Archive for November 1st, 2014


Note: This great review of Lars Von Trier’s ‘Dogville’ is the twenty-sixth in the ongoing Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series.  It was chosen by fellow Von Trier adherent, WitD writer extraordinaire Jim Clark.

by Allan Fish

(Denmark 2003 178m) DVD1/2

A Nightmare on Elm Street

p  Vibeke Windelov  d/w  Lars Von Trier  ph  Anthony Dod Mantle  ed  Molly Malene Stensgard  m  “Vespers of Sorrow” by Antonio Vivaldi  art  Peter Grant

Nicole Kidman (Grace), Paul Bettany (Tom Edison Jnr), Stellan Skensgard (Chuck), Philip Baker Hall (Tom Edison Snr), Jean-Marc Barr (Man with the Big Hat), Patricia Clarkson (Chuck’s wife), Chloë Sevigny (Liz Henson), James Caan (The Big Man), Lauren Bacall (Ma Ginger), Harriet Andersson (Gloria), Ben Gazzara (Jack McKay), Udo Kier (Man in the Coat), Jeremy Davies (Bill), Zeljko Ivanek (Ben), Siobhan Fallon (Martha), Bill Raymond (Mr Henson), Blair Brown (Mrs Henson), John Hurt (narrator),

One thing you have to say about Lars Von Trier; he isn’t afraid of controversy, not after Breaking the Waves (which I loved), The Idiots (which I didn’t) and Dancer in the Dark (which didn’t work).  Dogville was his most controversial work yet, one which goes against the ethics of Dogma 95, with non-existent sets which bring new meaning to minimalist.  Thank goodness the original thoughts of explicit sex were not carried through, for this is a film about simmering emotions below the surface, like the iceberg below sea level and the lava within the volcano.  An eruption is waiting to happen, it’s just a question of time.

Dogville is a small town in the Rockies in the 1930s, sort of Black Rock for the wintry states, a mini-community consisting around one principal street, the romantically and inaccurately named (as there is no such tree) Elm Street.  Into it comes a young woman, on the run from gangsters, who the townsfolk at first harbour willingly, but then grow to use, abuse, rape and all but imprison into slavery (“there was quite a bit of work Dogville didn’t need doing…” opines the narrator).  However, the townsfolk don’t know about the gangsters, and what will happen if they come back? (more…)

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