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Thread: Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009)

  1. #126
    If I'm in a Greek video store, I'm most definitely not going to the Comedy section to find this film.

  2. #127
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    So. Dogtooth. Provocative and difficult to come away from it with ambivalence, but like others here, the major change from the first half hour is only upping the ante. Thematically, it ends more or less where it begins by refusing to answer the "now what?" ending, and so it's a formal success in black humor taken to its endpoint, but it lacks the last touch to render it meaningful.
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  3. #128
    Montage, s'il vous plait? Raiders's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting dreamdead
    So. Dogtooth. Provocative and difficult to come away from it with ambivalence, but like others here, the major change from the first half hour is only upping the ante. Thematically, it ends more or less where it begins by refusing to answer the "now what?" ending, and so it's a formal success in black humor taken to its endpoint, but it lacks the last touch to render it meaningful.
    Not sure I follow what you mean by a "now what?" ending. The ending is definitely a resolution and answer. It leaves the character's fate open-ended, but its implications and how it is supported by the rest of the film are pretty definitive.
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  4. #129
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Raiders (view post)
    Not sure I follow what you mean by a "now what?" ending. The ending is definitely a resolution and answer. It leaves the character's fate open-ended, but its implications and how it is supported by the rest of the film are pretty definitive.
    This ending comes off like the art-cinema version of Inception's spinning top; it feels artificial and coy whereas the rest of the film is rather masterfully and aesthetically blunt. While I was likely coy myself about suggesting little has changed, the lack of resolution beyond a desire to escape seems to delimit my ability to read Lanthimos's intention--while something like Assayas's demonlover likewise intimates a final sense of entrapment, that text is mitigated by the breaching of the fourth-wall, which moves the film out of insularity. While Lanthimos offers us the workplace and attempts to broaden out the visual/narrative space, his refusal to show the older daughter's fate comes off to me as teasing when this mindset is nowhere else in the film.

    I like the film, and find it linking with texts like Pasolini's Salo in its reveling of audacious excess, but feel more at a loss at what Lanthimos means to indict.
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  5. #130
    Montage, s'il vous plait? Raiders's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting dreamdead (view post)
    This ending comes off like the art-cinema version of Inception's spinning top; it feels artificial and coy whereas the rest of the film is rather masterfully and aesthetically blunt. While I was likely coy myself about suggesting little has changed, the lack of resolution beyond a desire to escape seems to delimit my ability to read Lanthimos's intention--while something like Assayas's demonlover likewise intimates a final sense of entrapment, that text is mitigated by the breaching of the fourth-wall, which moves the film out of insularity. While Lanthimos offers us the workplace and attempts to broaden out the visual/narrative space, his refusal to show the older daughter's fate comes off to me as teasing when this mindset is nowhere else in the film.

    I like the film, and find it linking with texts like Pasolini's Salo in its reveling of audacious excess, but feel more at a loss at what Lanthimos means to indict.
    If by her "fate" you mean whether she has bled to death or is alive, then I suppose so. But, her plight is still resolved in that she is trapped in that trunk (she cannot escape) and either will be found out by her father, likely back in the confines of their house and yard, or she will die either from bleeding or suffocation. Either way, the imprisonment of her from the outside world and the slow perversion of the outside world into this controlled society has led to her belief that through the trunk there is a vessel to explore the alien terrain, but rather it becomes the height of bleak humor as she has indeed made it beyond the fence but through her own ignorance is stuck in the trunk, unable to escape.

    I don't know, to me it's just a damn funny and resonant image.

    You ask about what the film is intended to "indict" and I don't think there is any one thing in particular. Rather, the film comes at a scenario so specific and defined that while we can attach a whole wealth of forms of social conditioning (government, media, cults, families), I think it is better to look at the film from a perspective of what the children's ignorance shows us about accepted and normal human behavior and the kind of context with which we live and with the words we speak. The film is creating, as arguments often do, the hyperbolic scenario in order to make its points and statement. It is so simple for the father to confound and create an entire misunderstanding of our world through a few changes in word definitions and lies (such as the airplane). Our own society is no less arbitrary or specific in our ways, but we simply have made them to become what is and what is not and we are right to do so because over time human nature defines some aspects of our existence. This film convincingly creates its own small, insular society for these three children and watches as human instinct and curiousity eventually overwhelm and as our normalized society seeps its way in, becoming these bizarre bouts of odd pop culture for the older daughter (it parallels something like Dante's Explorers where the alien race there learned of our culture solely through movies and news clippings). Thus, in contrast to the silliness of Shyamalan's The Village where we get clawed monsters and laughable bumpkin lives, Lanthimos creates a more poignant and incisive study of societal paranoia and the attempt to create your own people, essentially playing God and master as one would with a dog, and squelch all the natural tendencies and desires created by our world. The results are always tragic.
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  6. #131
    Editor Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting dreamdead (view post)
    I like the film, and find it linking with texts like Pasolini's Salo in its reveling of audacious excess, but feel more at a loss at what Lanthimos means to indict.
    I'm not a fan of such reasoning, which seems to be more prevalent nowadays.

    Why does the movie necessarily have to 'indict' or 'mean' or 'symbolize' something? Why can't the movie just be? That is, a slice-of-life portrayal of an incredibly warped family. It works on its own like that. It doesn't need a social or political message.

  7. #132
    Quote Quoting DavidSeven (view post)
    Oh OK, it's the arthouse version of The Village. I get it.
    Quote Quoting dreamdead
    This ending comes off like the art-cinema version of Inception's spinning top.
    I find this interesting.

  8. #133
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    I found it to be the arthouse version of It's Pat.
    Sure why not?

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  9. #134
    I found it the art-house version of meh.
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  10. #135
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    Second time since 2010, and I wondered during it how I would feel if my first watch had been after a few more Lanthimos under the belt, since that first time's positive shock still reverberates throughout this rewatch. It still feels like the most concentrated-dose shot of his manifesto, of starting out with a deadpan, perverse universe already and having it been chipped at by even more absurd force for a compare/contrast of revealing something both strangely positive and unbearably dark about human nature. One reason I liked Poor Things second best in his filmography is because it feels like a spiritual sequel to this one. 9/10
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
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