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The Idiots

A film by idiots, about idiots, for idiots 

Year: 1998 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

A group of perfectly intelligent young people decide to react to society’s cult of an aimless, non-creative and non-responsible form of intelligence by living together in a community of “idiots”. Their main activity becomes going out into the world of “normal” people and pretending to be mentally retarded. They take advantage of this situation to create anarchy everywhere they go and try by every possible means to make people annoyed, disturbed, miserable, ridiculous, angered, and shocked. The film starts as they recruit a new lost soul and introduced her to their megalomaniac leader.

The idiots is the second film to be shot under the terms of the Dogma 95 agreement, which seek to counter the ‘film of illusion’. As such a number of rules must be adhered to including restrictions on shooting locations, sound, light and story and that a hand held camera must be used. All directors have to sign a vow of chastity to ensure that they will stick to these rules.

Though the concept of filmmaking under such conditions sounds like a far-fetched art concept, the dogma films have an immediacy about them that is rarely seen in other films. Many scenes recall the power of Von Trier’s Oscar nominated and Cannes grand prize winning film, Breaking The Waves. The film also contains some of the most graphic sex scenes ever passed by the British Board of Film Classification for general release.

While they have many vocal fans the Dogma filmmakers are unlikely to make much of an impact on the film industry, despite The Blair Witch Project sharing similar features, and are likely to be regarded by history as just another avant-garde movement. However this film is an opportunity to experience the anti-thesis of the Hollywood production line mentality.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)