Thomas Vinterberg’s film
The film “The Celebration,” by Thomas Vinterberg was the first in a number of films that aimed at giving the audience an entirely different viewing experience than other movies. By following “The Vows of Chastity,” films that fall under the category of Dogma 95 explore realism in cinema in a new and exciting way. By using a different style of realism, these films are able to involve the audience in a unique way, which makes Dogma 95 important in the evolution of film. By creating a new relationship between the audience and the actual film, this style of filmmaking has the potential to change the entire industry, if it is given a chance.
Thomas Vinterberg’s film, “The Celebration,” is credited with being the first Dogma 95 film. Dogma 95 films must follow a certain criteria in order to be classified as such and the founders on the genre call this criterion “The Vows of Chastity”. Firstly, all shooting must be done on location without the use of any props, other than those found at the actual location. In addition, all of the sounds must be natural to the location. The only music that is allowed must be played on location. The cameras must also be handheld and in color.
There must not be any weapons or murder because no action can be superficial. Filters are not acceptable and neither are genre movies. It must be filmed in 35mm Academy format and the director must not be credited (More Barnum Than Dada? Questioning the Intellectual validity of Dogma 95). These rules were created in order to create a movement in the film industry. The directors who were involved in Dogma 95 wished to change the film industry to become more accessible for everyday people to create movies, rather than Hollywood holding a monopoly on the filmmaking industry.
The John Cassavetes film “Love Streams” had some similar features to Dogma 95 films, as it was filmed entirely in Cassavetes’ house. Through the use of various camera angles, however, Cassavetes is able to constantly change the dynamics of the house, giving each room a different feel each time the characters re-enter it. In current times, high tech movies such as “The Matrix” and “Harry Potter” have attempted to create a similar cinematic experience by experimenting with different camera angles.
This gives the audience the feeling of being in the same place as the actor because the audience is able to see 360 degrees of the set. In “The Matrix,” cameras were put all over the room, which allowed for the director to give that 360 degree shot to the audience. These camera angles have become more important than the actual story in these films and that is something very similar to what Dogma 95 was trying to accomplish. Dogma 95’s goal was for the cinematic experience to become more realistic for the audience. Its creators wished for the audience to feel like the events were actually unfolding in front of them.
Dogma 95’s idea of realism is much different from the high tech movies of today, however. Through the use of the handheld camera, “The Celebration” was able to achieve its goal of seeming as though it was truly filmed as the events were taking place. It is given the appearance of being a home video shot at a birthday party that has gone terribly wrong. The realism that is used in “The Matrix,” however, is different because it does not use a handheld camera and is quite obviously not a home video. The realism explored in this movie is based on the pure quantity of camera angles.
The audience is exposed to the entire set in some point of the film and, since the cameras are not visible, this gives the viewer the feeling of actually being there. This style of filmmaking has become more and more popular because it is different from the classic style of shooting films. It is able to captivate the audience because it seems like less of a film and more like real life. Despite the successes of these high tech movies, however, they do fail to accomplish some of the same things as Dogma 95 films. The most important failure is that they rely too heavily on special effects.
This eliminates much of the realism from the film because it is clearly not something that happens in everyday life. These films tend to slow down the 360-degree shots, which is something that does not happen realistically. They are also very futuristic in feel, because of these unbelievable camera angles and shots. They are also much more expensive to make, which is the exact opposite of Dogma 95 films. One of the goals of Dogma 95 was to create a level playing field in filmmaking, but films like “The Matrix” are clearly not easy to make, nor is the technology economically feasible or even available to regular people who wish to make a film.
Hollywood producers desire a different relationship with their audiences than the producers of “The Celebration” and “Love Streams”. Hollywood producers do not want the audience to look at their films in terms of naturalistic realism, but they rather want the audience to look upon their films with a sense of awe. They want the audience to wondering how they were able to accomplish certain things. They want the audience to look at a scene and say, “How did they do that? ” Hollywood producers do, however, hope to attract the same audience as the producers of these other films, as the bottom line in Hollywood is making money.
They do not care whose money it is, as long as it is coming in steadily. The Dogma 95 movement attempted to break this trend by involving the audience more heavily in not only the cinematic experience, but also in the filmmaking process as a whole. They create a much more realistic version of film and they make filmmaking more accessible to everyone with an interest in it.
Works Cited “More Barnum Than Dada? Questioning the Intellectual validity of Dogma 95”. The Fulford and Tang Hall Curmudgeon. 9 March 1999. http://www.pheasnt.demon.co.uk/mudge/iss17/dogma95.htmSample Essay of Essayontime.com