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Monday, 3 May 2010

Film - Dogtooth - directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Star rating – 5/10

I am not sure if I have ever seen a Greek film before. What I do know is that I have never seen such a bizarre film of any nationality. To be fair I was not sure it would be my cup of tea, but it has had such rave reviews that I was curious to sample it myself. And it is truly odd.

It takes place in the remote Greek countryside, where a seemingly respectable middle class business man goes off to his factory each day, whilst leaving his submissive wife and three young adult children, who seem to have no names, at home in the villa with no access to the outside world, except through him. The film opens with the parents teaching the children the wrong words for objects, so that ‘motorway’ is a hard floor covering; and ‘zombie’ is a small yellow flower.

With more than a distant echo of the horrific Josef Fritzl case, the children are decidedly and understandably odd. They believe that they have a brother who lives over the fence – although whether or not this brother ever existed is not actually explained by the film maker. They throw cake to him and later on flowers when they are told that he has died.

The trouble starts when the father pays a security guard from his firm, Christina, to come to the villa to have sex with his son. He does not bargain for the effect she has on his children, especially on his daughters. None of the sex in the film is remotely erotic. It is cold and bizarre, even between the husband and wife. This is also a very violent film, and the violence when it comes is quite shocking in its suddenness.

I cannot say that the film is not well acted. All the actors are totally believable in their parts, especially the children played by Aggeliki Papoulia, Mary Tsoni, and Hristos Passalis. It is just that the story is so weird. The children are taught that aeroplanes just fall out of the sky. That cats are a mortal danger to children (beware a nasty scene with a passing cat). And inevitably, unnatural sexual relations form part of the warped web of lies that it spun by the father.

But I can’t say that I enjoyed it. It was amusing in some places – in a very black kind of way. But it was just too bizarre, too abusive, and took me to a world that I would rather not contemplate in that level of detail for entertainment.

1 comment:

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