Tuesday, March 09, 2004

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma : - )

A breath of cinematic fresh air... Last night, via Netflix, I saw a delightful Danish romantic comedy, Italian For Beginners, where a handful of troubled Danes find solace and a chance at love by taking Italian lessons at their local community center. Not at all cloying, this movie was closer to Veal Marsala than to a box of canolis : - )

It was filmed under the tenets of Dogme 95, the Danish movement that is perhaps the antitode to predictable, vaguely pavolvian Hollywood films with treacly, manipulative music. Dogme is the cinematic "vow of chastity" - this means on location, hand-held camerawork, no flashbacks, no optical filters, no superficial action, and nomusic that does not naturally occur in the scene. The supreme goal is to 'force the truth out of characters and settings.' Founded by Danish filmmakers Lars Von Trier (Pelle The Conqueror) and Thomas Vinterberg (Celebration), Dogme 95 issued certificates (actually, reprimands!) to 32 films from around the world before declaring their mission had been accomplished and closing down. I've seen several acclaimed Dogme-certified films, and highly recommend Celebration, The Idiots, and Mifune, all of which were thoroughly satisfying - click on those links for a plot description.

I am on a new kick: films 90 minutes and under. Suggestions are welcome. Had a great lunch at Cosí today with a charming former colleague who appears to have flown north for the summer : - )

Thomas Hobbs has uncovered more New York gems in 2 years than I've seen in 20! Check out some great photos he took at 'Phun Phactory', a graffiti-art center in Northwestern Queens

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