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Dogme 95


Dogme 95

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Dogme 95 (in English: Dogma 95) is an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring, and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen. This movement is sometimes known as the Dogme 95 Collective or the Dogme Brethren.



The Dogme movement was announced on 22 March 1995 at Le cinéma vers son deuxième siècle conference in Paris, where the cinema world’s elite gathered to celebrate the first century of motion pictures and contemplate the uncertain future of commercial cinema. Lars von Trier was called upon to speak about the future of film but instead showered a bemused audience with red pamphlets announcing the Dogme 95 movement. In 1995 cinema was at an uncertain point in its history because it was (and still is) threatened by the impending age of digital film technology. Digital technology means that the cost of film production, exhibition and distribution is reduced, and production processes and distribution systems speeded up. This, in turn, means that non-Hollywood filmmakers can potentially compete with Hollywood in terms of making films and getting them to their audiences. In this industrial climate, then, Dogme hailed itself as 'a rescue action!'

Goals and Rules

The goal of the Dogme collective is to purify filmmaking by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, postproduction modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors' performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes and mood. To this end, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg produced ten rules that any Dogme film must conform to. These rules, referred to as the Vow of Chastity, are as follows:

  1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
  2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being filmed).
  3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.)
  4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
  5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
  8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
  9. The final picture must be transferred to the Academy 35mm film, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, that is, not widescreen. (Originally, the requirement was that the film had to be filmed on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.)
  10. The director must not be credited.

These rules have been both circumvented and broken, from the first Dogme film. For instance, in The Idiots, a musician provided background music off-camera, and Thomas Vinterberg "confessed" to having covered a window during the shooting of one scene in The Celebration (Festen), which is both bringing a prop onto the set and using special lighting. As mentioned on the Dogme 95 website, it's up to the director of the movie to interpret the rules.

In certain cases, the titles of Dogme films are superfluous, since they are also referred to by numbers. The spirit of the Dogme technique influenced Lars von Trier's film Breaking the Waves, although it is not a Dogme film. The first of the Dogme films was Vinterberg's 1998 film Festen, which is also known as Dogme #1. Festen was highly acclaimed by many critics, and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Von Trier's only Dogme film, Idioterne (The Idiots, or Dogme #2), was less successful. Since those two original films were released, other directors have participated in the creation of Dogme films. For example, the American director Harmony Korine created the movie Julien Donkey-Boy which is also known as Dogme #6.

For more information, see

In response to the criticism, von Trier and Vinterberg have both stated that they just wanted to establish a new extreme. "In a business of extremely high budgets, we figured we should balance the dynamic as much as possible."

External links

Home | Up | Dogme 95 | French New Wave | German Expressionism | Italian neorealism | Postmodernist film | Remodernist Film

Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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