This month, Ritzy Cinema in Brixton will be showing key films of the Dogme 95 movement, conceived by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Their manifesto, to focus on narrative and performance, and to reject post-production techniques and effects, resonated throughout arthouse cinema throughout the late ’90s, and created a platform for some of Scandinavian cinema’s most enduring figures.
The season kicks off with a double bill of Lars von Trier’s typically controversial The Idiots, in which a group of people gather together to engage in play-acting various mental instabilities, and one of the few US-made Dogme 95 films, Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy, starring Ewen Bremner as a schizophrenic young man living in a deeply dysfunctional family. The screening will be introduced by Richard T Kelly, author of The Name of this Book is Dogme 95.
Whilst Lars von Trier and Harmony Korine are, by now, long-established enfant terribles of cinema, the Dogme 95 movement also provided an opportunity to showcase the work of those directors who went on to achieve considerable success elsewhere using more conventional film-making techniques. Lone Sherfig’s first cinematic feature, romantic comedy Italian for Beginners, is also showing, as is Susanne Bier’s Open Hearts, both films subscribing to the Dogme 95 manifesto prior to the international success of An Education and the Oscar-winning In A Better World. The season closes with the first of the Dogme 95 films, and perhaps its most well-known, Festen, Thomas Vinterberg’s story of familial abuse revealed over a bourgeois dinner party. Vinterberg’s most recent film, The Hunt, is also due out in cinemas this month, but this, and his fellow Dogme companions provide a wintry substitute to the familiar holiday schmaltz just around the corner.
Ritzy Cinema’s Dogme 95 season runs from 25 to 29 November and tickets can be bought from the cinema’s website.