In 1995, Lars von Trier was asked to speak at the Le cinéma vers son deuxième siècle conference (“Cinema Toward the Second Century Conference”), an event celebrating a century of filmmaking. To the surprise of the masses, they were handed a red booklet entitled 95- Nada. Within it, a set of rules for the film industry as well as a statement against corporate industrial filmmaking were presented to a bemused and amused audience.

Created by von Trier and fellow Danish filmmaker Thomas Winterberg, Dogme 95 was a response to everything they hate about modern cinema: stunning special effects, elaborate post-production, and other technical tricks. Their intentions were for the directors to reclaim ownership of their craft from the major studios, to focus on the story and the performances of the actors. Part of their claim was that without these alleged distractions, audiences would be more engaged with the films. Their statement and rules, also known as the “Vow of Chastity,” were as follows:

  1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought (if a special prop is essential to the story, the location where that prop can be found must be chosen).

  2. Sound should never be reproduced apart from images or vice versa. (Music should not be used unless it is taking place on set.)

  3. The camera must be handheld. Any attainable movement or steadiness of the hand is permitted.

  4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is little light for exposure, the scene must be cut or one lamp attached to the camera).

  5. Visual work and filters are prohibited.

  6. The film should not contain superficial work. (Murders, weapons, etc. should not happen).

  7. Temporal and geographical alienation is forbidden. (This means that the movie takes place in the here and now.)

  8. Genre films are not accepted.

  9. Film format must be academic 35mm.

  10. The manager should not be restricted.

The results are highly idiosyncratic works that stand out from mainstream cinema and the rest of the traditional art house films that will be selected for film festivals around the world. In honor of the nearly twenty years since its inception, these are the culmination of Dogme 95’s accomplishments:

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10 Lovers

Wild Bunch Collection

The fifth film made under the Dogme Manifesto is also the first non-Danish one. Lovers is a Parisian love story between Dragan, a Yugoslavian immigrant, and Jeanne, who works in a bookstore. Despite their romance, Dragan overlooks the fact that he is in the country illegally.

Their complex situation is emphasized by the stylistic orthodoxy to which the film adheres, bending the traditional romantic formula by placing the lovers in dark, suffocating spaces, and having the camera reflect the suffocation by getting too close to them.

9 Open hearts

Open the Hearts movie
Nordisk Film

Susan Beer Open hearts It marked a turning point for the movement, showing that Dogme 95 had come a long way and could convey complex and poetic stories within its undertakings. The film follows a couple after a car accident that changes their lives and the trauma they face. Led by four star shows, Open hearts It is an honest look at the nuances of marriage and relationships during moments of difficulty.

8 Falkland

the curse

One of the most interesting aspects of Dogme 95 was its reach beyond the Danish industry, and the different approaches taken by filmmakers from around the world. The first Argentine film Dogme is a very funny satire about a comedian who goes to the Falkland Islands and tries to redefine the place through his relationship with a woman he meets there.

Falkland It is already very weird as it is, and it only gets weirder as it goes on since there are only performers, and all the “extras” are just locals who are unaware of the fact that a movie is being shot.

7 Kira’s Reason: A Love Story

Kira's Reason: A Love Story
Nimbus movie

2001 by Ole Christian Madsen Kira’s Reason: A Love Story It is a nuanced and ruthless account of an individual’s struggle against a flawed society. This description of motherhood, madness, and prejudice stars Stein Stingad as a woman fighting to provide for her family after spending two years in a psychiatric ward.

These films deviate slightly from vows of chastity through frequent use of close-ups that attempt to reflect simplicity, but Madsen’s brilliance comes from the fact that he juxtaposes this technique with the protagonist’s explosion in other scenes that end in an unsympathetic depiction of illness, generating distance between the film and the audience.

6 Julian Donkey Boy

Julian Donkey Boy
Fine line features

Another example of Dogme reaching other countries is the 1999 Harmony Korine movie Julian Donkey Boy. This talk of a young man with schizophrenia and his dysfunctional family was in keeping with Korine’s earlier work and he had little trouble adjusting to the reigns of Dogme 95.

Related: Garbage Trash: How a Dumb Comedy Prequel Became a Truly Disturbing Movie

The director’s blend of surrealism with documentary-like techniques brings to life a stunning, whimsical film that, while accepted as a Dogme movie, breaks some of its rules by occasionally using unimpressive sound or using hidden cameras and, most of all, Focuses more on mood and style than on story and characters. It was arguably Korine’s best film before he was released Garbage humps.

5 The king is alive

The King Is Alive movie
Nordisk Film

The fourth Dogme 95 movie is very different from the rest of the action largely because of its setting. The unforgiving Namibian desert serves as the backdrop to this bittersweet supernatural story. The king is alive It follows a group of tourists who run out of fuel, leaving them stranded in the middle of the desert. When the situation gets worse, one man encourages the group to perform King LearAnd, as they go through it, fact and fiction dissolve into one messy affair.

4 Mifune

Mifune 1999 movie

Hope for the Human Condition Although it may not be commonly associated with the Dogme 95 movies, some of the best action pieces are optimistic depictions of people dealing with life’s complex moments, and the opportunity for change that comes with it.

Soren Craig Jacobsen MifuneHe finds Kresten, whose life changed when he was about to make a breakthrough in his career, when his father died. Returning to the farm where he grew up, however, proves to be a life-changing event as he rethinks what his life should be like.

3 Italian for beginners

Italian film for beginners

Although it is clearly stated that Dogme 95 does not accept any genre films, it would be an understatement to describe the amazing Lone Scherfig movie, Italian for beginnersAnd Just a comedy. This heartwarming account of a group of people bonded together through Italian language lessons introduces the complex, humane, and dignified characters who carry the film.

A mixture of dark humor with light tenderness Italian for beginners A unique entry in Dogme Code 95. This is probably the most accessible and popular entry in the movement.

2 fools

Idiots by Lars von Trier

At the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Lars von Trier fools It caused critics to storm and destroy the motion picture just minutes after it was released. This polarizing film follows a group of seemingly anti-bourgeois people set in a society where they try to discover their inner fools, by deconstructing their inner and outer personalities.

Related: The best Lars von Trier movies and shows, ranked

By acting as if they were intellectually disabled, they manage to rediscover happiness, but at the same time seem to escape from their lives. The film serves as a metaphor for the movement’s intent, by making the characters’ refusal to abide by social rules similar to Dogme’s protest against big-budget filmmaking. To this day a controversial work that divides critics and audiences alike.

1 celebration

A scene from the celebration
Nimbus movie

Still, the first Dogme 95 film was his crowning achievement. Premiere parallel to fools At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, Thomas Vinterberg celebration He received a much different reception than the crowds at the festival. The film deals with a 60th birthday celebration that turns into a brutal, tragic affair in which dark family secrets come to light.

celebrationHis gratuitous attack on the European white Danish bourgeoisie and hypocrisy was a breath of fresh air in the world of cinema at the time, and provided a start to what would be a common theme through European filmmaking for the next two decades.

Although it is arguably the best action production, its fame along with the aforementioned von Trier film has been eclipsed by a number of great productions, some of which are on this list, that are well worth your time and are in themselves an uncompromising and groundbreaking approach. towards the film industry.


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