BSA306: Dogme 95

Dogme 95 was a film movement that began in 1995 and ended in 2005. Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg created the movement, writing the “Dogme 95 Manifesto” and “The Vows of Chastity” which detailed the rules of this movement. The key idea behind this movement was to exclude the use of elaborate special effects or technology, which were taking over the film industry at the time, and focus on the traditional values of filmmaking through story, performance and theme. [1] Some of the key characteristics of Dogme 95 films were that they were shot on location, the camera must be handheld, the film must be in colour, and the director must not be credited. [2]

The Museum of Arts and Design celebrated Dogme 95 with their cinema series The Director Must Not Be Credited: 20 Years of Dogme 95. The series featured work from Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Jean-Marc Barr, Daniel H. Byun, Harmony Korine, Kristian Levring, Annette K. Olesen, and Lone Scherfig. [3]

One of the things I look out for in a film is well written (and performed) characters who feel gritty and real, so the idea of the rules in the Dogme 95 movement really interested me. From the glimpses of the Dogme films that I saw in the documentary The Name of This Flim is Dogme 95, stripping back many of the artifices of modern film making seemed to allow, or perhaps force, the actors to give more of themselves to their performances, in turn creating more natural characters. As I am focusing on what can make a film, or story, feel more authentic in my research this year I will now be looking into Dogme 95 and possibly using this movement as an influence in my end of year project.

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