in five days about a sudden killer epidemic. This is a wonderful low-budget grain black-and-white (16mm) horror movie, as the screen play is interleaved by scenes from it, first in "dogme" fashion. By about day 3, however, the movie goes on the road, as the screenwriters drive the German Autobahn through its industrial areas, with outdoor scenes having a creepy Lynch effect. They have corresponded with teenage girls in Atlantic City, and on day 5 one of these girls is brought in for a hypnotic session and séance (no Ouiji board).It gets out of control when the girl gets sick in the session with what looks like Ebola. Then, they fly over the Autobahn again and watch it become empty. The real kahuna is here. The music uses the Prelude from Wagner’s Tannhauser to great effect. There is a lot of discussion of the craft of screenwriting, as in one scene where the ministry wants 150 pages and they have 12, and in another where the diagram the screenplay for its beats, corresponding to the five days. 


The Element of Crime ("Forbrydelsens element", 1984, Janus / Criterion / Danish Institute, dir. Lars von Trier, 104 min, R) is a crime drama set in a reduced post-apocalyptic world in northern Europe, a place that looks like it is reduced to a Dogme stage. The problem is, you are never sure where you are, which you should be in a cut-down world. Most of the sepia is brown-orange, which seems less abstract than just black and white, although the final shot is yellow, and that is effective. One of the most effective scenes, in fact, occurs near the end, with the bobbing bald heads in the flooding waters, doomed. How that relates to the story is up in the air. A detective, Fisher (Michael Elphick) returns from Cairo (somewhat prophetic, it seems now) to solve a crime with the help of his mentor (Esmond Knight) who has written a book by the name of the movie (having an embedded book is always an interesting plot device to generate the twists and paradoxes of a movie), and will hypnotize the detective to get him into the mind of a killer, with willing female models. But there seems to be little to live for in a world that has been destroyed back into ragtag simplicity. This film was made just as Reagan was making inroads into the Cold War, but it might be more applicable now than then.  


Dancer in the Dark (2000, Fine Line, dir. Lars von Trier, 141 min, R)  A nearly blind woman Selma Jezkova (Bjork) goes to America with her young son in 1964, hoping to be able to get him an eye operation to save him from blindness for the same hereditary disease. She takes a job in a foundry and can't work fast enough, daydreams about Hollywood too much, breaks a machine and gets fired. Her life goes downhill. She kills the man and steals from the family that took her in, and gets caught, tried, and is eventually hanged. But it is the filmmaking and ride in this bizarre "musical" that gets one's attention. When she feels like it, her mind breaks off into song and dance, even at the hanging scene, which is actually quite brutal (as in the two Capote movies). When she shoots Bill Houston (David Morse) the movie presents the bizarre spectacle of a blind woman trying to shoot someone, with a couple shots hitting. Icelandic actress and composer Bjork wrote the original musical, which is romantic (sometimes with full symphony orchestra) and majestic, and recalls American female composer Amy Beach. As with all dogme, the photography is intimate and sometimes moderately in sepia. The movie is in Cinemascope, which works well in the dance scenes but seems to give too much space for the intimate shots.  


Breaking the Waves ("Amor omnie", October / Artisan, dir. Lars von Trier, 159 min, Denmark / France / UK, R) is another classic that is supposed to demonstrate Dogme filmmaking, although here Cinemascope is used, and it seems odd in conjunction with the hand-held cameras, giving some scenes a grainy look. Yet the shots of the coast of Scotland and the oil rigs are sometimes breathtaking, and the movie is suddenly relevant for a new reason now, global warming and concerns about depletion of oil.  The film is in seven "parts" and an "epilogue" (as are the stage-like films above); each part starting with a landscape painting and a title (like "Living Alone", "Bess's Sacrifice", "The Funeral") and some pop music (even the Beetles) even though, according to Dogme rules, there is no external music sound track during the movie proper.


