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Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:00 am
by MikLosk
Last von Trier's movie is the second part of his ambitious "American thrylogy" - thrylogy about the country where he has never been in. Like the first film of this series this one tells about the paradox that I'd prefer to express with one sentence: "Freedom is slavery". It's clear why he decided to explore problems of modern society using the USA as a background: it's the brightest point of world society and democracy. We all saw in Dogville how terrible is reverse of our life concealed under dozens of rules and laws of modern society and how many monsters are concealed inside common "law-obedient" people.

I don't want to discuss all political and social problems and contradictions that are considered by Lars because such exhaustive discussion took place when we all talked about Dogville.

A couple of words about plot. Grace left Dogville after that fantastic destruction and decided to visit a small town Maderlay and extirpate slavery in it: it's populated with negroes, who don't know that slavery in the USA is over...

Manderlay is the sequel of Dogville. So, the former inherited main themes and formal technique of the latter. It's the main problem of the movie and simultaneously the main reason of possible success. The plot is quite predictable, the technique of minimal theatre may make some viewers be bored, etc... BUT! It has its charme. Trier's style, full of irony and black humour is incredible, his ability to tell an interesting and even breathtaking story (with using epatage and contradictions) is amazing (Trier's screenplays are never boring even if the film isn't directed by him like, say, Dear Wendy), actors' performances are really outstanding (I should say that LvT is a great specialist on actors: they always do a very good job in his movies). Nonetheless, after brilliant and groundbreaking Dogville it looks like a pure repetition of old success. I think, most of viewers will be disappointed, though it's a good movie (one more paradox!) I hope his next project (after American thrylogy) won't be so self-repertory and boring.
7/10

Re: Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:41 am
by arsaib4
Good review, Mik. I haven't seen the film yet (it's scheduled for later this year here), but I like this part, "Manderlay is the sequel of Dogville. So, the former inherited main themes and formal technique of the latter. It's the main problem of the movie and simultaneously the main reason of possible success." I've read a few similar notes on the film. I'm also looking forward to Dear Wendy.

Re: Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:25 am
by MikLosk
Thanks for kind comments, arsaib4!

Other reviews will be shorter (have no time to write a full research =)) and I'll post them in the thread about Moscow Festival. Thoughts on Dear Wendy is already there.

Re: Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:04 am
by wpqx
Good or bad, he's always interesting, can't wait until this comes out here in the US.

Re: Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:12 am
by wpqx
Took me ages to get to finally see it. Manderlay failed to capture me like Dogville did, but few films do. I think part of this is the altered cast. Willem Dafoe I can accept in exchange for James Caan, but Bryce Dallas Howard is a very poor substitute for Nicole Kidman. The film was good, and delivered its share of twists and melodrama, but part of the film (particularly the dust sequence) felt disturbingly predictable. I'd say one of the more interesting films of the year but not without its flaws. Von Trier seems to delight in exposing the underbelly of America, but I feel he is missing something here.

Re: Manderlay (Lars von Trier, 2005) (Denmark)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:25 am
by A
For me this movie was also a let down after the magnificent Dogville (2004). I didn`t mind it repeating a similar formula, but this time the satire was too flat (von Trier is imho not good at comic timing) and as wpqx pointed out, a lot of the stuff that happened was very predictable. Overall this was a rather preachy effort, where I thought that von Trier should have listened better during history classes.
A bit like the twin brother of Michael Moore`s Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) it doesn`t have any revelations to offer, and pretends to be smarter thanit actually is.
Imo, overall a very mediocre and unbalanced effort that leaves much to be desired while at least offering enough food for thought.