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  • Dogtooth

    This Greek movie made my Top 10 of 2010, plus a few others in the UK... but no-one else's on here! I'm guessing it's not had much of a US release yet.

    So, you live in L.A. and like the sound of it...

    (L.A. premiere!)
    January 7-13

    Combining the gripping, unpredictable tension of a prime Polanski thriller, the perfectly-executed production design of a Wes Anderson contraption and the dangerous freaky-deakiness of a David Lynch nightmare, Dogtooth is easily one of the most unique filmic creations of the last few years, spinning forth from the dark imagination of new Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos.

    On par with Antichrist and Enter The Void for sheer audacity, this hyper-stylized, intoxicating mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy is the story of three teenagers perpetually confined to their parents' isolated country estate, and kept under strict rule and regimen -- an inscrutable scenario suggesting a warped experiment in social conditioning. (**SLIGHT SPOILERS**)Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a "telephone,- an armchair is "the sea-) - until a trusted outsider brought in to satisfy the son's libidinal urges starts offering forbidden VHS tapes(!) as a key to the outside world. (**SPOILER END**)

    Fully utilizing every last inch of onscreen space, Lanthimos paints the blackest of portraits here using austere, antiseptic visuals, and elicits total warped commitment from his entire cast, resulting in an indelible immersive experience into a claustrophobic emotional netherworld never before seen.

    Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009, 35mm, 94 min.
    A Note About "Dogtooth"!

    The Cinefamily's doing something we've never done before -- we're booking one film for a whole week. Usually our approach to programming is of a hungry ghost at a fantastic dim sum parlor: it seems a waste to fill our plate with only one dish when there's some many wonderful treats to sample. Usually we don't even show movies twice, because every extra screening means we can't show something else. Our mission is to share and promote "the wild and wonderful world of cinema- -- which means a lot of different kinds of movies.

    So a lot of people have been asking us: why? And why Dogtooth? Well, Los Angeles (god bless us!) is a notoriously tough theatrical market to crack for arthouse films these days. The venues are limited, the geography is spread out, so even though we have a massive population filled with film lovers, it can be hard for some really good independent and foreign films to find a home in our city. Even if a film does get play, it could be all the way on the other side of town; those arthouse theaters that we love and support can only show so many films.

    When we see a great, smart, challenging, funny film like Dogtooth -- the kind of film that makes Top Ten lists, the kind of film that film nerds read about on blogs years before they get to see, the kind of film that affects all who see it -- my first urge is to get a megaphone and a mountaintop and start screaming for everyone to go see it. But where? And I'm constantly hearing about movies like this, ones that play a bunch of festivals, a week or two in New York, and maybe we're lucky here in L.A. (the densest metropolis in the U.S.) if it gets a single screening at a speciality theater like us before it's thrown to DVD and VOD.

    Now we've only got one screen here at Cinefamily, but goddamnit, sometimes a theater's gotta do what a theater's gotta do! Starting in 2011, we're going to begin experimenting with one-week runs of films we really believe in, particularly films that deserve a run and might not be getting it without our help. Don't worry -- we're only talking about five or six times a year (until we get those few extra screens we've been dreaming about!), where we'll mix things up in this new style, and the films will be curated at the same level of unbridled nerdy passion and personal endorsement that we've brought to our repertory programming.

    So let us know if you want this to keep happening -- by coming on out to see Dogtooth! If it's well attended, we'lll be able to do this that much more often.