|Grace (Nicole Kidman), a beautiful and mysterious
woman, turns up one day in the remote 1930s Colorado mining
town of Dogville, seeking refuge from pursuing gangsters and
a brutal past. Promising to earn a place in the community
by performing humble chores, she is gradually embraced by
the seemingly virtuous townspeople. However, her pliable nature
soon falls prey to demands that increase in presumptuousness
and, ultimately, depravity. Supplanting gratitude with forgiveness,
Grace is forced to reexamine her moral debt to her fellow
man. The answer, when it comes, is unexpected and terrifying.
Von Trier’s cinematic vision features an ultra-stark
decor, with spatial cues coming from white lines on a black
set; the absence of walls allows the actors (including Lauren
Bacall, James Caan, and Ben Gazzara) to play their scenes
simultaneously. Brechtian theatrical borrowings, division
into literary chapters, voice-overs, shoulder-held cameras,
realistic sound effects: the result is a captivating Dogma
derivative and a disturbing work about evil, punishment, and
the people who call the shots. “Von Trier subverts the
complacent self-image of the United States the way de Tocqueville
once did its democracy, Upton Sinclair the malevolence of
its commerce and John Steinbeck its illusions of community.”—New
York Film Festival. (178 mins.) In English. Print courtesy
of Lions Gate Films.
Selected Filmography: The Element Of Crime (84), Zentropa
(91), The Kingdom (94), Breaking The Waves (96), The Idiots
(98), Dancer In The Dark (00).
SHOWTIME: 2/28, 7pm WH.
|Winner of the Best First Film prize at Cannes
(Camera d’Or) and recently named the International Film
Critic’s Director of the Year, Christoffer Boe’s
debut is a spellbinding meditation on love and chance. The
story centers on four characters whose paths criss-cross over
24 hours in a distinctly noir-like Copenhagen. The beautiful
artist Simone is married to much older novelist August. Photographer
Alex appears happy enough with girlfriend Simone until a seemingly
chance encounter with Aimée. Captivated, he pursues
her, but immediately begins to experience a disturbing disintegration
of reality. We are presented with a number of possibilities
as scenes depicting their meetings are played, replayed and
reconstructed. Lushly cinematic, Reconstruction’s complex
interweaving and replaying of time, place and point of view
is boldly puzzling, yet resolutely poignant. (93 mins.) This
year’s Danish submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
Print courtesy of Palm Pictures.
SHOWTIME: 2/26, 6:45pm
|WILBUR (WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF)
|Scherfig, whose Italian For Beginners was a
highlight of PIFF 25, has once again made an engaging ensemble
dramatic-comedy, this time in English. A bittersweet romance
set in contemporary Glasgow, Wilbur tells the story of two
wildly different brothers who are transformed when love enters
their lives. The elder brother, Harbour, is a congenial second-hand
bookstore owner blessed with a perpetually sunny disposition.
Unfortunately he is cursed with a troublesome younger brother,
Wilbur, who sees clouds wherever Harbour sees silver linings.
After weathering yet another of Wilbur’s botched suicide
attempts, Harbour moves his “wee brother” into
his flat so he can keep an eye on him. He then tries to find
Wilbur a girlfriend, hoping this will cheer him. One prime
candidate is Alice, a lovely single mother who lives nearby
and frequents the store. But as luck would have it, Harbour
falls in love with Alice first. Unfortunately, Wilbur does
too. Inevitably, storm clouds gather, but not before Wilbur
realizes that the life he wanted to end is about to blossom.
Selected Filmography: The Birthday Trip (90), On Our Own (98),
Italian For Beginners (01).
SHOWTIMES: 2/21, 9pm WH
and 2/25, 6:15pm B1.