Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Dogtooth": a Father makes his family a cult

The handsome young director, Giorgos Lanthimos, of the bizarre Greek tragi-comedy “Dogtooth” (“Kynodontas”), says his little film is rather like a science fiction experiment. The effect that the gated family estate is on another planet is intentional.  The patriarch (Christos Stergliogou) is so disenchanted with the dystopia of the outside world that he creates an arbitrary reality for his two almost grown daughters and 20-ish son.  You wonder why his wife goes along with it, but one could ask the same thing of any cult. This goes way beyond overprotective or helicopter parenting. It is abuse!

The only named character is the female security guard (Anna Kalaitzidou) whom Father brings home to provide the handsome son (Hristos Pasallis) a sexual outlet, requiring biological automaticity of which I am not capable.

The bizarre activities can be brutal. The kids have been taught that stray cats are monsters, leading to a horrific scene.  The kids have been home schooled into an alternate vocabulary (I remember that I used to call a screwdriver a “dobody”).  They have TV, but no Internet; they’re use of media is to watch old American films like “Jaws” (inspiring more fear) and “Footloose”.
The ending is simple and tragic enough. Remember “Trunk”?

The film did quite well at Cannes and is regarded as significant by critics, but I had trouble caring about it!
The US distributor is Kino.  It can be rented on YouTube for $3.99. The official site is here

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