The somewhat simple story has become notorious. Bess McNeill (Emily Watson) marries oil rig man Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgard) and takes the religious vows "till death do us part" literally, even if she is ambiguous in her own mind. She craves Jan when he goes off on the rig to work (he is no Ben Affleck from "Armageddon"), and the worst happens (as it must in screenwriting): he is gravely injured in a rig accident (that may not be completely accidental, as there is a fight). Jan tries to get her to have sex with other men to complete the marriage and give him the will to live. Bess really imagines that she is sleeping with a proxy for Jan and being faithful to him when she has these erotic excursions. She even speaks of the Parable of the Talents and refers to Jan as a leopard. Eventually, Jan (paralyzed) her commitment papers, she is shunned, and then follows her enigmatic "sacrifice," about which so much is written on the Internet. Jan will rise again, but not Bess. 


The script is quite existential, from the opening church scene, where we realize that the people have a puritanical faith, out of character for most of Europe.  Her mother (Katrin Cartridge) keeps her tethered on a leash to the faith and family and speaks of being "cast out." The preacher decries anyone who "clings to the world rather than flee from it" and talks of people who "deserve a place in Hell." He certainly sounds Calvinistic. After the accident, when Jan's head has been half shaved (and she really had quite a fixation on his body, talking about his smooth chest and other areas before), the doctor says, "life shouldn't always be preserved at any cost," and "when life isn't worth living, it might be better to die." Jan tells her, "If I die, it is because Love cannot keep me alive." 


von Trier certainly proves that one can make an epic film with techniques that seem to come from Best Buy and home movies. 


On the surface, the story sounds a bit like a variation of D. H. Lawrence's novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover" which has been adopted to film (with sequels) several times, most recently in 2007 in a TV release from France.


The Perfect Human ("Det Perfekte Menneske", 1967, Danish Film Institute, dir. Jorgen Leth, 13 min, NR but sug PG-13, Denmark) is a famous, abstract black-and-white short that shows "A Man and a Woman" (Claus Nissen and Majken Algren Nielsen) in clinical detail, fully dressed to start (with the semi-nudity and bedroom scene very restrained), as an alien who had captured them and wanted to study them in a "Twilight Zone" style zoo (with a human home simulated) would perceive them. The man looks like a perfect clone for a fern gay bar, even if this is a straight couple. The film asks about "the skin" -- is it soft, is it smooth? It turns out that he has a real hairy chest, legs and arms. She is smooth. The couple fits the pre-metrosexual stereotypes of the era for attractiveness. At the end, the man says he sees a white light near his shoe and then in his heart. I suppose one can imagine taking this concept and pitching a longer film, where this really is an alien abduction (like Streiber's "Communion") and go on with the medical examinations, and then let them escape. How is that for a pitch for "The Lot"?


The Five Obstructions ("De Fem Benspaend", 2003, Koch Lorber / Zentrope, dir. Jorgen Leth and Lars von Trier,  Denmark, 90 min, NR but might be NC-17 for one scene of full nudity; this is certainly an "adult" film in the good sense of the concept as Roger Ebert argues for it) is a nice von Trier layered puzzle, where he takes an intellectual abstraction, that he even admits to be a forced "self-flagellation" of the older filmmaker, and maps into a visual composition -- that is what filmmaking is all about. von Trier challenges Leth to remake his 1967 documentary "The Perfect Human" five times, under five different sets of constraints. These include, a limit to 12 fames in a cut, horrible places (Cuba), complete freedom (Back to Bombay -- "back to the bay" if you were ever in the Army -- and perhaps Bollywood), then a cartoon, and finally, silence: Leth must let von Trier make the film that will go out to the world in Leth's name, credited as Leth as the director.  That seems to make a political point about sales culture -- even artists have to learn to sell, sometimes other people's work. (After all, I once worked selling orchestra season tickets, and they brought in a conservatory graduate from Canada to help us sell!) All of the film, both the "Perfect Man" inserts and the interviews, seems to be shot with Dogme 95 technique.


A lot of the individual auteurish shots are fascinating, from Cuba to Haiti to the high-speed Chunnel train arriving in Brussels (he didn't do the clowns on stilts that I saw in the Brussels train station in 2001), to Bombay, to the comfortable apartments in Copenhagen. He picks several actors for his "perfect humans" -- the men are hairy, the women perfectly smooth, all part of macho fantasy.  The rotoscope animation was great -- reminding one of "Scanner Darkly". As the experience progresses, it separates itself -- with Leth admitting that he did not want to deal with the world or with people, just with his own art. That seems to be von Trier's point. Others call this film the greatest exercise in intellectual "self-abuse" in history.  


