starring Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Harriet Anderson, Lauren Bacall
written and directed by Lars von Trier
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Movie pop art is enjoying a renaissance (cf Elephant, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), of which Lars von Trier's savagely cathartic Dogville is the consummate centrepiece. This despite--and partly because of--outward appearances belying its status as a movie at all: Chalk outlines stand in for traditional sets, designating walls, fences, rosebushes, even the dog, Moses, of the titular locale, a pious community (is there any other kind in von Trierland?) situated in the Rocky Mountains circa Prohibition. A void surrounds the rectangle of pavement that constitutes Dogville--it turns white to indicate day and black to indicate night. One could be forgiven for momentarily mistaking Dogville for that fourth-wall-breaking production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town that aired on HBO last year; as Dogville's narrator, John Hurt is as thorough and intrusive a commentator as Our Town's own Stage Manager.