Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1995, speaking at a conference held to celebrate the 100th birthday of the cinema, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier gave a speech in which he decried the increased technical sophistication of filmmaking, which he believed had come at the expense of the art of storytelling. Von Trier declared that the cinema needed to be "purified," and in collaboration with fellow directors Thomas Vinterberg, Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, and Kristian Levring, announced the birth of the Dogme 95 movement, a stylistic "vow of chastity" in which filmmakers would refrain from using sets, special effects, music that does not originate onscreen, and special lighting beyond what is normally available, and shoot all films with handheld cameras, using the original 1.33:1 Academy ratio. While the Dogme 95 filmmakers and their works gained international attention, they also found themselves struggling with the ascetic stylistic approach they had embraced, and some found themselves violating the rules they helped to create, while others wondered how their fellow filmmakers were to enforce their regulations. Jesper Jargil takes a witty look at the Dogme 95 filmmakers and their credo in The Purified, which examines the excesses which helped inspire the movement, how the Dogme theorists hoped to challenge them, and how the world reacted to them (and they to the world).
film-theory, avant-garde, Danish [nationality], expose [revelation], film-director, film-industry, filmmaker, integrity, manifesto