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Hidden Cruelty of People Living in Peaceful Countryside

Posted July. 28, 2003 21:54,   


When the movie `Dogville` was named one of main competitors at Kahn International Festival held in May this year, American reporters loaded Lars Von Trier, director of the movie, with one question after another at a press conference.

It was because the first part of three episodes discloses American hypocrisy and double standards. ˝I have never been to the U.S. It is a movie reflecting my feelings and understanding about the country,˝ replied the director. T

A beautiful fugitive, Grace (Nicole Kidman), arrives in the isolated township of Dogville on the run from a team of gangsters. With some encouragement from Tom (Paul Bettany), the self-appointed town spokesman, the little community agrees to hide her and in return, Grace agrees to work for them.

However, when a search sets in, the people of Dogville demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harbouring poor Grace. She becomes subjected to torture, rape and humiliation, and Tom, who Grace believed as the only friend, betrays her and tells the mob her whereabouts. In this town, goodness is relative and villagers feel no guilty.

This movie is controversial as the director himself said `It is a subjective movie.` Yet, the experimental style of the movie, which combines a theater play with a novel, deserves credits.

The movie is set in an old storage house. There were white lines that distinguish Tom`s house, Ginger`s store and the Elm Street. Actors stay in the set for 2 hours and 58 minutes. There are no fences and no walls.

˝I devised this set to describe the inner feelings of characters more delicately,˝ explained Director Trier. With few things to see, the audience will be more focused to characters. The movie comprises nine chapters, and there is a narrator reading the story.

Director Trier once again puts a woman into an extreme circumstance as he did in previous works such as `Breaking the Waves` and `the Dancer in the Dark.` The audience will likely find themselves feel uneasy as they watch Grace growing tired of the collective madness. For age 18 or over. Set to be released on August 1.

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com