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September 29, 2008 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

The Idiots

Truth be told, try as I might, I am not a film wanker. I do not delight in the harsh but oh so tragically beautiful minimalist portrayals of reality. That sentence sounds like it needs more appropriate adjectives so I’ll chuck edgy and raw in there as well. I find all that elitist wankery rather tiresome but I am not a fan of the tits and ass ‘McMovies’ of today either. Sigh…

My film student friend sat me down to watch Lars von Trier’s Dogme Film The Idiots. Dogme is a genre a bunch of Swedish film wankers made up so they could all salivate over their cinematic genius. Edgy! Raw! You can almost feel my eyes rolling right? Wrong! I actually really liked the movie. It gave me the warm fuzzies and was strangely life-affirming. But I did roll my eyes and scoff in agitation every now and then.

The film follows Karen (Bodil Jørgensen), a timid woman who has just lost her son, who escapes from her family into the weird and wonderful world of a very different kind of club. To put it bluntly, she joins a group of people that go out in public and pretend to be retarded. Like really retarded. Can I use the word retarded? It is not very PC but neither is this film. They pretend to mentally retarded to relieve stress and escape from their lives.

There are actually only two noteworthy things about this film, but they are so good they are worth sitting through some pretty mindnumbing elitist bullshit. Karen makes this film. She is so heartwarming and incredibly sad. You just want jump into the screen and give her a big hug and say “everything is gonna be alright!” Her acting is superb and refreshing. I love watching actors who are able to master subtlety. The other good thing about this film is that you get to see some seriously retarded love-making. Hey don’t stop reading; I am not a pervert. Unlike the vomit inducing pretend retarded but very real orgy scene, Jepp (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and Josephine (Louise Mieritz) have one of the most intimate, passionate and bittersweet on screen romps I have ever seen.

There are some pretty unpolished moments in The Idiots such as microphone booms swinging into frame. That is okay as the genre of Dogme is often deliberately unpolished but it might be a little distasteful and unreal for some audiences.

The Idiots is a good film that has some truly beautiful moments but it is a tad self-indulgent and quite cringeworthy as it takes itself a bit too seriously. But persevere: it’s worth it!

Directed by Lars von Trier


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