So, I saw Dogville last night at a local theatre. I figured that Sunday night was as good a time as any to see it, since I would already be in the Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.
Actually, Dogville was the least punishing von Trier film I've seen yet. (The others being The Idiots and Dancer in the Dark.) Of course, that's like saying this was the least painful time I smashed my thumb with a hammer.
I enjoyed it a lot, but, jeez, get over the shaky cam! I got pretty motion sick and that really interfered with my concentration during the last hour or so of the film. I kept wondering if I should take some Gravol right away or if it would make me fall asleep in the theatre. I've seen other films that were filmed hand-held and they didn't make me ill like this (and The Idiots) did.
So, the film. I really liked the stripped-down, play-like sets and the somewhat stylized dialogue. It helped me to focus on the story and the characters in quite an intense way. It also really brought home the transparancy of small-town society. No one can hide anything from anyone else, although they might pretend not to see.
It seems, from the closing credits at least, that this is meant to be a film about America, but I don't really have the energy to contemplate it on a political/global level. The message about the evil that lurks in the hearts of men (and women) is universal. So long as Grace believes herself better than the people of Dogville, she can forgive them for their "frailty". But when she realizes that she has the same "weakness" within her, she can no longer be so tolerant.