Dogma 95 & The Celebration

Vinterbergs 1998 film The Celebration was not only one of the most disturbing films we’ve watched in class, but also one of the most twisted films I’ve seen in general. One of the interesting qualities of film is that it presents a reality that is portrayed through performance. I was highly disturbed after researching the avant-garde style Dogma 95 manifesto to realize that this cinematic movement required films to be as real as possible, meaning all actions including beatings etc. are not faked and edited in post production.

The issues and topics that the film dealt with were very real and sensitive including sexual abuse, and family decay so to discover that the director strived to reenact these scenes as realistically as possible is problematic. The scene that mostly comes to mind as being highly distasteful is the beating of the woman. In this scene, I have an issue understanding why its necessary to have the man actually carry out an action that could easily depicted through various camera angles and good acting which takes more skill and creativity. The Dogma 95 argument that it makes the scene more realistic if the action is completed versus edited and altered in postproduction is not credible to me if it means causing harm to an individual for the purpose of entertainment. Many films have successfully depicted harm, sadness, and gruesome action without literally performing the act, and it does not take away from the authenticity of the scene. Film is not a direct representation of reality and should not try to imitate it in this manner.

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