I was feeling restless this evening, so I sauntered over to the multiplex and saw a movie I knew nothing about called Dogville.

As it started, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, with what seemed at first like a gimmicky set that would fast grow tiresome. I was wrong. For nearly three hours I sat there transfixed, and at one point it struck me that I had never heard such prolonged and total silence in a movie theater before. It was a packed house, and it seemed like everyone was spellbound.

At the end — and this is something I have never seen anywhere in Asia before — nearly the entire audience sat through all the credits (which were fantastic).

I’ve always loved Nicole Kidman, but with this role I am tempted to say she just might have a streak of genius. If not a genius, she’s definitely an artist. But the other performances were superlative, too. It wasn’t a one-man show.

Being totally out of it, and since movies (and everything else) usually come to Asia late, I have no idea how long Dogville has been out. All I can say is, if you haven’t seen it, don’t wait. I’ll be thinking about it all week, and may even go see it again. (Maybe; it’s not a comfortable movie to sit through, but it sure is mind-blowing.)

The Discussion: 8 Comments

Very very strange movie. Saw it on video though. My first impression was exactly like yours. I dunno when it came out in Korea, but it was released in the States early 2003. It IS a long movie (177 min for the uncut version, although I am sure we had here a censored one)… But I enjoyed it a lot.

February 15, 2004 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

You’re so lucky! It isn’t out until March 19 in NY and LA, and then April for the rest of the country.

February 16, 2004 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Is this a Lars von Triers thing? I think I may have seen some posters for it on the underground. Sounds interesting.

February 16, 2004 @ 5:34 am | Comment

Mark, you mean Singapore got it before New York?? That’s amazing.

Yes Nicholas, Lars von Trier.

February 16, 2004 @ 9:22 am | Comment

I actually saw this movie this past weekend on DVD and was thinking of writing about it.

I actually completely disagree with you. I thought the movie was disgusting and utterly deplorable. I guess my opinion is based not just on this film, but two of von Trier’s earlier films that I had seen (Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves.) Von Trier obsession with turning his innocent heroines into these Christ-like martyrs I think borders on misogyny. At least in the Breaking the Waves, he was dragging Emily Watson through the mud as a way to criticize organized religion. In Dancing in the Dark, he did the same to Bjork (although in much more manipulative way) in order to criticize American capitalism. Why the hell he was doing the same thing to Nicole Kidman in Dogville, I don’t know.

And those credits, with all of those Depression-era photos set to David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” were pretty offensive. What a freakin’ condescending twit.

February 16, 2004 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Do you really think he turned her into a “Christ-like martyr” at the end? I thought quite the contrary; she was portrayed as a christ-like martyr throughout, and then he shows us what she really is, what she is really capable of. That transformation was spectacular.

Well, we can’t all agree on everything. When I get a chance I’ll see what the critics have said about it (not that that means very much.)

February 16, 2004 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

Interesting: I just read a bunch of reviews, and I’ve rarely seen such a clean line separating those who either love it or hate it. No in-betweens. Some use words like “abominable,” others praise it to the skies.

February 16, 2004 @ 3:50 pm | Comment

What I liked about the film was the use of minimalism and subtlety in characterisation to convey the story or maybe even to manipulate the audience perceptions.

February 17, 2004 @ 10:12 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.