While the phone wouldn’t stop ringing between production issues and headhunters through the first four chapters, I just watched Dogville. It will be the first movie I show if I ever start a film club. I hate to make such pronouncements the day of the viewing, as my opinion of things often wanes after a few days to ponder, but I’m wanting to say that this is not only the best film I’ve seem in years, but the most original way of presenting a story I’ve ever seen in this medium. It takes everything that can be done with a play and embelishes only in the ways where film can truly improve. Lars von Trier is a genius of a storyteller, and a genius of an illustrator. That this film received no prize at Cannes because of purported Anti-American sentiment is a true crime, with full respect to those films receiving awards. His quote on the topic is illustrative:
There are a lot of Americans I sympathise with very much, but not the Government right now, no. We just do not agree on politics, but that’s not being Anti-American. I am critical about a country with a system that allows so many losers. I think that is wrong.
But back to the film … the sets are deceptively simple, leaving you the opportunity to actually think, as opposed to being spoon fed all of the imagery. Nothing else that I’ve ever seem has come so close to approximating a book in allowing the viewer the freedom to become not only immersed in the film but their own imagination. I instantly took to the lack of scenery, and quickly felt myself feeling the same chills I got when I first saw Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia performed live, or when I first began to grasp Nabokov’s Lolita. Despite the simplicity, each image is caried out so precisely and poignantly that I’m left wanting to watch and re-watch all 177 minutes again. How it will be made into a trilogy I can’t even imagine, and yet I cannot wait to see it. If the nex two films are half as good they will be worth it.