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.