Unfair review #6
Went to see Dogville the other day. Again, didn't use much gas to get there as it was in my living room, which is conveniently located within my house.
Dancer in the Dark by the same director was a very very good, if not completely enjoyable film. I found Dogville to be in much the same vein, at least as far as plot goes.
The two movies have similar unrelenting, shocking depictions of betrayal, and what "ordinary people" can/will do at their worst. I imagine Lars von Trier (if that is his real name) must have either had some bad experiences himself, or has done some things he's ashamed of, or is very good at delving into the depths of human nature through imagination alone.
D in the D used colour, lighting and camera style (can't think of the correct word here, comments please) to highlight the difference between the reality and the fantasy of the main character. Reality was close to the Dogme 95 manifesto, washed-out colours, hand-held camera, while the fantasy musical numbers were in beautiful, glowing colours, using all sorts of flashy crane and tracking shots.
Dogville also made some use of the Dogme 95 doctrine (which I'm pretty sure I hate, by the way) - the vast majority was shot using (pretty much) a hand-held camera. Other aspects of Dogme 95 were ignored - there was non-diagetic music, and it wasn't filmed on location . . .
. . . kind of. The shtick with this film is the set. It's entirely within one massive soundstage, and is a layout of a (very) small town, with a main street lined with the characters' houses. These are all drawn in outline on the stage, and save for a few random bits (like the meeting-hall belltower, and some furniture), there is nothing else. No walls, no doors, no windows.
I'd heard two conflicting opinions about this - people either said, "If I wanted to watch a fucking play I'd go to the theatre," or, "It didn't matter, the film was great." I fall into the latter camp, although I did think the method used to get the story across was a bit distracting at first. Once the film was about a quarter over, though, I really hardly noticed.
This was a brave attempt to do something interesting and different, and either it didn't work, but the story was so great it shone through, or it worked brilliantly, and made a great story even better. I'm not totally sure which I think it is.
If you've seen D in the D and found the ending a little - um - depressing, not to worry, Dogville is almost upbeat by comparison.