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The Idiots  [DVD]
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first time I saw this movie I really disliked it, but being a von Trier fan I decided to give it another go. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Ben
Generation X had naturally came to a finish line in the end of 90's. In my opinion two great movies are illustrating the summary of the era - The Fight Club and The Idiots.Published 2 months ago by Ilja
Interesting Found myself wavering between emotions ranging from anger, irritation and compassion. Very funny in places. Definitely worth watchingPublished 6 months ago by Cait