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Dogtooth (2009)

Kynodontas (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 11 November 2009 (Greece)
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Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out.

Director:

Yorgos Lanthimos
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Popularity
1,042 ( 320)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Christos Stergioglou ... Father
Michele Valley ... Mother
Angeliki Papoulia ... Older Daughter (as Aggeliki Papoulia)
Hristos Passalis ... Son
Mary Tsoni ... Younger Daughter
Anna Kalaitzidou ... Christina
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steve Krikris ... Colleague
Sissi Petropoulou ... Secretary (as Athanasia Petropoulou)
Alexander Voulgaris ... Dog trainer
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The cat is the most feared animal there is!

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Greece

Language:

Greek

Release Date:

11 November 2009 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Dogtooth See more »

Filming Locations:

Athens, Greece

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,686, 27 June 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$110,248

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$384,147
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The inspiration for the film came about because of a discussion Yorgos Lanthimos was having with some friends who were about to get married. When Lanthimos expressed doubts about the institution and family itself, he was struck by the idea about what would happen to a man who went to the ultimate extreme of protecting his family. See more »

Goofs

When the boy brushes his shoes it is seen he touches the carpet with the brush, but the carpet stays clean. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mother: The new words of the day are: "Sea", "Highway", "Road trip" and "Shotgun".
See more »

Connections

References Jaws (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Pou na 'sai tora agapimeni
Performed by Christos Stergioglou
Composed by Nikos Gounaris
Lyrics by Kostas Kofiniotis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
stunning allegory about totalitarianism and propaganda
17 March 2011 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

What if you could be the master of your own universe, able to make everything to your own specifications and liking? And what if, in that universe, you could have absolute control over your subjects, so that, not only would they have to do what you told them to, but you could even go so far as to shape the very way they look at the world?

The unnamed middle-aged protagonist (Christos Stergioglou) of "Dogtooth" has created just such a kingdom for himself and his wife (Michelle Valley), tucked away in a rural area of Greece, where the two of them have raised their children - a boy (Christos Passalis) and two girls (Aggelika Papoulia, Mary Tsoni) who are all now in their late teens - in such complete isolation that the kids have virtually no knowledge of the world that lies beyond the fenced-in little compound in which they live. They know only that it is a dangerous and scary place and that none of them will be able to venture out into it until their dogtooth falls out - which is to say never. They are so misinformed as to how the real world actually works that they think planes are just tiny objects moving through the air, and that if one of those tiny objects were to fall out of the sky and into their yard, the children would be able to pick it up and play with it like a toy. They've also been taught by their colluding parents to believe that prowling cats are a mortal menace to be destroyed on sight. The kids spend much of the day doing repetitive chores, playing meaningless games and being taught an incorrect vocabulary (they use the word "phone" when they really mean "salt," for example). The father regularly pays a young woman (Anna Kalaitzidu) he works with – the only person from the outside world the children are allowed to meet - to come and have sex with his post-pubescent son, and severely beats the kids every time they step out of line.

A stunning allegory about the evils of totalitarianism, "Dogtooth" is somewhat reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" in its basic premise and setup, only here the guiding principle seems to be less about protecting the young ones from the harsh realities of a modern world and more about this one man's finding a way to achieve a kind of apotheosis for himself - making himself a god in the eyes of his children. For not only does he make them reliant on him for all the basic necessities of life, but he's made it so that they accept without question the "truths" of the physical and moral order he's established for them to live by.

The man and his wife have together inverted and perverted the very definition of parenthood. Rather than grooming their children for an adult life in the real world, these parents deliberately infantilize their offspring, making it virtually impossible for them to leave the home and start a life of their own. This ensures that the kids will be there to take care of them for the rest of their lives.

On a broader scale, the movie is a searing indictment of the power of propaganda, showing how easy it is to mislead people and to compel them to do what one wants simply by feeding them false information and, thus, skewing their view of realty and the truth. And isn't this how totalitarian dictatorships are born and sustained? But there's also an innate desire for liberty and independence lurking in the recesses of every human soul that must finally assert itself in a desperate run for freedom, and the movie addresses that reality as well.

The movie is both raw and provocative as it takes on some rather touchy sexual themes – mainly involving incest - that some in the audience may find disturbing and discomfiting to put it mildly. There's also a fair amount of full-frontal nudity, brutal violence and more-than-simulated sex scenes in the movie.

Yorgos Lanthimos' direction is spare and stripped-down, as befits a parable, with off-kilter visual framing that heightens the bizarre nature of the piece.

"Dogtooth" is unnerving, thought-provoking and provocative – and a must-see for the unconventional, adventurous movie-watcher.


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