director: Giorgos Lanthimos
writers: Giorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou
starring: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia and Hristos Passalis
released: November 11, 2009 (Greece)
It wasn't in my program to review this film as the whole truth is that, I'm lucky that it ruined my program and fell upon on this film. I was waiting a good while for the right chance to see this film. I entered the theater with the best of moods and I wasn't bored one bit.
An unusual family (father, mother, two daughters, a son, their fence and their dog) live on an rural estate far away from human contact. Their father owns or runs a factory and is the only person with contact to the outside world from the estate barriers. The rest of the family lives enclosed on the property, because this way they ensure their children's peculiar education. Life stops at the barriers of the fence and in the end we don't know what we are.
Before we go clearly to the film, I would like to say that "Dogtooth" is a film with the biggest inconsistency when it comes to opinions/views from the films that I've critiqued till now. And these views don't all follow the middle road, most of the opinion tend to fall towards the extreme. For this specific reason I made a huge effort to stay fixated on my own opinion, filtering out in neat manner all other opinions. So I don't go on further, lets get straight to the point.
The film showcases in a powerful way the meaning of the disaster of man and to a certain extent one's human soul. The eternal and boundless fascism, the teaching methods of a sadistic world and the misunderstanding of the concept of love compose the center of a microcosm that the director wants to explore and dive our heads right in. A world and philosophy that we espouse in all forms even till today. Love is not only of sexual contact to suppress our impulses. It is not the paid pleasureη. Not even the feeling of "freedom with the hood is a option of choice". When I deprive you the contact with others, "I mangle" you psychological the way I want and cut your wings and I'm not human. When I build a world out of supposed love for you, for you all everything is protected, so to torture you and imprison in that, I am not human.
All of this the director cared to wedge deep into our minds. Footage that the heads are cut off, that the actors adjusted to the class of the director foray. And the scenery as well very well rigged. Despite the fact that the time the story takes place and several scene details (for example furniture of the 1980's) gave another tone of misery and pain that was inhabited in the family house.
Script-wise the job done is very well done and meticulous. There exists an excellent pairing of the script with the meanings the creator tried to pass. Emerging simultaneously the childhood, need for love, game, as well as lying, pain, organized torture and hate. The whole plot the way it ran, was not at all lackluster and worked to great effect as a mirror to the heart and mind of each protagonist.
The best part I left for last. The acting. It wasn't easy the project that put forward to the actors. Children have to keep their purity, spirit, denial, temperament for play and all the things that make a child a child, in a world made for the exact opposite. The mother ought to keep her toughness as a parent in certain circumstances, the propriety of being a wife in combination with the complete submission to her husband and the sweetness of a mother. The father ought to be a parent, friend and foe. Despite the substantial difficulty that these roles present. The actors overall were fantastic. Their adjustment was what ought to be and without these performances the film would have marched towards another road.
Its a certainty you will hear a lot about this film. Even this critique could change your initial opinion on the film, either positively or negatively. My recommendation is you follow your instinct. I will not make a recommendation this time around, as its just as I said, opinions are of the extreme.
review by Sanm
translated by Paul Katsaros from Greeek