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Related: Lars von Trier - Denmark - realism in film
Dogme 95 is a movement in filmmaking developed 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. The goal of the collective is to instill a sense of simplicity in filmmaking, free of postproduction modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity in the formation of the film places a focus on the actual story and the performance of the actors. For someone experiencing the film, there is an increase in engagement as the viewer realizes the lack of overproduction, and becomes more concerned with the narrative and mood. In order to further this goal, von Trier and Vinterberg developed a set of ten rules that a Dogme film must conform to. These rules, referred to as the Vow of Chastity, are as follows:
- Shooting 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).
- 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 shot).
- 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; shooting must take place where the film takes place).
- 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).
- Optical work and filters are forbidden.
- The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
- Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
- Genre movies are not acceptable.
- 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 shot on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.)
- The director must not be credited.
It should be noted that from the first dogme film, these rules have been both circumvented and broken. 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, 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 spririt of the Dogme technique was hinted at by Lars Von Trier's film Breaking the Waves. The first of the Dogme films was Vinterberg's 1998 film Festen, known in English by the title The Celebration and Dogme 1. Festen was highly acclaimed by many critics, and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Von Trier's first 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 www.dogme95.dk.
A related British literary movement, called the New Puritans, espouses similar values for the writing of fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogme_95 [Nov 2004]
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