The relationship between the two directors is interesting. von Trier seems to be manipulating Leth for the fun of it, in order to have dominion over him somehow. He seems to want Leth to bring his fantasy ideal into the "real world" relative to film and make it work. (So von Trier is masculine, Leth is feminine.)


Red Road (2007, Tartan / Zentropa, dir. Andrea Arnold, 112 min, sug. NC-17) is reported to be a valid example of Dogme 95 filmmaking, although even here it is not totally strict (1.85 to 1, and some added soundtrack). This film is said to be the first of an intended Dogme trilogy called "Advance Party". To me, it bears comparison to "Civic Duty" and even Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window." The storytelling is partially encapsulated by the images that night security watcher Jackie (Kate Dickie) sees on all of her video camera images on the security cameras in the Red Road district of Glasgow, Scotland -- a city that I visited myself in November 1982. The natural colors of the environment -- the reds and brown -- come through and give the film a garish quality, emphasizing the squalor of a working class area (high rise housing projects) surprising for Britain and especially for Europe as a whole -- although the recent controversies over Muslim immigration (not covered directly in this film) support the idea. The narrow high-rise in a dusky sunset image gives an other-worldly look.  The neighborhood, despite all the on-location hand-held photography, gives the film a claustrophobic, confined quality. Now, among all of these images, a story unfolds. Katie has lost her family to some kind of catastrophe, and she starts seeing the man Clyde (Tony Curran) who may have caused this accident. He has a campadre Stevie (Martin Compston) who provides a point of entry into Clyde's life through working class bars, discos and private parties where the patrons can get brutal. Eventually, she will try to set herself up as the victim of a crime (rape) that she could prove, and the imagery here becomes quite graphic. A film that starts out purporting to be a political commentary on the security state of modern Tony Blair's Britain (in line with the Patriot Act in the US) turns out to be quite personal.  


More about Dogme on blogger entry.


"Reservation Road" (link below) is a much more conventional tragedy that starts with an "accident."


A Sense of Freedom (1979, Anchor Bay / Handmade, dir. John MacKenzie, book by Jimmy Boyle, 81 min, UK, R) is an acclaimed film about the redemption of Scottish gangster Jimmy Boyce (David Hayman) with a serious of movies in brutal Scottish prisons, to the Barlinnie Special Unit,  to eventual freedom. The film has a tremendous sense of atmosphere of the cold city (Glasgow) and surrounding country was well as prison, and a touch of the supernatural at the end. I recall this film at the Inwood Theater in Dallas in 1979. There is a lot more detail here. (Compare to "Chopper").


Killer of Sheep (1977, Milestone, dir. Charles Burnett, 83 min, bw, not rated but sug PG-13) was recently restored from the UCLA Film Archives 16 mm original for arthouse theatrical exhibition. It shows a slice of African American daily life in Watts.  It rather presents the "negro" as in a kind of continued economic servitude (compare to Manderlay) that forces life to remain focused on earthy and organic concerns. Shot on location with no props (some modest classical music like Rossini and Rachmaninoff in the soundtrack, though) it approximates the ideas of Dogme filmmaking, although this film was shot long before the concept was invented. The film confounds encyclopediac stereotypes by showing African American men with hairy chests.   Blogger entryFilm website.


Morgan! ("Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment", 1966, MGM /British Lion / Cinema V, dir. Karel Reisz, sug PG-13, UK, black and white) David Warner plays Morgan Delt, a bookish dreamer who lives in his own world, and whose insistence on staying in it leads to divorce from his wife (Vanessa Redgrave) and commitment to a British insane asylum. He was, in my vernacular from my own horrible NIH days, "a god damn MP". Nominated for two Oscars, many felt that this upsidedown comedy made fun of "mental illness" which in those days was "nothing to be ashamed of" but a horrible stigma. 


