celebration300.jpg"How many mentally impaired characters does it take to start a revolution?" Such are the musings of James Christopher, in his excellent Times piece, looking back on ten years of Dogme 95. Critics never had much faith in Lars Von Trier's punch-drunk manifesto, and most were smugly pleased to have been right for a change when the whole endeavor eventually collapsed in a puddle of unwatchably garish dreck. As Christopher notes, what's really infuriating is that the "Vow of Chastity" was so obviously a drunken dare between Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg - an exercise in "penis envy" mistaken for a serious cultural intervention. Of course, three years after the manifesto was signed, Vinterberg won the Cannes Prix du Jury for Festen - perhaps the most over-the-top piece of 'realism' ever filmed - and skeptics were forced to grudgingly (if temporarily) take note. What I wonder is, what happens, in the course of cinema history, to a film like Festen - which sold more tickets in Denmark than Titanic - if we're all in agreement that the ideology that spawned it is bullshit? Does that make Thomas Vinterberg a Leni Riefenstahl for the digital age?
categories Cinematical