T500FC, 482nd: Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009)


Dogtooth is such a boring albeit intriguing for a title. I mean who is sane enough to give a title for such film. But that peculiarity will make you go inquisitive on such disposition that you’d at least want to check the idea, the pictures, the film and try to tell yourself that it is just about a pair of teeth, the scary ones you’d see from dogs whenever they start to snarl at you. Yes, the ones on the corner of their faces and with that, there is a fine line whether you’d be afraid of it or not.

One thing is for sure, this is one crazy film that, at the same time, nominated at the latest Academy Awards, and the film is vying for the Best Foreign Film category. It may come out as stagnant as first but once you get through the initial scenes, you’d probably wonder what the hell is happening. You’d obviously notice the change in norms to a point that what you are seeing is something incredible. Unless of course, if you are really open to ideas and is good in adapting into different societies, then this film might give you a little smirk on the face instead.

It is about a different kind of family. It is a film where the father redefines the dictionary. It is a film where the children are not allowed to go out of the house except when the any of their dogtooth falls off from their jaws. It is a film where a prostitute is blindfolded from one spot to the house and then used as a sexual partner for the only son. It is a film where toy airplanes are buried anywhere in the house and the children gets it as a prize, to the point on one of the daughters slicing the wrist of the son just because he played with her toy plane. It is a film where the father invents a supposed brother who lives outside the house just because of a lost dogtooth. And it is a film where the mother and the three kids go on all fours acting like dogs to scare off cats.

When I started to watch this film, it gave me the feel of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. While that film was meant for a very slight trace of suspense, this one went to the haywire division.

The film looked like a big set of sketches from any of the funniest gag shows around but what was intriguing was there was a different sense of appeal. It was not made to be funny; it was just there because they were that, nothing else. Blame it on the parents who made the family on something that was clearly a form of control. It was a different control and it was fascinating.

One of my favorite scenes in the film was when they were playing who can stay up longer. Faint-inducing drugs, the ones they used on date rapes, those liquid substances that are placed on handkerchiefs and forcibly inhaled by the victim, are used by two of the daughters. They started the game and after a few seconds, both siblings faint.

I remember when I saw Lars Von Trier’s Idioterne a few years ago. It conveyed me to allow myself to widen my cinema reach. And right now, Dogtooth stretched that reach a little bit further. It didn’t lead to my insanity level and instead went to the appreciative level.



  1. Well,I’m Greek but I didn’t like Dogtooth.It’s been 30 years or something since a greek film last made it to the best foreign film category,but seriously,I can’t see why *this* movie.It *is* something completely different compaired to most greek movies,plus it contains new ideas and twisted minded characters,but honestly,doesn’t the end ruin it all?And some scenes are really long or meaningless.For example why would somebody want to see a cat being killed that way?

  2. I think new directors and scriptwriters are trying new ideas. Dogtooth is not a film for everyone. If you’re going to check the new ‘new wave’ cinema of France, you’ll be surprised with the current direction that it is now heading. I think it is both bad and good in terms of tradition. Maybe this film was kind of shocking, albeit if they’re just created a film with a subtle change.

    And if there is change in your country, I think it would be good since there is a possibility that new films will come out even if the standards stay.

    Films are always subjective. I can also say that a few films coming from my country is not good. But movie-making is a form of expression. We may not like what they create but they have the right to do it.

    Don’t worry, some new film might come out great, a contrast to this hopefully, in the future. It is always possible. =)

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