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The Name of this Book is Dogme95 [Kindle Edition]

Richard T. Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

A spectre is haunting world cinema - the spectre of a Danish 'new wave' led by mercurial director Lars Von Trier. In 1995, when Von Trier and three comrades issued a 10-point 'Vow of Chastity' for the making of simpler, more truthful movies, cynics in the film business refused to take it seriously. Five years on, the international success of the raw, uncompromising 'Dogme95' films - Festen, The Idiots, Mifune, The King is Alive - has fired a volley of shots across the bows of a staid and bloated industry. Richard Kelly's investigation of the Dogme95 movement is a piece of 'gonzo journalism' in which Kelly sallies forth in search of the Dogme brothers and their accomplices, seeking to hammer out the truth from the lies in this austere and anarchic piece of cinematic mischief.

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Amazon Review

In March 1995, Danish director Lars von Trier--world famous after the success of Breaking The Waves--took part in a discussion on the centenary of cinema. He used the occasion to introduce the public to Dogme95, a manifesto for a new wave of film making. The leaflets which von Trier threw to the audience outlined the 10-point Vow of Chastity which the four-strong Dogme Brotherhood were required to sign. Influenced by the French New Wave, Dogme promised "a rescue action" for cinema, dispensing with studio lighting, insisting on hand-held cameras, and removing directors' names from the credits.

But was it all an elaborate joke, or a clever marketing ploy? After all, this was not von Trier's first published manifesto, and he later admitted that writing the 10 rules "took half an hour and was a great laugh". However, from the moment the first two Dogme films--von Trier's The Idiots and Thomas Vinterberg's Festen--were screened to great acclaim at Cannes, critics were forced to pay attention. Since then, the Dogme rules have not only been invoked by other Danish directors, but by film-makers around the world, most notably American director Harmony Korine in Julien Donkey Boy.

In The Name of this Book, Richard Kelly reports on the making of a television documentary on the Dogme95 phenomenon. He interviews all the key figures of the movement, including directors, producers and actors. The result is impressive--a book which refutes the charge that Dogme is simply a prank aimed at increasing box-office revenue. While von Trier certainly has a penchant for irony, his insistence that "it's not interesting if you don't take it seriously" seems genuine. The Brothers are not suggesting that all films should follow the Dogme rules--they merely wished to try making one or more films each under the restrictions. Many of the interviewees see Dogme in a political light, as a reaction against the dominance of Hollywood and its slick visual style; all of them agree with the producer of Festen and Mifune that "the idea is simply to gain creativity through self-imposition". Offering a glimpse of this creative ferment, Kelly's book is both informative and amusing, weighing up the success of Dogme95 and considering its potential as an international avant garde. --John Oates


Extremely illuminating... Often hilarious... If you want to know more about Dogme then this is the best place yet. -- Total Film

Serious students of cinema will enjoy Richard Kelly's investigation... It is a lot more fun than Festen.' -- Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard, 'Film Books of the Year'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1808 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Film; Main edition (5 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089NY45M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #865,490 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Richard T. Kelly is the author of two novels, Crusaders (2008), hailed by the Financial Times as 'a magnificent state-of-the-nation epic' and The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (2011). Previously he authored three acclaimed 'oral history' books on film and film-makers: Alan Clarke (1998), The Name of This Book is Dogme 95 (2000), and the authorised biography Sean Penn: His Life and Times (2004). He has also edited Ten Bad Dates With De Niro: A Book of Alternative Film Lists (2007). Richard was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1970, and grew up in Northern Ireland. In 2000 he wrote and presented the Channel 4 documentary The Name of This Film is Dogme 95 and in 2010 Channel 4 also broadcast his first screenplay for television, Eclipse. He is a contributing editor for Esquire magazine and has written for a great range of newspapers and magazines.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first book about Dogme 95. 3 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
The Name of This Book Is Dogme95 is the first book I have found about the Dogme 95 movement. It is not a classical film book, but more a reportage and compilation of interviews that author Richard Kelly did with the people involved in the movement. In the book you'll find interviews with the four 'Dogme Brothers', cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, some of the actors in the films, some producers, as well as Jean-Marc Barr and Harmony Korine. The book is also a journey following Dogme 95 from when the danish Dogme films Festen and the Idiots took the 1998 Cannes festival with storm, up until today when Dogme films are being made all over the world. As a film student writing on a dissertation about Dogme 95 I found the book very useful. In the interviews you find everything from the technical facts, to the thoughts behind it all, and what they gained by making films following the rules of the Dogme 95 manifesto.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply tells you all you need to know about Dogme95 10 Jan. 2005
By dragonness - Published on
I disagree with the reviewer below who criticises the book for not exploring more thoroughly the impact of Dogme95 on digital film-making - while Dogme production so far proves that DV is a perfectly viable way to make films, that's not what it set out to do. The authors of Dogme95 themselves have repeatedly said that this wasn't about digital video at all. The book clarifies that Trier's and Vinterberg's initial motivation for the Manifesto was to prohibit all those things that make Hollywood untruthful, unrealistic and annoying. It also confirms that the Dogme rules were set to be broken, to encourage other filmmakers to create rules of their own, and to generally revive what Hollywood has turned into a technology-led industry where the director and writer hardly have a say any more. The fact that the Dogme rules require a greater immediacy in the approach to making a film naturally led the directors to use DV, to 'shoot from the hip', but that was a side-effect of the movemenet and not its objective.

I actually like the simple, interview-style approach Kelly has to the material. There's been so much hype around this movement, so much misunderstanding, that the best way to explain it is not to try to explain it, but to let its authors say it in their own words.

Kelly maintains respect for his subject while not taking himself too seriously: the book is a quick and easy read, sprinkled with self-deprecating Brit humour.

I would just encourage readers to see the movies first as there are necessarily quite a few spoilers in the book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The results of Richard Kelly's journalistic inquiry 9 Aug. 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Richard Kelly decided to research the Dogme95 movement launched in March 1995 by Danish director Lars von Trier and three of his friends as part of a "new wave" of avant-garde film of simpler, more truthful, and less boring movies. But with the emergence of such Dogme95 films as Festen, The Idiots, Mifune, and The King is Alive, Danish cinema was galvanized, energized and engaged in a show of solidarity against the Hollywood mainstream. The results of Richard Kelly's journalistic inquiry is now published, available, and highly recommended to film students, movie critics, cultural historians, film school reference libraries, and the non-specialist general reader as The Name Of This Book Is Dogme95.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not well researched 14 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
There doesn't seem to be any voice to the author. This book is like a college term paper on DOGME--I give it a C. The book reads like a collection of magazine articles or an unauthorized biography. We have seen most of this material covered in indie filmmaker magazines countless times before. Dogme is a niche component of a larger digital film movement that is sweeping cinema and threatening celluloid. I would have appreciated more discussion of the impact and influence of dogme on the current mavericks of digital filmmakers that are arising and gaining respect. Digital filmmaking has greatly impacted the short film industry. Where does dogme and short film co-exist
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