Posted by: nikusjka | January 30, 2011

The Dogtooth review

Dogtooth (2009), Kynodontas

Dogtooth (2009)

“Dogtooth” or “Kynodontas” (“Κυνόδοντας”) came out in 2009, but I got a chance to see it only today. I came across this film, because it is nominated for Oscar as Best Foreign Language Movie 2011 along with “Biutiful” with praised Javier Bardem. (UPD. Finally Oscar went to Danish director Susanne Bier and her movie “In A Better World” (“Hævnen”).)

I want to mention that if you are very sensitive to violence and sex scenes on the screen – don`t watch “Dogtooth”. It`s psychological drama which openly speaks to the viewers. It definitely makes an impression and leaves you thinking “What the hell was that???”. But it is amazing how the director, Yorgos Lanthimos (Γιώργος Λάνθιμος), managed to tell the story using minimum actors, places and fast actions. I was amazed by the operators work, because the shots where so different from what you are normally used to. Even I, as an immature photographer, found the frames very innovative. They capture parts of the bodies, scenes, emotions.. The movements of muscles tell more than a page of text can ever tell you, the touch shows more than people can ever say, unexpected movement shocks more than special effects can ever do.

The “Dogtooth” tells a story about a family that leaves in a house in the countryside surrounded by a huge fence. Parents keep their children, a son and two daughters, imprisoned on this territory and never let them step outside. Father (played by Christos Stergioglou) is the only one who goes out. He works on the factory nearby. Only person from outside allowed to come to the house is his colleague Christina. Father pays her to have sex with his son to relieve his male urges and later on she involves elder daughter in oral sex with her.

All day kids read, make exercises and learn new vocabulary from the home-made audio tapes. Many words that they are never suppose to see or know have twisted definitions. For example, “salt” in the house is called “telephone”, “sea” is a large arm-chair and “cunt” is a lamp. Parents created a whole new world in that house and pretend that this situation is normal. Children know that cleaning a carpet protects from bacteria, how to test the stomachache, how to perform the first-aid etc. They know all those kinds of things from books they have read, but they mostly act like a mixture of 5-year-olds with robots. They are smart individuals limited from outer influences by the fence. Kids kill a cat, because they are told that cats are the most dangerous animals out there. How much more sad it can get?

By the parents rules children will be allowed to leave the house only when their dogtooth falls out, because than an individual “is ready to face the world”, as they say.

I won`t tell the plot further, but it`s a shocking movie. It already managed to gather an impressive international collection of cinema awards. It won the “Un Certain Regard” at the “2009 Cannes Film Festival”, was noted by critics at Dublin International Film Festival, received prized at Stockholm International Film Festival, Montreal Festival of New Cinema, Sarajevo Film Festival and more.

I`d definitely like this movie to be noted by the global audience at the 83rd Academy Awards this year.

Advice: get a serious mood, gather your nerves together, prepare a friend to discuss this movie afterwords and WATCH!

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