The Humiliated | Chicago Reader

The Humiliated

Danish director Lars von Trier (The Kingdom, Breaking the Waves) is the star of this 1998 feature documentary by Jesper Jargil about the making of The Idiots, von Trier's only work to adhere to the Dogma 95 ideas espoused by him and a band of other European filmmakers. Jargil, also following the Dogma 95 rules, used a digicam and natural light to record behind-the-scene encounters and chats with the film's actors and crew. He shows von Trier explaining the conceit of The Idiots—in which actors pose as spastic patients from a mental ward—while pushing his cast to show raw emotions. Jargil elicits candid comments from those around the director, and the impression of von Trier that emerges is of a head of a commune longing for the groovy 60s, exhorting his followers to shed their clothes and psychological masks for the sake of his art. But Jargil is too awestruck to deflate the director's hubris, and we come away amused by von Trier's ego and still wondering what makes him tick. In Danish with subtitles. 79 min.

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