Colder Mountain

still from Lars von Trier's Dogville,

Actually, I was going to title this post “Nicole Kidman: Dogville’s bitch,” but that’s not how I was brought up. Besides, it sounded unnecessarily cruel. [Not in comparison to the movie itself, however, or to some of its reviews. David Edelstein’s Slate piece is bitterly well-done; he can make people who liked the movie hate it.]
Lars von Trier’s been called anti-American, which I don’t buy. [Come on, he stuck a “von” in his name; what’s more American than that?] When Grace (Kidman’s character) begs them for sanctuary, the Dogville-age people show her mercy and take her in. In no time, though, they turn on her, brutalizing her mercilessly, flagellate her and jeer after her as they nail her hands to a cross–ahem. Sorry, wrong grace/justice/sadism/mob violence movie. Actually, they town-rape her and chain her neck to a wagon wheel. At least von Trier didn’t make it a Jewish town.
What evil lurks in the hearts of (American) men (and women), von Trier asks. How could they turn so suddenly and heap black-hearted violence on this beautiful, selfless creature who appeared in their midst? Maybe they’d just seen Cold Mountain.

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