Synopses & Reviews
In 1995, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville
) and three fellow Danish directors swore allegiance to a vow of chastity” aimed at jolting filmmakers around the world who had become stuck in the mire of slick, emotionally manipulative, high-concept, and bombastic movie productions. They named their philosophy Dogme95,” and its tenets demanded a return to the basic core of filmmaking: the use of natural lighting and a hand-held camera, and the refusal to use special effects, a soundtrack of any kind (only natural sounds found on location were acceptable), and movie sets (all shooting was to take place on location).
Like the French New Wave and 1960s American Underground film movements, Dogme had a profound affect on filmmaking around the world, including the sacred cow known as Hollywood.” In part because of the proliferation of relatively inexpensive digital cameras and technology, the movement resonated with young and independent filmmakers, creating a surge in back-to-the-basics, guerilla filmmaking. It also had a profound influence on everything from Hollywood filmmakers to dance choreographers to computer game manufacturers.
The list of films and filmmakers to come out of the Dogme movement reads like a whos who of art-house cinema from the late-1990s and early-2000s: the aforementioned Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration), Harmony Korine (Julien Donkey-Boy), Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners), and Susanne Bier (Open Hearts), among many others.
Dogme Uncut is written by film journalist and historian Jack Stevenson, who, while living in Demark for the past decade, has had a true insiders view of the Dogme movement from its conception to its early triumphs to its current incarnation. With a good deal of humor and fascinating insights, Stevenson brings a mixture of history, analysis, and reportage to bear on the eight-year-old film movement, examining the subject from multiple perspectives. Dogmes debt to previous film waves” is explored, as is the impact Dogme itself has had on current trends in cinema and on todays young filmmakers. Penned in a lively, accessible, and jargon-free style, Dogme Uncut is a richly illustrated survey of the entire Dogme canon that is both entertaining and hugely informative.
“Stevenson presents an uncluttered and jargon-free assessment of an important movement in independent film, making this an excellent choice for foreign film buffs and aficionados.” —Publishers Weekly
“[Stevenson's] overview of Danish society and culture, as well as the country's important filmmakers, producers, cinematographers, and studios, is invaluable for those interested in Copenhagen's hotbed of creativity. On this account, Dogme Uncut
provides terrific contextual background—including the controversial workings and economics of the Danish Film Institute—for understanding the emergence of Dogme . . . . Dogme Uncut
accomplishes a worthwhile task in cataloguing almost every Dogme release and introducing the (often unknown) filmmakers behind them.” —Film Comment
“Still puzzled about the whole Dogme film craze? Want to discover what it's all about? A good place to start is Jack Stevenson's new book Dogme Uncut
. The book provides an in-depth history of the Dogme 95 film movement, while providing coverage of most of its films and filmmakers involved.” —Film Threat Magazine
“An informative book with a direct style that contexualizes the movement within historical and contemporary film production . . . Stevenson provides the facts in Dogme Uncut
, a handheld treasure of the here and now.” —Movie Magazine International
Written with humor and insight, this mixture of history, analysis, and reportage sheds fascinating insider light on the eight-year-old Dogme film movement, examining the subject from multiple perspectives. Covered in detail is Dogme's genesis, when, in 1995, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, acclaimed director of Breaking the Waves
and Dancer in the Dark
, and three fellow Danish directors swore to reject the norm of slick, emotionally manipulative, high-concept, and bombastic movie productions. Explained is the Dogme95 philosophy, which entails a return to basic filmmaking through the use of natural lighting and handheld cameras, and the refusal to use special effects, soundtracks, and movie sets. The films and filmmakers of the Dogme movement are discussed, including Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration
), Harmony Korine (Julien Donkey-Boy
), Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners
), and Susanne Bier (Open Hearts
). Dogme's debt to previous film waves is explored, as is the impact Dogme has had on current trends in cinema and on today's young filmmakers.
A lively, richly illustrative survey of the entire Dogme movie concept.
About the Author
Jack Stevenson has contributed articles about American cult, underground, and exploitation cinema to American film magazines as disparate as Film Quarterly and The Big Reel. He also contributed to many of the leading European film journals, and his texts have been translated into nine languages. He is the author of Lars Von Trier (British Film Institute), and has also written about Dogme for Danish, German, and Czech film journals. Born and raised in upstate New York, today Stevenson resides in Allerød, just north of Copenhagen.