Lady Chatterley's Lover (1982, MGM / Cannon, dir. Just Jaecklin, novel by D. H. Lawrence, UK, 100 min, R to NC-17) has been made into a film several times, but this British version is pretty much standard (there is a French "Lady Chatterley" TV theater release in 2007). Here a paralyzed and impotent lord from World War I Sir Clifford Chatterly (Shane Briant) becomes the cuckold, as Lady Chatterley (Sylvia Kristel) comes into an affair with the commoner gardener Oliver Mellors (Nicholas Clay). The setup sounds a bit like "Breaking the Waves" but the direction is different. Clifford wants a son by another lord, not a commoner, so he kicks her out when he finds out about the affair. Then he fires Oliver, too. The Lady hardly makes any "sacrifice." The 1955 version is not on Netflix, but was banned for a long time. This novel was considered particularly novel and immoral, but today it sounds more like the 60s battle over miscegenation. There is a lot of dialogue about how "beautiful" Oliver is, as in an early shot when his almost smooth body is covered with self-applied soap. This film is much more conventional than a von Trier film, and not as challenging in its conceptual questions. 


The Ten (2007, ThinkFilm / City Lights, dir. Paul Fain, 96 min, R) is a decology satire of the Ten Commandments. The individual stories are linked together and to a stage host played by Paul Rudd, exploring his own marital problems on what looks like a Dogme stage. Blogger review here


The Phantom of Liberty ("La fantome de la liberte", 2007, Janus / Criterion, dir. Luis Buneul, France, 104 min) is a famous example of improvisational film and "black comedy", a series of loose episodes of political and social satire (with some emphasis on hypocrisy and on the pretentiousness of democratic politics) with the barest of connections among the threads. The film structure may resemble "The Ten", "Paris je t'aime" or even a Robert Altman film but the "story" is much looser and would not please affaciandoes of screenwriting. It starts with a massacre scene near the end of the French Revolution in Toledo, Spain but then shifts to modern day France. One of the most famous scenes is a dinner party with the revelers sitting on commodes while talking about pollution; a man excuses himself to a compartment to eat his food. Another scene has some heterosexual S&M and an elderly woman wooing her handsome young nephew.  One "shocking" sequence has a poet-turned-sniper gunning people down from one of the tallest buildings in Paris; people just drop dead in the streets. At the trial, at his death sentence, he becomes a celebrity. A late scene has a female pianist, in the nude, playing Chopin and Brahms, a scene that might have inspired a similar scene in the gay flick "Trick" (where Beethoven is used). A the end, The Ostrich (who had appeared in an early bedroom scene) overseas a total meltdown of order, perhaps with the guillotines to rule again. The film actually seems prophetic as to what has happened today. (My Army buddies will remember "The Lizard and the Ostrich.") 


The film DVD has an Introduction by Jean Claude Carriere. He points out how real life depends on "the irrational." 


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007, Warner Bros. / Virtual Studio / Plan B, dir. Andrew Dominik, based on Ron Hansen, narrated by Hugh Ross, 160 min, R, Canada) is a psychological "art western" produced largely by Brad Pitt himself, and most of the film amounts to a tense homoerotic duel between Jesse James (Pitt), and baby faced upwardly-affiliating Ford brother Robert (Casey Affleck), complete with high-pitched voice and soft features.  Don't get me wrong: Casey Affleck's performance is riveting (probably an Oscar nomination) and involves a degree of self-effacement and sacrifice and subtlety that his flamboyant older brother could never match. The dialogue is glacial, and the narration deliberate yet funny, and the film, although mostly outdoors (actually filmed on the Canadian prairies) seems like a Lars von Trier "stage film" with a lot of hand held camera work, Dogme style. The aspect is 2.35 to 1, which may not have been needed here, given all the closeups, and in some of the wide outdoors plains shots the edges are blurred, a bit of an annoying effect. (The opening scene is in the woods, which should have been heavily leafed to match a September date in Missouri.) James, who died at 34, looks weathered, and Robert looks like a boy of 19.  There is an early confrontation where James says, "do you want to be like me, or do you want to be me?"  James sends him home, and the next scene has Affleck in an outdoor bathtub, his chest smoothed and rendered practically hairless in pre-production for the scene, as if they really wanted him to look boyish and even a bit effeminate. The Robert Ford character seems self-focused, with a touch of Asperger's perhaps, and the filmmakers seem to want the audience to believe that he is gay. He starts coming back into contact with his Robin Hood "mentor," and begins to realize he could really be somebody. Eventually "a simple plan" ensues, leading to the assassination, while James is dusting a picture. (There is an earlier scene where Ford shoots an intruder, setting up the idea that he can explode, despite his quiet nature. Later, there is a scene where James starts an intimate sequence with Robert, reminiscent of "Trick", only to suddenly pull a knife on his neck.)


