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film

Lars von Trier’s Dogville

THE DOGME 95 “Vow of Chastity” notwithstanding, purity isn’t high on Lars von Trier’s agenda. Dogme’s refusal of certain resources and techniques is aimed less at establishing a “pure” filmic practice than at stimulating greater awareness and more conscious use of conventions. Strict rules can be liberating rather than oppressive, so long as they haven’t hardened into multiplex clichés. Although his new feature, Dogville, isn’t a Dogme film, von Trier has nevertheless imposed strict constraints on himself, shooting entirely on a soundstage. The set consists mainly of outlines and blueprints painted on the studio floor, with a few pieces of furniture, a car, a shopwindow, and a church spire suspended in midair. Dogville is blatantly virtual.

Into this disembodied shadow of a poor 1930s Rocky Mountain village bursts Grace (Nicole Kidman), who is on the run from gangsters. Tom Edison (Paul

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