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SXSW 2010: "Kick-Ass," "Dogtooth," "White Stripes"

The Auteurs Daily

Dogtooth

So SXSW 2010 has kicked off with Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass, which, according to Peter Martin at Twitch, "does. At its most elemental level, it's tremendously exciting to see a superhero flick that embraces unadulterated bloodshed and violence while promoting the idea that deranged destruction can happily co-exist with responsible hero-hood. It's a movie that gleefully dances on the grave of political correctness, readily serving up a young girl as a foul-mouthed, highly-trained assassin named Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Moretz. She is an action star for the ages." More from Todd Gilchrist (Cinematical) and Drew McWeeney (Hitfix).

And from IFC.com's Alison Willmore, who also reviews Giorgos Lanthimos's "outrageous and excellent" Dogtooth, winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year and the film I opted for myself over Kick-Ass. I thought I'd come up with an original take, but no, looking back, I see that Mike D'Angelo was there first (no surprise), when he wrote for the AV Club, "I could even make the case that it's almost the same film as Haneke's The White Ribbon, its portrait of incestuous, for-your-own-good despotism reduced from a small village to a single fucked-up family. But where Haneke chooses to punish the audience along with the characters, deliberately stripping his film of anything that might conceivably inspire even fleeting pleasure, Lanthimos makes his mini-fiefdom arresting for its own sake — partly by exaggerating its wanton cruelty until it approaches science fiction, partly by shooting everything from static, disorienting angles that suggest a grotesque parody of conventional domesticity."

Adds Alison: "While sex is what sets in motion the events that burst the horrific bubble in which the Dogtooth denizens live, it's blockbuster cinema that's the unexpected apple in the garden." I wouldn't call the ending "pat," but I do agree that "Dogtooth closes with an ellipsis that suits the film's stubbornly insoluble, enduringly provocative world."

 


I expected to enjoy The White Stripes Under the Great White Northern Lights but not to be utterly enthralled by Jack and Meg and their excellent Canadian adventure. As a long-time fan and friend, Emmett Malloy has gained their trust over the years — the doc features a single tantalizing glimpse of an early performance in Detroit — directing a few of their videos as one half of The Malloys (he knows, too, what partnering with a sibling entails) and yet admits that The White Stripes, the chemistry, the music, the package, remain a mystery to him. To the benefit of the film, I'd argue. As a concert movie, it's not Stop Making Sense, but as a portrait of a band, particularly of one that's made such a slamming impact over the past decade, no equal readily comes to mind.

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SD
DOGTOOTH improves on the second viewing (just saw it again at ND/NF). You already know how its unsettling parallel reality is set up, which means you can catch a lot more of what’s going on. Was very interesting to see it after THE RED CHAPEL, and ponder the resonances of closed systems ruled by dictators rewiring the populace (family) for perversions of reality. But yeah, terrific joke (?) that it’s nothing less than ROCKY that supplies a catalyst for the 3rd act.

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