What is it you don’t understand? Grace realizes, after having talked to her father, that she can’t defend their actions (what they did to her) because if SHE had been the one who did what they did, she wouldn’t have forgiven herself. Her standard was higher than theirs - they “weren’t good enough” so to speak. She realizes this after her father puts things into perspective - that Grace has a nature which is too forgiving. People need to pay for the bad things they do.
I think this movie explains in a beautiful way the difference between good people and bad people. Some people just feel no guilt for the bad things they inflict on others. It’s shocking.
If you interpret everything you see literally, then yes, it’s one group of lowlifes slaughtering another.
But this film of all films shouldn’t be watched with such literalism.
Watch it with Grace as Jesus Christ. Caan as God the Father (Old Testament God). Caan’s goons as avenging angels.
Now think about it in those terms. Who has more of a right to be misanthropic, to be wrathful and vengeful, to mete out justice, than God and Jesus and His angels? He made those people with love, gave them minds, free will and moral choice (ie, made them in His own image). For a home he gave them paradise. Then he let things go as they will, and left his creations alone, until his son (daughter, in the film) went down to visit and check in.
And we saw how they treated her, and the sort of people they had chosen to be and the sort of world they’d made paradise into.
I like that von Trier has the Jesus figure make the call. I think that’s ultimately the point of the film.
I don’t want to get involved with this whole comment fight about whether you’re smart if you care for this movie or the opposite - but your example from the “Emperor’s new clothes” triggered something in me.
To me, that sounds like you were so frustrated about the lack of the visuals that you didn’t experience Grace’s transition of tolerance as something special.
To me, it took some time to live myself into the universe of a visually lacking story - and I lost it several times - But as the conditions grew more extreme and the characters’ developed I grew to love imagining the bushes and the dog - and thought it was cool that you could see what people were occupied with, when they were totally unaware of some scandal and drama happening, in reality, right next to them.
Also, I subconsciously grew to think it was fun to imagine what the characters could really see.
In the risk that you’ll take it like a personal attack, I came to think you take a lot of pride in judging things for their reality. While I completely understand, since I’m a logical guy myself, it just occurred to me that you could be afraid of imagination and raw feelings. I have no clue if there’s any truth to this in your case but I know from myself that sometimes you can be so sure you’re open-minded but later you realize you were stubbornly guarding your emotions.
I guess I just wanted to place a seed of doubt, so you could get a chance to experience what me, and probably many others, experienced about this movie.
Ok, the lack of scenery has little to do with focus on performance. It accomplishes a far more important thing. It removes the story from the previous century and makes it relevant to our time. It makes it almost timeless.
The second thing it does is laying out everything clearly. You learn your way around the village, the houses are purposefully small. I just can’t imagine this kind of movie being filmed in a midwest town. Unthinkable, wouldn’t be the same movie at all.
If you couldn’t get past the invisible doors being opened and shut, you already did not try to understand the movie, and I feel really sorry that you missed the chance to experience something unique.
You just nailed it, ilssaridor. Even though IMO the movie is not exactly anti-U.S.A. With some minor modifications, ‘Dogville’ could have been set in practically every country on this world, since it talks basically about the human condition.
Anyway, let’s consider for one minute that ‘Dogville’ is really an anti-USA film. As you’ve said, so what? So nobody has the right to criticize the yanks but they do have the right to criticize the rest of the world? kinda unfair, isn’t it?
What I find the most interesting is the huge level of hipocrisy found in the people from USA, from the most ignorant to renowned critics such as Roger Ebert.
Hollywood has almost 100 years vilifying, stereotyping and depicting in the most unfair and malicious way any other country.
There are literally thousands of anti-german, anti-japanese, anti-russian, anti-vietnamese, anti-mexican, anti-chinese, anti-spanish, anti-cuban, anti-arab, anti-turkish, even anti-british and anti-french films produced by Hollywood. Not to mention the frankly racist depiction of racial minorities in plenty of Hollywood films (native-americans, african-americans, latinos, asians, etc.).
IMO the reason why Lars von Trier decided to place ‘Dogville’ and ‘Manderlay’ in USA is because the yanks (not all of them) have this silly belief about being “morally superior” to the rest of the world. A belief firmly engraved in The Monroe Doctrine, The Manifest Destiny and crap like that.
Most yanks really believes they are “superior” and behaves like one of those cocky and petulant teenagers who believes they are always right and knows everything. Of course, Lars and the rest of the world knows how foolish is such belief. They (yanks) are no better (nor worse) that any other nation on the world. Perhaps richer (not always) and with more nukes, that’s all.
That’s why we all sing at the end of the movie with David Bowie: “Ohhh, Young americans, young americans…”
This cover belongs to Woody Allen and Sony Pictures Classics, the CC license is only applied to my words in this post. // La portada de esta película pertenece a Woody Allen y a la distribuidora Sony Pictures Classics, la licencia Creative Commons sólo es aplicable a mis propias palabras en esta entrada.
[NOTA: Todas las palabras y números entre corchetes que están remarcadas(os) en «negrita»…
Keep calm and listen to Peter Gabriel… on Flickr.