"Dogtooth" - "Κυνόδοντας"

"Dogtooth" is a film with such an original script that I could never even suspect that could be. After it ended, it let a bizarre sense of bitterness, as well as a feeling of optimism because of the consciousness about the world we live in that emerges from the film and is produced to the viewers.

For the first time I attempted to read the reviews after I watched the film, and that is because I hoped for speculations about what happened next. I always enjoy to see what other people think of the meaning of such ambiguous films. I didn't make any speculations of the post-film lives of the protagonists, but instead I read speculations about the meaning of the film.

So, "what did Lanthimos want to say by making this film?" First, I find nonsense the reviews that characterize it as comedy, even black comedy. "Dogtooth" is NOT a comedy. There is an inner agony from the beginning to the end. It certainly does not talk about the economical/political situation of Greece, as the movie was finished long before the first evidence of this situation came out. I believe it is even immature to say that the film represents just a metaphor for totalitarian regimes. Or, at least, not only.

"Dogtooth" reminded me very tough of "Dogville". Not sure why though, maybe it's just the sense of absurdity that it leaves behind. Maybe the camera handling. The acting seemed to me bad in the beginning, but as the plot progressed, everything was clear. No wo/man, having been brought up in such circumstances, could facially and behaviorally express him/her-self in a way that a western audience would think of as natural.

So, "what did Lanthimos want to say by making this film?" It is a metaphor about the results of authoritarianism on the evolution of a person. Authoritarianism in terms of applying violence, in terms of constraining the sexual needs and acts, in terms of borderlines that must not be crossed. We see that the children (funny, every reviewer -- including me -- calls them children, but all of them are adults, even if they are dressed up like babbies, in pale-colored outfits).

And the biggest nightmare of all: Authority wants us to feel that they set rules and laws supposedly to protect us, so they install the fear to the people so that they don't cross the borders -- be it country frontiers ("the enemy waits in the frontiers to kill you"), be it sexual liberties (e.g. "AIDS is waiting for you if you have unprotected sex"), be it social class limitations ("you cannot go out with a midget, a gipsy, an immigrant, or fall in love with a person of the same sex as you"), be it...

The way that the parents disorient the children reminded me of two of my favorite books: "1984" by Orwell, and "Brave new world" by Aldus Huxley. That is, not only because the parents teach them wrong meanings of words that come of origins external to the only world that they know of i.e. their house and high-walled garden, but also because of the fact that although the children are prevented of doing or asking something something, everything is presented as NOT what it really is. And this, in a way that more fear for the unknown is felt, so that noone is expressed outerly of the limits that the parents have set.


Anonym hat gesagt…

You write you have read some reviews, I don't know if you've seen this one, which I found quite interesting:

It is interesting that the younger of the sisters, Marry Tsoni in real life, is not only an actor but also a well known avant garde singer in Greece. E.g.

desprh hat gesagt…

Thanks, I had not seen this review. It's very interesting, and it seems that it's the only one that stresses so much the same point as I do: That Kynodontas is a film that talks about authoritarianism and its techniques to take over the existence.

I also had not known of the doings of one of the protagonists, Mary Tsoni. Thank you for the info.

Anonym hat gesagt…

I really like your blog and i really appreciate the excellent quality content you are posting here for free for your online readers. thanks peace claudia.