Wag The Dogme
In case you live in the kind of town that has only
one theater and it rotates Meg Ryan & Julia Roberts movies 365 days
a year, let us tell you about the new wave of film directors, the
Danish quasi-Luddite collective known as DOGME 95 . Co-founded by
BREAKING THE WAVES director Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg,
the directors adhere to a strict set of guidelines that substitute
story for special effects and eschews tech restrictions as a whole.
So far, four films have been released under the Dogme banner, including
the currently in release, MIFUNE. Only Von Trier's "THE IDIOTS"
has yet to be shown in American theaters, due to a naughty EYES
WIDE SHUT-style orgy with actors pretending to be retarded. Naturally,
film people are already preparing a pedestal for this NEXT NEW WAVE
of directors, but this is the sort of "buzz" that makes our bones
ache with cynicism. So we asked our pal, SHADY LANE, who waxes the
floors in all of L.A.'s hipster clubs, to see what he could dig
up on this topic. Before you can yell, "YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP",
we had this interesting cocktail napkin in our hands. Evidently,
a similar list of filmmaking principles laid down by another group
of filmmakers that predates the DANES by fifteen years.
The Dogme 95 List
"I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed
by DOGME 95:
1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be
brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location
must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
2.The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice
versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene
is being shot).
3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable
in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the
camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes
4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable.
(If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut
or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons,
etc. must not occur.)
7.Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is
to say that the film takes place here and now.)
8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
9.The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
10.The director must not be credited.
Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste!
I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a "work",
as I regard the instant as more important than the whole. My supreme
goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I
swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any
good taste and any aesthetic considerations.
Thus I make my VOW OF CHASTITY."
Copenhagen, Monday 13 March 1995
On behalf of DOGME 95
Lars von Trier
The Simpson / Bruckheimer 80 List
I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed
by SIMPSON/BRUCKENHEIMER 80-99:
1. The use of a Huey helicopter for aerial shots will only be used
for opening credit sequences or chase scenes on the way to the beach
where the hookers are.
2. The hero of the story must suffer from an internal conflict,
leading us to realize that he is not perfect. He must, however,
3. The name Joel Silver will not be mentioned at any time on the
4. Subtitles in movies are unacceptable unless it involves any
of the following characters-
- A South American druglord.
- A Russian military advisor.
- Bangkok whores
5. The drinks-to-prescription-pills ratio in the star's trailer
should be directly proportional to the star's last five gross box
6. When having to choose between shooting a nude scene with a female
star or with a body double, always shoot the body double. Then see
if she'll come back to the suite with you. And ask her if she'll
wear the mermaid costume. In the hot tub.
7. The film format should be Super-70 mm, high-defintion, multi-bit,
hyper-pixelated, blah de blah blah blah blah. As long as the street
gooks in Singapore aren't bootlegging it before the release date,
we don't care what shape or form it comes in.
8. The film must be released on a holiday weekend, a three-day
weekend, or a four-day weekend. If the film must be released on
a Wednesday, the weekend box office total should include the film's
5 day total.
9. If a movie can be done with only computers, thus forgoing actors,
set designers, costume designers, and all tech people, then that
is the movie we want to make.
10. DESTINY, thy name is Tom Cruise.
11. Our Vow of Chastity list has eleven dogmatic principles making
it BIGGER and BETTER than any lame chastity list that any wussy
Danes could dream of! Yes, we rule!
Furthermore I swear as a producer to refrain from personal taste!
I am no longer an artist. I shall now be referred to by both the
press and my immediate family as SUPER PRODUCER, SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE.
If the "work" fails to perform at the box office, I swear to have
my name removed from The Internet Movie Database . I vow to do so
by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and
any aesthetic considerations.
Thus I make my vow of CHASTITY (yeah, right).
Rainbow Room Los Angeles, CA 1980