Thanks for not giving up on me, RWP3. I must admit that it´s hard for me to find any sense behind this statement by LvT, and I would even go so far to say that one should rather let the film speak for itself, instead of assuming that the director is a) completely aware of the (unconscious) concerns he expresses, and b) completely honest about his disgust of humans in general. I´m really wondering what LvT wanted his public to believe when he stated that one should kill “for the sake of humanity”. After being abused by the village folk, Grace and her father decide that these “inhuman” human beings need to get eliminated. But do they really have the right to judge others, or do they just have the power? The film´s conclusion fails to deliver any coherent message, and I see no justification for those who arrive in the village to murder the inhabitants. Is this the only way to deal with the weakness of the human psyche that demonstrates itself after a beautiful young woman has arrived in the village, and makes normal people (not villains) act immorally. Shouldn´t they be taught moral values? How can certain individuals (gangsters in this case, not those on the side of the law) be regarded as superior with have the right to decide if others deserve to die? Those who arrive and have “the power” as LvT states, to “put it to rights”, do they really differ that much from the Nazis who arrived in Poland and left behind destruction? There doesn´t exist a duty that permits people to kill others, and anyone searching for a way to justify this doesn´t understand the term “humanity”. It certainly doesn´t mean to deny certain individuals the right to live for the sake of others, but to feel compassion and forgiveness towards the wrongs human beings are doing. The act of revenge is inhuman in itself, and if LvT has proven anything with the statement you cited, than it is that he doesn´t understand what his own films are actually about.
@ Doinel:a moral imperative but to think it is uniquely American is nothing but stupidity
Where did anyone say anything about it being unique?
There doesn´t exist a duty that permits people to kill others, and anyone searching for a way to justify this doesn´t understand the term “humanity”.
What does this say about the C.I.A. and Blackwater (considered “family” by the C.I.A.) and their claims of moral superiority in Afghanistan? What does this say about the NY Times having no apparent moral problem with the US operating “paramilitary” squads of spies and mercenaries carrying out “extrajudicial assassinations” — or “murders,” as they once would have been called — in foreign lands occupied by American military forces slaughtering civilians on a regular basis.
What does this say about the context in which Obama placed the destruction of the C.I.A. base in Khost by a native whom the C.I.A. was attempting to groom as an asset?
“The United States would not be able to maintain the freedom and security that we cherish without decades of service from the dedicated men and women of the CIA.”
Obama, genius constitutional lawyer that we are assured he is, can only make that statement if he is willing to overlook the years of constitutional subversion, crimes, and atrocities committed by the agency on behalf of the preservation of The American Way Of Life. Or, if he is comfortable groveling before this institutionalized apparatus of renegade warfare. In other words, if he is comfortable groveling before power. Before empire.
I don’t mean to derail this thread, but all recent comments above have moved this discussion ever-closer to the reality of the present moment and the conduct of this nation in the world.
I haven’t seen enough of LvT’s films in the 2000s, so I can’t really comment. But of the films I have seen (including Breaking the Waves, Dogville, Dancer in the Dark, and Manderlay), I wouldn’t call these films misogynistic. These films are not about the hatred of women, nor do they advocate for the hatred of women. In Breaking the Waves, Bess is a Christ-figure—someone who takes on the suffering to save someone else. In Dogville, Grace (hint-hint) seems to be a Christ-figure as well—although in this case it is the Christ of the Apocalypse. (My memory of Dancer in the Dark and Manderlay are a bit hazy, so I can’t comment. In any event, I didn’t see those films as espousing misogyny.
I think Mike Spence brings up a legitimate point: if the lead characters in these films were men, would people descry the film for hatred of men? Someone I don’t think so.
To me the problem with Dogville and Manderlay is not the misogyny, but the fact that it seems muddled. Both films has all sorts of references to America—the politics of conservatism and liberalism; capitalist versus religious values; imperialism, etc. But these ideas feel fragmented, versus coming together in some meaningful whole. Then again, a part of me would like to see the third film to see how it wraps up the whole trlolgy. Maybe each of the films’ meaning will become clearer for me.
Tell us what you would do with the giant mess (empire) we are in.
Keep it simple and small, start with Europe.
What does filmmaker of the decade mean? Are there filmmakers of previous decades? Is this discussion backed up by similar discussions in, for instance, film critic awards, award shows, other directors’ statements, or any other quoteunquote “authority” or “professional” statement? What are we basing these discussions on? Since I was not involved in film and film culture in the year 2000, were these same discussions happening back then? Before the Internet, were these debates happening in other media? Are there articles dealing with “the filmmaker of the decade” from previous decades that I could peruse?
I ask specifically in the interest of finding out how we’re supposed to base our evaluations. The argument for Soderbergh and von Trier are decent arguments in the sense of output, quality, and formal considerations, but is that what we’re looking for or is it something else? If it just simply comes down to “Who made the best film of the decade”, my vote goes to Aronofsky, even though I wouldn’t call him the best filmmaker of the decade. If it’s about quantity of output combined with versatility, dudes—Takashi Miike. If it’s about best quality, it could easily be Steve McQueen because indeed, all movies he made are apparently really good (‘cause he made just one, y’know). If it’s someone who had his best decade, despite previously not as good decades, it could be Clint Eastwood. If it’s someone who only appeared this decade, it could be Kelly Reinhart. If it’s somebody who one the most awards….
Define the rules and this debate will go somewhere.
Of much greater interest to me is the loop of self-perpetuating violence that has been created entirely by this so-called “War On Terror”, which is no real campaign, after all, yet some wish to designate it a “crusade” for all the reasons that designation is useful. What it is is a system. A system designed to make war and to continue to do so by self-perpetuation. Earlier this morning I listened as a flunkie for The Council On Foreign Relations essentially copped to that, describing this “war” as not being predicated upon chronology, geography and beyond financial and moral restraints. Thus, the purpose of this system is not to defeat terrorism, but to perpetuate war. Untold amounts of money and power are being accrued by those in position to reap these rewards. Those who serve this system. Remember when Dick Cheney was told that the majority of Americans were against the Invasion of Iraq, and he responded by saying, “It doesn’t matter”? Those perceptions and desires are not allowed to penetrate, alter or dissuade this system. Obama is just one more custodian along the way.
If we cannot imagine alternatives to this system- to all present systems, military, financial, religious, what difference does it make what Europe does or what the US does, the outcome will forever remain the same. We will be at war. Endlessly.
Before man was, war waited for him. Cormac McCarthy
yeah, that would be like work and ultimately the real question is: what does it matter?
Or a better question: what does consensus tell us?
KJ I’m with you on getting out of the empire biz – all empires end badly.
Empires also create massive amounts of wealth.
How do you do it? how do you stop without massive amounts of uncertainty & job loss?
That’s the question entirely. I believe it was Fredric Jameson who said it was easier to imagine the end of the world than the demise of capitalism. For workers, for those not of the elite ruling class, this system causes stress, discomfort and depression. There is no outlet. These conditions remain internalized. All of this becomes purely a private matter. The question becomes “What is it about you that causes this?”, rather than, “What is it about the system that makes you feel this way?” Since the crisis of the financial markets many are glimpsing the truth of this system as if for the very first time.