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Idioterne: Woman as a Proponent of Real Politics

  • Ahmed Elbeshlawy
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Abstract

Chapter  3 argues that even though von Trier’s Idioterne, as the purest example of the Dogma 95 movement, has been discussed by many writers in terms of its politics and subversion of Hollywood’s cinematic techniques, much less attention is given to the fact that it is as much a film about a woman in mourning and, precisely because of its unprecedented and unrepeated abandonment of the normal, fictional or traditional ways of filmmaking, it can be considered von Trier’s most mournful film. That is to say: it mourns Dogma 95 as a lost object of love at the very moment of its birth. The attention given to the unusual pioneering stylistics of the film as a political message communicated through form seems to have overshadowed the politics of its content, which, literally, seems to mourn the stylistic project of Dogma 95 at the moment it is introduced in cinematic history, since it seems to anticipate its own failure as a political project with the aim of freeing filmmaking from control and calculation. The chapter, therefore, argues that Idioterne is a film which perceives itself fundamentally as a lost cause, and only one thing in it stands in defense of that lost cause; the heroine’s final act of spassing—an act which marks the end of her own work of mourning over her lost child. Her spassing is a final act of identification, a crescendo that precedes the freedom and un-inhibition of her ego as she leaves her family house. It is also an act that stands in defense of the lost cause Idioterne presents as well as the lost cause the film itself is.

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Filmography

  1. Antichrist. Directed and written by Lars von Trier. Irvington, NY: Criterion Collection, 2010.Google Scholar
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  3. Dancer in the Dark. Directed and written by Lars von Trier. Montréal, Québec: Alliance Atlantis, 2007.Google Scholar
  4. Dogma 2: Idioterne (Dogma 2: The Idiots). Directed and written by Lars von Trier. Toronto: Alliance Atlantis, 2004.Google Scholar
  5. Dogville. Directed and written by Lars von Trier. Hong Kong: Edko Films Ltd., 2005.Google Scholar
  6. Melancholia. Directed and written by Lars von Trier. Hong Kong: Edko Films Ltd., 2011.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Elbeshlawy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Professional and Continuing EducationHong Kong UniversityHong KongHong Kong

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