It is 1933, and after leaving Dogville, Grace, her father, and his army of villains head south. They happen to stop in front of an iron gate in Alabama and a panicked young black woman runs up to the car. Ignoring her father’s advice to stay out of other people’s affairs, Grace follows her through the gate and into Manderlay – a plantation where a group of people are living as if slavery hadn’t been abolished 70 years earlier and white masters rule black slaves. Grace finds it her duty to liberate Manderlay and stay to see them through their first harvest. Left alone with four henchmen and her father’s lawyer, Grace enters a world that is even stranger than it seems. —IFC Films
Manderlay lay on a lonely plain somewhere in the deep south of the USA. It was in the year of 1933 that Grace and her father had left the township of Dogville behind them. Grace’s father and his army of villains had spent the entire winter seeking out new hunting grounds in vain, and now they were heading south in one last attempt to find a favourable location in which to take up residence.
By chance their cars stop in the state of Alabama in front of a large iron gate bearing a thick chain and a padlock. Beside the gate, a dead oak tree towers over a heavy boulder with Manderlay hewn in monumental letters into the granite.
Just as Grace, her father and his men are about to leave after a short break and a quick lunch, a young black woman runs up to the car. She knocks on Grace’s window. She hammers at the glass in despair.
Ignoring her father’s advice to leave others to their own affairs, Grace follows the girl through the gates of Manderlay and there, she finds a group of people living as if slavery had not been abolished seventy years earlier, with white masters and black slaves…
Grace believes that she has a duty to make it up to the slaves for injustices they have suffered at the hands of her kind: ‘we brought them here, we abused them and made them what they are’, as she argues to her father; and she decides that having liberated Manderlay, she will remain at the plantation until she has seen them through their first harvest. Her father grudgingly leaves her with four henchmen and a lawyer, warning Grace that he won’t be there to pick up the pieces when her plans for the resurrection of Manderlay fall apart… –Cannes Film Festival
With a back-story (almost) as singular as his films, Danish director Lars von Trier was one of the most exceptional filmmakers to burst onto the international film scene in the 1990s. Unapologetically confident in his artistry and an unabashed provocateur, von Trier could kick up a fuss about his behavior, but his stylistic brio, extreme narratives, and ability with actors prevented such films as Zentropa (1991), The Kingdom (1994), Breaking the Waves (1996), and Dancer in the Dark (2000) from being eclipsed by their creator. Even as he openly sought a larger audience by making films in English, von Trier’s success helped resurrect Scandinavian cinema’s international prominence; his intense fear of flying ensured he’d never “go Hollywood.”
Raised by his radical, nudist Communist parents in an unconventional environment where, as von Trier once put it, everything was permitted except “feelings, religion and enjoyment,” von Trier blossomed into a neurotic, left-wing, movie-loving… read more
As a sequel to Dogville, it's a failure. The Grace character from the previous film is unrecognizable not just because she's portrayed by a different actress but as written in context to the previous film. This would have worked better as a standalone film cause there's a lot to recommend in this dark un-pc film. Seeing it long after I saw Dogville helped in judging it on its own merits.