Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Scene 5: Dogme95 Day Afternoon

Okay, so today I thought I'd look into Dogme95, a fascinating movement in film that has interested me since I first read about it.

Dogme95 is a manifesto and/or approach to making films created in 1995 by four Danish directors -  Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring and Soren Kragh-Jacobsen. The idea was announced at the Paris celebrations of 100 years of cinema, by Lars Von Trier. 

The manifesto set out ten rules, together known as the Vow of Chasity, for creating films in a parred down way, in the hopes of getting filmmakers back to the basics of film and away from the artificial. 

Here is a link to  the Vow of Chasity, abridged: http://cinetext.philo.at/reports/dogme_ct.html

As you can see the Vow restricted you to shooting films on location, without effects, sets, props, lighting or scripts! Oh, and it has to be a feature, not a short. Oh, and the directors have to give up their claim on personal taste, being an artist and their credit on the film. So much for the auteur theory!

If any of the rules are broken however the director must confess to it. Interestingly even the founders in their very first Dogme95 films, ended up bending or breaking the rules!

Each film was certified and given a number. The first Dogme95 film was Dogme1 The Celebration/Festen (1998) by Thomas Vinterberg. 

The second was by Lars Von Triers, the controversial Dogme2 The Idiots/Idioterne (1998): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154421/

Both started the movement off, inspiring others to begin making Dogme95 films, including the popular Dogme12 Italian for Beginners/Italiensk for Begyndere (2000), a romcom. 

However in June 2002 it was decided that Dogme96 had become a genre, something it had never meant to do - in the Vow of Chasity it actually states that a Dogme95 film cannot be a genre film. So the Dogmesecretariat, the body for registering Dogme95 films officially, was closed down. Three years later the movement apparently, finally, broke up. 

Though there is no longer a board to verify people's films however, filmmaker's can still register films as Dogme95 online, sadly just by checking a box on an online form. There are now at least over a hundred Dogme95 films.  Including the first British Dogme95 film, Dogme37 Gypo, which came out 2005.

You can read a review on it here, the trailer is below: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/ReviewComplete.asp?FID=134595

Personally I find Dogme95 an interesting contradiction and a tempting challenge. 

On the one hand it allows so much freedom. You just come up with an idea, find the people, find the locations, find a camera and start shooting. No fancy stuff needed - or in fact wanted.

Yet on the other it is also very restrictive. You really have to think about what you can create within the rules, and how you hope to shoot it. 

Personally want to shoot my own Dogme95 film one day - and try to obey all the rules!

For those of you really interested in learning more I discovered there is documentary called The Name of This Film is Dogme95 (2000) that looks at the movment.  

1 comment:

  1. I am not in my element, and I therefore plead total ignorance. However, the movement, at least in so far as it can be called such, seems to live upon an individualitic basis, the desire to be free, And not to be based upon a capitalist basis. See- I am ignorant,