DOGTOOTH is a darkly comic insight into a surreal world of parental control gone mad. Three teenagers are grounded in an alternate world by their overprotective parents, when a female outsider bursts into their bizarre family bubble, with shocking and strangely amusing results.
MOTHER (Michelle Valley) and FATHER (Christos Stergioglou) are so desperate to preserve their children’s innocence that they create a self styled utopia within their secluded compound walls. Completely shut off from the outside world, the now grown up children have their own vocabulary and believe cats to be man eating predators, aeroplanes flying overhead to be toys and small yellow flowers to be zombies. When their father decides to invite his colleague CHRISTINA (Anna Kalaitzidou) in to service the sexual urges of the SON (Christos Passalis) the domestic balance is irrevocably disturbed. It isn’t long before the OLDER DAUGHTER (Aggeliki Papoulia), YOUNGER DAUGHTER (Mary Tsoni) and SON start experimenting with sexuality and violence and the walls of their superficially constructed world of childhood innocence and fantasy come tumbling down.
As shocking and brutal as it is humorous, elegant and entertaining, Dogtooth is a significant piece of bold and inventive cinema.
Giorgos Lanthimos (Greek: Γιώργος Λάνθιμος; born 1973) is a Greek filmmaker and theatre director. He studied film and television direction at Stavrakos Film School in Athens. Since 1995 he has directed feature films, theatre plays, videodance and a large number of TV commercials. He was also a member of the creative team which designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. In 2009, his film Dogtooth won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. –Wikipedia
Many of the issues I have with Haneke are brought to mind here, but what elevate Dogtooth are the moments of sheer joy and levity brought on by something as simple as reciting dialogue from Jaws or Rocky. The world that the Father has created for his family is a fascist re-imagining of bourgeois normality, but there is still hope in Lanthimos's vision that a more powerful image still might puncture this sick façade.
I find it strange to see many are quick to compare Lanthimos' style with that of Haneke's works when Kynodontas so obviously borrows from Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. That being said, and although it manages to pose questions of morality, sexuality, and power, Kynodontas makes for a much less provocative viewing experience.
Giorgos Lanthimos’ followup to Dogtooth suffers from the same problems as his breakthrough.
“It’d be rash to call it a better film than Dogtooth, but it is, in the relative scheme of these things, a bigger one.”
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