The British television channel Film Four gave a showing two nights ago of the movie “Dogville” by the Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, starring Nicole Kidman.
For those who have not seen it, it is extremely difficult to give a meaningful synopsis. Three hours long, filmed on a stage with virtually no scenery, it is an extremely dark, Brechtian-like tale of a young beautiful girl, fleeing her mobster father, who seeks sanctuary in a small Colarado town. At first the town’s people demand she earns the right to stay, then embraces her before finally enslaving her and subjecting her to every indignity, including continual rape. This is not withstanding the love of one its leading spokespeople, a liberal who becomes not simply a self-justifying bystander but an aider and abetter of her degradation. It is a study in the social, psychological and philosophical dimensions of hypocrisy and intolerance of small town America. It is also a damning indictment of greed, power and moral hypocrisy existing in all communities.