In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole new vocabulary. Any word that comes from beyond their family abode is instantly assigned a new meaning. Hence 'the sea' refers to a large armchair and 'zombies' are little yellow flowers. Having invented a brother whom they claim to have ostracized for his disobedience, the über-controlling parents terrorize their offspring into submission. The father is the only family member who can leave the manicured lawns of their self-inflicted exile, earning their keep by managing a nearby factory, while the only outsider allowed on the premises is his colleague Christina, who is paid to relieve the son of his male urges. Tired of these dutiful acts of carnality, Christina disturbs the domestic balance. Written by
In Greece, when talking about Greek movies we like, one of the expressions we mostly use is "it was good, for a Greek movie". I am glad to say that this one was good, period. It is definitely not an easy movie to watch, as it can be really intense and deals with one or two traditionally taboo issues, but it is definitely worth giving it a chance. For me it has been a completely surreal experience, best described as stepping into a world as peaceful as heaven and as confining as hell, where things seem to work in their own whimsical way, leaving me with a constant bafflement as to what is to come next. I honestly did not realize how time went by and, when it all came to an end, I found myself asking for more. This is a movie that disturbed, moved and fascinated me while I was watching it and made me think after having watched it. It is surreal, it is symbolic (it could definitely be seen from a political point of view), it is ironic and at times it can be unexpectedly funny in a dark, twisted way. Directing it in a "dry", "strict" manner, as if just trying to capture the events that take place, was definitely a perfect choice, as was the complete absence of music. The actors did a great job at acting in the emotionally detached manner that was required plus, I have to say, it probably took lots of guts for them to do some of their most "awkward" scenes. All in all, I would say I admired the artistic integrity of the director and actors and their dedication to getting across the main idea and the atmosphere of this movie.
I don't really know how I could classify "Dogtooth". Is it a drama? (Well for a drama it is kind of under-plotted.) Is it a comedy? (It is definitely not a comedy, even when you laugh you are still disturbed by the absurdity of it all.) Is it horror? (It is not horror, it's just a horrific situation but everything, the horror, the violence etc is mostly implied.) Is it fantasy? (Well it is an alternate reality, but mind you this is a family that kind of looks "normal" on the outside!) So really, I give up. It's just a really strange, really intriguing movie, one that in my opinion is definitely worth your time.
Oh and one more thing: it is also one of these movies that it is best to know the least things possible before you see them. Quite a few things (particularly the funny ones) are based on shock value - not that the whole movie is based on shock value, of course. If you ask me, even the theatrical trailers show too much.
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