Dogme 95 poster boy Thomas Vinterberg



outh and gender abandoned in the powerful Afghani film Osama

of her father but things start going wrong when the Taliban start training up the local boys



Dogme veteran THOMAS VlNTERBERG goes head to head with his old mate Lars von Trier this fortnight with his new film, IT‘S ALL ABOUT LOVE. KALEEM AFTAB enters his jetset world.

Most directors dress like dorks, with baseball cap chic generally passing for cool, but Vinterberg, with his golden locks and piercing eyes, looks and dresses like a matinee idol. For two years this Danish auteur collected enough air miles to travel to the moon as he moved from film festival to film festival being treated like a movie star. His 1998 film Festen (The Celebration) had cinephiles waxing (themselves) lyrical, because it was the first film to be made under the Dogme 95 banner. Dogme 95, with its ten stupid rules about how movies should be made, was (foolishly) heralded as the most exciting movement in European cinema since the French New Wave and Vinterberg was the poster boy.

Incredible as it may sound, Vinterberg claims his life was not one long party. ‘Travelling around this world, celebrating myself with The Celebration - I got struck by this itchy sort of sadness and loneliness,’ he says. ‘Flying around, missing my family I suddenly realised that this is how modern man lives, in constant transit, in their cars all the time and a lot of people including myself live under the illusion

STUDlO MELODRAMA DOGVILLE (15) 177 min 0000.

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their own souls too.


that if you really hurry up you will gain something.’

The 34-year-old director tapped into these emotions when making his sophomore movie, It’s All About Love. ‘lt’s long distance love nowadays,’ says the director. ‘People sit with their families and think about all the work that they should have done and then go to work missing their kids. In the film, he is from Poland and she is a star from New York who is constantly floating around - this is what breaks things up between them.’

The dashing Dane likened this all to an ethereal dream. ‘The funny thing is that this glamour life is so tempting. Flying around in an aeroplane makes you feel important and it makes you feel that you are called for, but it is all illusionary. This film in all its largeness and glossiness is by far the most fragile and even vulnerable that I’ve made so far.’

Vinterberg is very reflective and self-critical. After Cannes rejected the film he completely re-cut it. After complaining about how lonely success is, the adverse reaction to his second movie did not sit well with the director either. ‘l’m a little spoilt from my last film and now some people are throwing stones at me. I don’t like that.’

There is no pleasing some people.

I /t All About Love is out on selected release from Fri' 73 Feb. See review. page 30.

Master manipulator. sadist and Visionary. Lars von Trier has little truck With the conventions of movre realism. Here he films on a huge sound-stage. pOinting up the artificially through marking out the houses. shops and natural surr0undings on

But this retreat from realism is part of Von Trier's purpose as he unravels a stery of a woman. Grace iNicole Kidmanl. stumbling into a small. isolated town and asking if the locals Will take her in. Of ceiirse they're wary but Grace proves a tonic to all as she helps the more or less blind Ben Ganara around the house and baby-sits and cleans for the neighbours.

Von Trier is as demanding of his audience as he is of his cast and Crew. Just when we ll)l')k everything is going sWingingly the townsfolk make increasing demands on Grace's time. Where before she was helpful. Suddenly everybody demands she becomes useful. She's no longer a woman whose help permeates the town With a generosity of spirit: she's a factotum who not only loses her own spirit, but consequently as the locals use and abuse her. we Witness them losing

As writer and director, Von Trier is commenting on the US as a c0untry that demands everybody be functional rather than purposeful. a place that slowly degrades all who partake. It's a remarkable achievement. an essay on the

demarcation of humanity in a capitalist community. (Tony McKibbinl

I Selected release from Fri 73 Feb. See think piece. page 28.

Almost two years on from the US military's post—9 1 l forays into Afghanistan. in search of an elusive businessman turned fundamentalist zealot called Osama Bin Laden. comes that rarest of creatures the Afghani coming—of-age drama. Writer director and editor Siddig Barmak's debut feature film exposes the plight of Osama llvlarina Golbaharii a 12-year-old girl whose life under the Taliban is blighted by poverty and suppresson. When her mother loses her Job after the Taliban close down the local hospital. Osama becomes the only chance of surVival for her mother and grandmother. Her mother chops off her hair and dresses her as a boy. At first the child finds some work in the shop owned by a friend

in response to Bin Laden's call to arms against the infidel. Only street urchin Spandi lArif Heraiii stands hetv-reen the girl and discovery.

Barmak's stripped down film is a raw revelation. steeped in the influence of Guiseppe De Santis' Bitter Rice. Rossellini's Pa/sa and just about anything by the Hungarian master stylist Miklos Jancso. One senses that this bold. immensely sad piece of work will stand the test of time; history will prove it to be as influential on new Afghani cinema as Ken Loach's Kes was to British post war cinema. A bloody footprint in the dust. (Paul Dalel I GF 7. Glasgow from Fri 13 Feb and the Film/louse. Edinburgh from Fri 20 Feb. See prevrew.

Grace and favour devalued in Dogville

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