An early scene, where James sets up a nighttime train robbery in Missouri by first blocking the tracks, shows that even in the 19th Century, expanding "technology" (relative to the times) could set up ordinary people as prey for catastrophic attacks.


Democratic political strategist James Carville (whom I met once in Washington walking his dog on Capitol Hill as a went to a Log Cabin Republicans party) makes an effective cameo as Gov. Crittenden.


The last twenty minutes of the film summarize Ford's life after his "day of fame" as he got to play out the assassination 800 times as an actor in New York, and then made the rounds of bars around the country, claiming that he was no coward. His own end comes at the barrel shotgun in Colorado from another unstable man who just hates his guts. It's easy for people like Bob to make enemies for no good reason.


There Will Be Blood (2007, Paramount Vantage / Miramax, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, novel "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair, 158 min, R) is a psychological western in the early 20th century about an oil tycoon Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) who comes into tension with a forever young preacher Eli Sunday (of the Church of the Third Revelation), played by Paul Dano. The film unfolds in deliberate style reminding one of Robert Altman (to whom the film is dedicated) but also recalls the style of the Jesse James film above. The background music, mostly atonal music for strings, makes this an opera without singing, with some sense of stage presence (even in a stunning west Texas landscape -- the story happens in California) that comes out of Van Trier's school of work. Blogger discussion here.  


Lonely Child (2005, Dogme-41, dir. Pascal Robitaille, Quebec, 50 min, in French)  is listed as certified as a true dogma film, and was shown at Reel Affirmations 17 in Washington. In a suburb of Montreal, a supposedly liberal mother is offended when her gay teen son is kissed. The movie then goes on an impromptu, interviewing other gay teens (I presume the actors were 18 or over) in a summer camp. The film is in black and white, and a lot of times the interviewer is talking while filming with the hand-held camera.  For link to blogger, see the gay shorts link below.


In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2008, IFC First Look, dir. wr. Alex Holdridge, BW, 95 min, R) traces two buddies on New Years Eve in LA with dates made through Craigslist (which is compared cleverly to Myspace). Intimate closeups in dogme style. Blogger.


Adventureland (2009, dir. Greg Mottola, 105 min, R). A coming of age heterosexual "age of 22" with Jesse Eisenberg, hairless body and all, trying to get his first "score" in a summer job after finish college. A "guy movie."  Blogger.


A Broken Life (2008, Seven Arts, dir. Neil Coombes, Canada, R, 97 min). A "dogme" filmmaker (Corey Sevier) documents a broken man's last day on earth, and runs into hidden personal relationships and profound ethical problems. Blogger.


AntiChrist (2009, IFC/Zentrope, dir. Lars von Trier, 99 min, NC-17, Germany/Denmark) “He and She” go at it in the woods. Blogger.


Paranormal Activity (2009, Paramount Vantage/Dreamworks, dir. Oren Peli, R, 86 min) HD dogme horror film about a young couple in a haunted suburban house. Blogger.


Related reviews:  Second in the Realm  The Triplets of Belleville  In Praise of Love  Civic Duty  Rear Window, Chopper, Nick of Time, Phone Booth   Gayshorts  Reservation Road  Cloverfield The Terminal   Last Days  Synecdoche, New York


Return to doaskdotell movie reviews page

Return to doaskdotell movies, books, plays strike page

Return to doaskdotell home page


Email me at