Saturday, November 22, 2008


I should note (for myself only, at this point) that I find much of the Dogme 95 manifesto to be a ridiculous fetishization of many tenets of the Mariachi Style, which as I said was dictated largely by necessity. A lack of technical polish of any sort--even of the limited means available to low-budget filmmakers--does not make an audience "more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood." It has the opposite effect of drawing attention away from the acting and characters and story to the film's technical poverty. For the musical equivalent, listen to Metallica's St. Anger.

For a literary equivalent,

I think even Beckett and Faulkner would have drawn the line there.

Travis Wilkerson's "Who Killed Cock Robin?", a relatively obscure piece screened at the (now sadly defunct) True West Cinema Festival in 2004, used a similarly extreme lo-fi approach and ruined any good will I might have had. This is significant because I caught his documentary An Injury to One, which was essentially about the same subject (the troubled story of Butte, Montana), and was very sympathetic to the story and idea. But the tinny sound and the nauseating camera distracted from all of that, and I curse it bitterly.

I'm not saying all movies should have the best tech specs (for a fine example of rough camera work put to great use, see Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later). I just think, and I reiterate, that in any endeavor, people should make the best of everything they have available. I know I'm just talking to myself about a disbanded movement, but the point of this blog is not only to tell others what I think, but also to better understand it myself. I don't want my senior project to be ugly. I want it to be valid, at least in my eyes, and to be able to take it places. And though my efforts will be about as effective as a monkey screaming into a hurricane, I'll do my part to oppose unnecessarily ugly art.

Of course, maybe my opinion would change if I actually saw a Dogme 95 film. But, I think the fact that none of the filmmakers could live up to its Vow of Chastity tells me all I need to know.

(edited to fit the literary example in the page frame)

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