Von Trier did it again. After no artificial light and no self-built stages he came up with something else: no stages at all! He worked it out brilliantly. The village of the title is a small village with 15 inhabitents. You can see the setting is a studio, the streets are named, houses are stripes on the ground with the name of the residents written in it and the bench says “old lady’s bench”. Here and there there is a part of stage, like a bed, a couch or the tip of a tower flying in the air. With this setting Von Trier manages to surprise you for about 60 or 90 minutes. The actors open fictional doors, knock in the air, etc. The funny thing is: you get used to it. The greates thing is that it makes things very literally transparrent. With one shot you can see the whole village and exactly what everyone is doing, but of course people can’t look inside eachothers houses, so this openness is only for the viewer. Light, dark, day, night, snow and fire and made with the least material possible, but are effective enough. Very well done!
BUT, the story is stretched out over three hours. It is told in a funny way though. A voiceover telling a story in nine chapters and a prolog, with a very nice sence of humour (British I would say). It was totally unnessary to use three long hours to make the film though. The story is about the simple village Dogville which lays in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of nowwhere. There is only one road to the village which even ends there. Nicole Kidman ends up in the village when fleeing from a group of criminals. The village hides Grace (Kidman), but as time goes, demands more and more in return. Overall “Dogville” is a charge against the market economy. The price of Grace gets higher with the danger the village is in. This eventually leads to inhumane behaviour and ends in an eruption of violence.
I like the idea behind the film, I love the way Von Trier worked it out. Totally unique with stage-playing more than film-acting, but I sure hope that there will be a shorter version of it some time. -3/9/03-