Are any of you fans of Dutch film director Lars von Trier? Did any of you see Dogville? If you saw it, did you like it?
I ask because among my RL friends and acquaintances I'm a minority of one in answering "Yes" to all three questions. So, no surprise that I'll be going alone later today to see Manderlay, the sequel to Dogville, and the second film of von Trier's planned American trilogy. Manderlay opened in New York a week ago, and opened in L.A. yesterday, where it's playing in one theatre for one week only. I've only read three reviews of the film so far, all bad. Dogville was also reviewed poorly for the most part, but with Manderlay the critics don't even seem interested in talking about the merits of the film as a film. Instead, they focus in on what they perceive as von Trier's arrogance in presuming to make films about a country he's never visited. Of course, if the story being told fit in with the way mainstream America likes to remember its past, there'd be difficulty. But von Trier peers under rocks, and the things he finds there and puts in his films aren't pretty to look at. Dogville was a vicious attack on moral hypocrisy as it played out in a small Rocky Mountain town in the early 1930's. Manderlay turns the spotlight on race.
I don't expect to feel good when I walk out of the theatre tonight, but I know I'll have things to think about.