Saturday, December 18, 2004


holy shit. i finally saw dogville. this is a movie i've been excited to see for the better part of a year, yet just any time isn't the right time to watch a three-hour long anti-epic about what human beings are capable of. i've talked about it, since i posess an inate ability to cheerily discuss movies i haven't seen, notably during my columbia interview. when the gruff, hairy-knuckled interviewer who was terminally unimpressed with me, who conveyed through tone his utter disdain for everything and everyone i loved, asked me what movie i was looking forward to, and i said dogville, even he, this hardbitten, bored, bitter man who was treating the interview like a police interrogation, even he managed to grunt his begrudging agreement with me on the point of dogville. because the movie is that fucking good.

til now, i've taken the movie's goodness on faith. at last! faith, your services are no longer required. in place of faith i have cold, hard experience, three hours of sitting curled-up and wide-eyed on the sofa, whimpering occasionally, certainly enthralled. it reminded me a lot of kill bill v. 1 and 2. in the same way, it reaches inside and twists your organs around; you have to remind yourself it's just a movie, just a melodrama. you have to consider walking away and decide to stick it out. in the same way, it's worth it. the conclusion is astoundingly satisfying, considering its content (which i won't give away).

although people have called the movie christian and grace, the abused main female character, christlike, i thought of it more like a greek myth. still, both versions work. if you go in with an open mind, in fact, i believe you can get any of a thousand interpretations out of it. maybe that's why lars van trier designed his eerie fill-in-the-blanks set. yet despite the finite, limited set's resemblance to a black-box theater, and its prominence in the story -- it's essentially a character itself --, the movie is shot very much like a movie and nothing like a taped play. the narration and division of the story into chapters creates another layer over those two, one in which you do have to use your imagination.

the themes stick with you, too: transparency, opacity; blue america's open criminality, red america's criminal hypocricy; the guilt of frightened thinkers. arguing about whether it's anti-american is a bit like arguing whether the passion is anti-semitic. no one's wrong in an argument like that; you feel what you feel while watching. but don't let the idea stop you from watching. it's too much of an experience to miss.

No comments: