Hey, Barbecutie

My Other Film of the Year That I Forgot

Posted on: January 4, 2011

I am quite sleepy, but between illsnesses and 7 hours of travel and being back to work and generally ennui (that ol’ thing), I suddenly had a revelation about my 2010 retrospective. Not to diminish “Four Lions”, as it is extremely wonderful, but the film that has been bouncing around my headspace since I saw it (apart from when I was compiling my dorky list) was Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth.

Three children have been raised behind the walls of their family home, away from the influence of the outside world. Their father insists they remain there until they lose their dog tooth, a sign that they have reached maturity. He warns them that if they attempt to leave before then, they face the mercy of bloodthirsty cats that killed their brother. He and their mother educate them, teaching them that the tiny yellow flowers that blossom in their gardens are called “zombies”, and that the planes that circle overhead are the size of a child’s toy. When their father introduces a workmate to deal with the sexual urges of their son, she smuggles in VHS tapes of popular films, poisoning their minds with their first experiences of western culture – including Flashdance:

It is strange, shocking, dark, humorous and magnificent, a sordid world fully realised in all its stifling weird misery. I cursed myself when I watched it. It was such a brilliant idea – why didn’t I think of it first? But I doubt I could craft something so twisted, authentic and complete. So instead I make blog posts about it. Super.

2 Responses to "My Other Film of the Year That I Forgot"

Not so sure about Four Lions
I really wanted to like that film… but sadly a brave film doesn’t necessarily make it a good one.
Chris Morris’s constant attempts to turn it into a slapstick comedy undermines the important message behind the film and dilutes it all into a superficial exercise.
Not a disaster, but it could have been so much better…
Here’s my review: http://wp.me/p19wJ2-aq

I don’t remember it being slapstick at all – absurd in places, but Morris has frequently alluded to real life events that inspired much of the seemingly ridiculous set pieces. I personally found it funny without being frivolous, and affecting without being sentimental. I’m not convinced satire needs to be laugh-out-loud funny to achieve its aims (though I found it hilarious at times, particularly with the characterisation). And I tend to agree with Mark Kermode’s assessment, in thinking that it was not intended to be a straightforward comedy, which I found very refreshing.

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