Idioterne (The Idiots), 1998
Dogme #2, written by Lars von Trier
Danish with English subtitles, 117 minutes, with an introduction about the Dogma movement.
Denmark is famous for its generosity with mentally ill people. That is, when it comes to money and health care. But what about public attitude? A group of anarchist pretending to be mentally retarded test the limits of tolerance revealing awkwardness, hypocrisy and ambiguity in the society around them, but also within their own group. Their leader’s aim is to “go back to the basics”, that is, to get rid of all restraints, social and psychological, by discovering their inner idiot, the true, honest, naive, simple self. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to interpret this story as an allegory of the Dogma movement itself. But it is a generally disregarded aspect of this film that it is the second of Lars von Trier’s trilogy about female sacrifice, so it is also the story of Karen, who is the last to come and the last to leave the group. She emerges as the only one true and authentic enough to take the social experiment seriously, at the price of an extreme sacrifice.
Screening: May 20th, 6 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.