...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

July 23, 2006

Dogville - 7

This is the first of Lars von Trier's USA trilogy. Creatively set on a sound stage (see below) the entire film takes place in the small town of Dogville, in the mountains of Colorado. The tale is right out of Aesop, minus the talking animals. Grace, a run away from the big city, becomes an illustration of how community in a small group works and the inherent selfishness that eventually lead to each one's demise. While the film is at times didactic, the story is intriguing enough to keep your attention and take turns that are unexpected. The story can be seen as a picture of what a wrathful God might see, looking down on creation. It is no accident that the gift, an outsider, is called Grace. Trier is able to tell a story that is more than just a story, it is a reflection of the struggle of storied-living. Sometimes we are blind to the metaphor that is right in front of us.


Paul said...

Excellent commentary here, Greg. I watched this back in April and already feel that I want to revisit the film again, mainly because there's so many contrasting stylistic details to the film. The omnipresent narrator, the Brechtian stage design, the mixture of farce and operatic tragedy; it's incredibly well built, even if, as you say, it does get didactic at times.

Though von Trier may sometimes reach for more than he can handle, it's still refreshing that someone is at least pushing the boundaries (I might also do the Dogville-Manderlay one after the other that it looks like you're doing).

~greg said...

I think the set design gives the film an aesthetic quality that adds to the story. With a fully built set the story would be different.