THE SPIRIT OF DOGMA95 NOA KJAERSGAARD-HANSEN
“THE VOW OF CHASTITY: TEN BULLETINS REPRESENTING THE ALMOST SACRED RULES OF DOGMA95.”
FESTEN | NIMBUS FILM PRODUCTIONS
ONCE UPON A TIME in 1995, four Danish film directors developed a concept called Dogma95. They attempted to make something different, something that would make people open their eyes for the story and the narrative in cinema. In 45 minutes the director collective wrote a manifesto for their movement and within in this The Vow of Chastity was founded. Ten bulletins representing the almost sacred rules of a Dogma95 cinema. Upon a wave of some superficial and commercial decades of filmmaking, in shape of the big and consuming Hollywood-monster, they made the foundation of one of the most minimalistic cinemas seen today. To get your film recognized in the category of Dogma95, you needed not only to use hand-held camera without using any optical filters, but also the lighting and the music had to be diegetic. Except from this there were certain rules for setting and time. Deviations of these stylistic aspects were unacceptable – it had to take place not yesterday or tomorrow, but now. Last but not least, genre was not allowed and the director could not be credited, a vow that most likely had as its purpose to watch the film as a whole, not as an individual in the figure of the film director. So to sum up, we are dealing with a very strict policy within filmmaking whose aim was to minimise the media of the film and instead open up a greater understanding of the plot and the acting. And did it work? Yes, it did. No question marks. Lars Von Trier, especially, gained great success all over the world with The Idiots as a part of the Golden Heart Trilogy that contained the Golden Palm award winning film Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves. The two last aren’t in the category of Dogma95, but both contain elements very similar to The Vows of Chastity. Festen by Thomas Vinterberg also achieved good reviews and was the first of 212 registered Dogma95 films. Not to mention all the other European filmmakers that made use of these restrictions - Spaniard Juan Pinzas being one of the most prominent. And the directors of Dogma95 lived happily ever after. Or did they? Well, now that I have had my chance to celebrate
The University of Kent Film Society's magazine, Issue 7.1: Winter 2010 Comic books, horror, John Hughes...and the Human Centipede...