The Name of this Book is Dogme95 Paperback – 20 Nov 2000
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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'
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.