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The Idiots [1999] [DVD]

Bodil Jørgensen , Jens Albinus , Lars von Trier    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: £7.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Idiots [1999] [DVD] + Dancer In The Dark [DVD] [2000] + Dogville [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing, Troels Lyby, Nikolaj Lie Kaas
  • Directors: Lars von Trier
  • Writers: Lars von Trier
  • Producers: Dag Alveberg, Erik Schut, Marianne Slot, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, Peter van Vogelpoel
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Danish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Sep 2000
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y3OQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,972 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The second of the controversial Dogma 95 films. Set in present-day Denmark, it begins with a chance encounter between the timid Karen and a group of drop-outs engaged in a strange, informal experiment where they pretend to be mentally disabled. Initially shocked, Karen finds herself compelled to stay and eventually joins them in the experiment. However, as the group's acts of 'idiocy' grow more extreme, and the reality of the outside world becomes more intrusive, the border between liberation and self-destruction begins to blur.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love-it-or-hate-it 7 May 2011
Never one to shy from a bit of controversy, Danish director Lars Von Trier caused a storm in 1998 with The Idiots. Since then, he has started making American movies that seem almost misogynistic in it's attitudes to women. His films put their female protagonist through horrifying and gruelling psychological and physical abuse. But the controversy stirred up by The Idiots wasn't because of its portrayal of women, but its apparently sadistic mockery of the mentally disabled.

The film follows a bunch of young men and women, living together in a large house owned by the uncle of Stoffer (Jens Albinus), who spend their time pretending to be mentally ill and finding their 'inner idiot'. They pick up an apparently lost woman Karen (Bodil Jorgensen) at a restaurant and she joins them, equally fascinated and repulsed by their acts. As Karen searches for her inner idiot, the group continue to 'spas' (Danish equivalent of 'spaz') at various locations, seemingly for their own amusement. Stoffer is meant to be selling the house for his uncle, but since the group has settled their, he uses the group as a means to scare away any potential buyers. However, tensions start to develop in the group, mainly due to the increasingly aggressive and unpredictable behaviour of the unstable Stoffer.

It's difficult to work out who exactly Von Trier is poking fun at. It could be the group themselves, who claim to be anti-bourgeois and anti-middle class, yet seem to only use this claim when it frees them from responsibility. A member of the group, who has run away from his wife and his child, thinks about returning, only to describe the thought of pushing his child around in a pram as 'so middle class'. Or the film could be making fun of society's attitudes to the mentally disabled.
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74 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wading Through the Hype 14 Nov 2002
It is a shame that more publicity has been made about the Dogma 95 experiment than about the products they rendered. So try looking beyond the Dogma stamp. The Idiots is an amazing film built upon a complex story and reveals elements of the human condition rarely revealed on the big screen. Von Trier is an expert at creating shocking cinema. Not only is it shocking because it is filmed differently than almost any other film you've seen, but it is also shocking because it is filled with nudity, vulgarity and controversial themes. It makes fun of mentally retarded adults under the guise of a serious social experiment. It has violent fights, an orgy scene... Despite all this, try looking beyond the shocking elements. What you will find beyond all the things that many critics chose not to look past is an emotionally powerful portrayal of a group of individuals searching for a way in which to view their identity in a way that is devoid of all social artifices. It is a story of a people trying to actively live out an idea that there is something essential about their being which can be reached through an extreme modification of their behaviour. It becomes increasingly clear throughout the narrative that these people are running away from who they are rather than finding something essential. The emotional tension that is being withheld slowly rises to the surface and culminates in one of the most devastating scenes I've ever witnessed. It is moving not just because it deals with death, but because it illuminates in an exaggerated fashion the way in which people in society today hide from themselves and subsequently reveal themselves to be frail and insecure. Of course, all of the elements that go into making this such a shocking film are inextricably incorporated into the emotional power created. You need to watch this film while withholding moral judgements and consider the issues that are being so skilfully portrayed in a way no other director was able to do before Dogma 95.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dare to laugh 12 Oct 2009
It's easy to confuse the adjectives "controversial" and "thought-provoking". The difference is that the former is a concept manufactured by the media and the latter is the raison d'etre of film-makers like Lars von Trier. Ostensibly this is a film about a group of people pretending to have cerebral palsy. But obviously that's not what it's really about; and I think that only those without the inclination to seek one of many possible meanings would label it "controversial" on this basis. It's classic knee-jerk.

The Idiots is a challenging indictment of middle-class hypocrisies and an enthralling deconstruction of the bohemian ideal.

Early in the film the question keeps being asked: Why is what we're doing wrong? "Because you're poking fun." But who really comes out of the narrative looking idiotic? The stuttering patio-owner, fearful of a potential insurance claim? Josephine's father, who tears his weeping daughter away from her friends? Rarely it's The Idiots themselves, whose motivations are subtly sketched out as Stoffer's commune collapses around him.

Stoffer himself is "anti-middle-class", suggesting he's simply afraid of growing up. There's the doctor, constantly writing notes, who may be treating the whole affair as some kind of social experiment. There's the marketing man, using the commune as an escape from the superficiality of his truly idiotic occupation. And there's Karen, our silent observer, whose own reasons for falling in love with The Idiots comes to flatten us in the final reel. This leads to a gripe: certain characters remain nothing MORE than sketches. I would have liked to see von Trier eschew some of the social confrontation scenes in favour of further narrative episodes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely hypocritical post traumatic stress syndrome
At first sight the film is plain idiotic. But there must be a second sight. The second sight is the manifesto behind the film I say the manifesto but certainly not the project... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Jacques COULARDEAU
3.0 out of 5 stars Undecided!
Strangley disturbing film. Quite unreal. Couldn't quite get to grips with it. Yet I couldn't stop watching those strange characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William Hole
3.0 out of 5 stars A bold (if somewhat tongue-in-cheek) cinematic experiment, poor DVD
This might be enfant terrible Lars von Trier's little joke at the expense of art-house cinéastes: make a film with deliberately offensive subject matter (a group of adults... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Anorakus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film but not for the faint hearted
Great film but not for the faint hearted. It has some scenes that are choking and some very explicit scenes.
Published 16 months ago by MRC
5.0 out of 5 stars See Saw Hilarity
Hand held auteur creates one, if not the, most bitterest pills composed of satire(s) of middle class angst wringing, focusing on mental health (dis)ability ever undertaken. Read more
Published on 16 July 2012 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
1.0 out of 5 stars Idiotic
For many a month I have been waiting to see Lars von Trier's Dogme 95 debut feature `The Idiots'. For me, von Trier has been responsible for some of the most intelligent, thought... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2010 by Mr. D. Gumble
1.0 out of 5 stars emperors new clothes
I read a review of this dvd in a magazine, then the reviews on amazon, and thought it sounded interesting. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2010 by smallman
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
In my opinion, Trier is a ground breaking director. The Idiots is a touching and original movie.
Published on 30 July 2009 by E. Paldam
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews!
Another impressive outing for Von Trier, and again one surrounded by controversy. The plot about a group of people acting like they are mentally retarded for various reasons is... Read more
Published on 15 Dec 2007 by carlosnightman
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and unique
This was the second film made according to the 10 "Vows of Chastity" of the Dogme 95 manifesto, penned by von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg (who directed the first Dogme film,... Read more
Published on 16 April 2006 by David Welsh
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