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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: prehate turns to love

You know how I’m always talking about how I’m totally open to my expectations about a film being completely blown away by the actual film? I think I’m gonna hate a movie, and I usually do… but sometimes, I’m dumbfounded to discover that I was wrong. From my review of Dogville:

[D]amn if I didn’t completely forget to hate Dogville, and if I wasn’t, three hours later, completely blown out of my little mind and right into the screening room next door. All the Thornton Wilder stuff is there just so von Trier can dynamite it away, as if to say: You wanna see what our town is like? Here it is, in all its mean, petty, horrible smallness. It’s not particularly about American meanness or pettiness or smallness, though some have accused von Trier of being anti-American — it’s about human meanness, etc. The only thing “anti” about Dogville is that it might be called an anti-epic — an ambitious movie with a big cast and a marathon runtime that’s about how small and insular and selfish people can be, about the miserable depths to which human beings can sink in their cruelty to others.

review of Dogville, posted 04.06.04

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