Dogtooth: Discussing the Disconcerting in Giorgos Lanthimos’ Film

Excerpt from Paper: [SPOILER ALERT!!!]

“Long before the quintessential scene of the Brother spearing a common stray cat with a pair of gardening shears, or the scene in which the Father goes psycho upside the Eldest sister’s head with a VHS tape, or even the nausea-inducing scene of brother and sister in an incestuous embrace—the audience receives a very loud warning of the weirdness to come. Giorgos Lanthimos’ film Dogtooth  opens with the disconcerting image of actress Mary Tsoni disfiguring a Barbie doll, screaming at the top of her lungs as if it was her very own toes that were being cut off by the pair of scissors in her hand.  It is at this point we, as the audience begins to wonder how deep into the rabbit hole of indie eccentricity are we jumping into.

Dogtooth, a bizarre twist of a “coming of age” story begins with a scene that very might very well denote an underlying layer of violence reminiscent of a repressive home in which children lacking agency, as well as an outlet for their creative energy turn to destruction instead.

The Crazy has Just Begun

…as illustrated by the cataclysmic chain of events that were to follow the Eldest sister’s viewings of Jaws and Rocky. The Father, symbolic of a totalitarian regime, goes after the roots of this “rebellion” so to speak, in order to quell the uprising and maintain the status quo he dictates.Nothing would ever be the same again, as noted by Fisher in his article “there is no returning to the sealed conditions which the films have contaminated (Fisher 25).” Once the Father has been made aware of this contamination, punishment is swiftly carried out.”

To be Continued…

Oral in exchange for Jaws and Rocky… Good Deal?

That’s what Dad would do if he found out you were licking keyboards. xD

Genius in the Shadow of Hollywood: Let The Right One In

“The more I watch Let the Right One In the more fascinated I become. The first time I had watched it was amongst friends.  It came highly recommended and at the time we were on a complete and total “Anti-Twilight” binge. There are rules in Vampyre mythology, almost to the point of being practically formulaic, and this is more for fan-service to the occult than anything else. However, as demonstrated by the large “Anti-Twilight” counterculture as rabid as those actually devoted to the Stephenie Meyer’s book (turned movie) series, an author does not simply disregard the most basic principles of vampire methodology, in lieu of Robert Pattinson’s sparkling, glittery abdominals. Exploding into what looks like confetti throw up, is not the same as spontaneously combusting in giant bursts of flames, while screaming in agony.
Favorite Line in the Film:
Oskar: How’d you solve it so fast?
Eli: I turned it.
Book

In the book (to screenplay to movie) Let Right One In, at least the original author   John    Ajvide Lindqvist had the propensity to faithfully stick with motifs that are so deeply  embedded within occult horror film genre, while simultaneously “leaving room” —so to speak— to take creative liberties in order to revitalize the “tried and true” plot of a  coming of age story with romantic/ angst-ridded undertones (Wright 58).

….[he] quickly turned a precocious film about troubled youths and pre- pubescent “love,” into a downright proper horror film. When I say “Horror,” it is without  any Western qualifiers alluding to the campy Hollywood perception of a horror flick—   i.e. Freddy, from the Nightmare on Elmstreet and Jason, from the Friday the 13th movie empires. [In Let the Right One In] Audience members wince as they hear the crunch of  canines tearing into human flesh; We squirm as Eli slurps at his jugular vein as if it was a   lifeline; and then, finally we sympathize, as Eli breaks down sobbing at the murder she  has just committed. “The poor androgynous girl is starving! Let her eat!” the audience ultimately deliberates, and that is the genius of director Tomas Alfredson. ”
[EXCERPT from paper:

Let the Right One In: Translation or Rejection? That is the Question.]

]

let_the_right_one_in-207781
Who could say no to this face?

FC: Online Discussion

Online Discussion (Combo #1+#2)

In retrospect the movies that considered quintessential to my induction into the world of film studies thus far are those centered on Marxism, Socialism, or leftist theories. Not because I am secretly harboring socialist sympathies (haha–no). Rather because in my English 3010 class, modern criticism and theory, we spent close to the majority of February studying the school of Marxist literary criticism and those who spout/ support it, and how fundamental it’s focus on binary oppositions (the proletariat, working mass vs. the bourgeois, elitist few), and how instrumental it was in the shaping of other schools of literary criticism. This was my thought process while watching such movies as Good Bye Lenin, Touch of Spice, and even Pan’s Labyrinth.

In Goodbye Lenin, The revolution set afoot with the reunification of socialist, East Germany with capitalist, democratic West Germany reflected the clashing of differing economic and societal philosophies. While some accepted the change wholeheartedly, thus lending themselves to the commodification and in some cases the westernization of their country (e.g. Coca-Cola, Holland Pickles, and sister dropping out of College to work at Burger King to engage in “currency exchange”). This is lending to Marxist theory that once an individual is paid for use of their skill set (hourly wage or annual salary), the individual themselves has been reduced to the status of commodity, to be bought and sold, and whose use-value is determined by their production rate. Essentially, everything and everyone has a price tag.

So naturally, when we covered “Euro pudding” in The Spanish Apartment and debated in class on whether or not we were being presented an “accurate” portrayal of a European student abroad or, was it in fact a privileged, bourgeois depiction—this is what my mind automatically leaps to: One month’s worth of Marxism. Concepts such as diaspora, “the male gaze,” and hegemony in the face of the privileged class is reminiscent on courses from the previous semester (LIT4188/ LIT 4685). Both classes focused on the effects of imperialism on the subjugated masses, exile/relocation, and the ripple effects on later generations as portrayed through literature (esp. in terms of classifying a one’s identity).

As I am flipping through the course pack now, just judging on how full the margins are with my scribble of notes and the like, I can tell where my interests are centered. For example, judging by the multitude of highlighters used for Jonathan Ellis and Ana Maria Sanchez-Arce’s article “The Un-Quiet Dead: Memories of the Spanish Civil War in Guillermo Del Toro’s Cinema,” I found it to be quite illuminating. I especially appreciated the multi-faceted approach in the interpretation of the symbolism within the story (emphasis on the left eye, equating to Spanish dictator Franco, or the Flesh monster as depiction of the Roman Catholic Church, who had sided with Franco in the Spanish Civil War, consequently partly responsible of the butchering of its loyal patronage). Or the representation of Carmen and Mercedes as two separate modes of Femininity: the submissive vs. the subversive within the prevalent system of patriarchy. Being an enthusiast of feminist theory, I devoured these interpretations up like chocolate.

The bulk of my highlighter kaleidoscope explosions center around the brief chapter on New Queer Cinema defining identity (and the spectator’s gaze with From the Edge of the City);  as well as transnationalism with Eleftheriotis’ article (with A Touch of Spice), Pan European Cinema, the article categorizing all the different types of cinema, and many more. Consequently, it would appear that articles that I have thoroughly enjoyed have challenged my way of thinking, meaning that I can no longer continue my role as a passive consumer taking in the movie at face value, solely appreciating the aesthetics. Nowadays, it’s mise-en-scene this and diegetic sound that, movies have been essentially ruined for me by hyper- analyzing the meta-text. Now, the cinematic experience eludes me. It has become impossible to remove my scholarly goggles. My question to the class is am I the only one playing this balancing act between consumer and scholar? Or is it my own neurosis at play?