*NOMINATED FOR BEST FOREIGN FILM*
I have not had a great deal of exposure to Greek cinema, and that may be because most Greek films are funded by the Greek government. This makes it difficult for new and upcoming film makers to get in the door, since most of the funds are dispersed to the older directors. Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the younger generation of film makers in Greece, and with his film Dogtooth, earning Greece an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film after a dry spell of over 40 years, it’s likely we will continue to see more of his work.
Dogtooth is truly a ‘what the…?’ movie, but of the good kind. The concept of this film came from a discussion between Yorgos Lanthimos and some of his friends that were getting married about the institution of family, it then dawned on him the idea of a father that takes extreme measures to protect his family. This is basically what Dogtooth is about, a tyrannical father, a subtly manipulative mother and three fully grown children, who have never left their house! Crazy of what? It’s the influence of the outside that creates the true drama in Dogtooth, this influence comes in the form of a ‘paid servant’ named Christina. Of note here is that no one else in the film is named, they are all nameless.
The performances from all the cast are amazing, and I really can not imagine how difficult and awkward it would have been to act some of the scenes, when you see it, Film Munchers, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Because the themes of this film are so claustrophobic, the director opted for an open spaced house and large garden areas, including a swimming pool, and the style of the film is very bright, although the subject line is really dark. This is clever film making, and it makes the film more watchable.
Education and our educators are responsible for what we become, and what we end up believing, the ‘children’ in this film are educated that cats are ferocious beast, and that zombies are little yellow flowers, and they sternly believe this. This is a beautiful analogy to modern society and our educational systems. Is what we are taught to believe the truth? Or a version of the truth? Dogtooth is a deep and meaningful film, and with its astonishing end, it seems that the director wants us to keep thinking about this film, long after the credits roll, and in all honesty, the film’s pain-staking themes rattled my brain long after I finished watching it. When film is this powerful, then we know we have witnessed art in motion.
With references to Rocky and Jaws, and cleverly timed humour, this dark Greek tragedy is a must see for avid Film Munchers.
TRIVIA COOKIE: Only 5 Greek movies have ever been nominated for Best Foreign Film.