SXSW Presents: DOGTOOTH - Tuesday 9/7 and Wednesday 9/8 at 7pm, and Sunday 9/12 @10:15pm - @Ritz Advance tickets available here
The Cannes Film Festival, arguably the world's fanciest film festival, awards the Prize Un Certain Regard every year to a film they find innovative, daring, and different, promising a bright future for a new filmmaker with fresh vision. Last year, that prize went to a Greek satire titled KYONDONTAS, or in English - DOGTOOTH.
DOGTOOTH is a dreamy film, brilliantly directed and acted, and unfolding a story so bizarre and creepy that it'll scare you. The parents of a pack of young people intentionally shelter their offspring from the outside world, forbidding them from leaving their home with lies and the threat of danger. So deep is their shielded life that even vocabulary is changed to continue the illusion of isolation (“Zombie” is a yellow flower, “Pussy” a big light, “Telephone” a salt shaker). This project of ignorance seems like a deranged social experiment, but plays as a profound indictment against civilization and its need to condemn itself.
This seemingly bleak scenario is full of the stuff that makes cinema great: the attention to detail in the script and the performances are astounding, the direction and camerawork gorgeous, and the psycho-sexual ideas behind the film (and it cannot be ignored that this is a deeply sexual film) are as poignant as they are socially/politically critical.
The film inspires endless interpretations and discussions, and its perplexing scenario opens up more and more as it moves around in your brain. A.O. Scott of the New York Times calls the film a Conversation Piece: "Are mom and dad conducting some kind of perverse behaviorist experiment? Are they determined to shelter the younger generation in a world gone mad?...“Dogtooth” supplies no such explanation and at times seems as much an exercise in perversity as an examination of it. Mr. Lanthimos’s ends may be obscure, but his means can be seductive."
Karina Longworth of the Village Voice calls the film "hyperrealist sci-fi detailing an (anti)social experiment gone awry," and Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe warns, "Nothing in this weird, watchable, blasé black comedy from Greece stays innocent for long."
Director Yorgos Lanthimos is a new filmmaker, but he is already a master. Roger Ebert expresses his take on the style brilliantly: "Lanthimos tells his story with complete command of visuals and performances. His cinematography is like a series of family photographs of a family with something wrong with it. His dialogue sounds composed entirely of sentences memorized from tourist phrase books."
This is my favorite film of the year, hands down. If that means anything, you need to get to the Ritz next week to see DOGTOOTH as many times as possible. Bring your overprotective parents, your sheltered children, and all of your Greek friends.
Get your tickets for this great show now.