Dogme ’95 Manifesto and Vow of Chastity (Denmark, 1995)

The Dogme ’95 manifesto is largely responsible for the revitalized interest in film manifestos in recent years. Lars von Trier, one of the two coauthors, had been writing manifestos to accompany many of his films. An ironic call to action, Dogme ’95 and the Vow of Chastity both invoked the supposed failures of previous aesthetic revolutions in the cinema, most notably la nouvelle vague, and at the same time, proclaimed a dogmatic list of technical constraints never found in antecedents such as neorealism, la nouvelle vague, or New German Cinema. Dogme’s greatest success was as a publicity tool, placing New Danish Cinema on the map in the process. While not a national movement per se, the critical success of the Dogme films is largely tied to the Danish ones—such as Festen (The Celebration, Thomas Vinterberg, 1998); Idioterne (The Idiots, Lars von Trier, 1998); Mifunes sidste sang (Mifune’s Last Song, Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, 1999); The King Is Alive (Kristian Levring, 2000); Italiensk for begyndere (Italian for Beginners, Lone Scherfig, 2000); En Kærlighedshistorie (Kira’s Reason: A Love Story, Ole Christian Madsen, 2001); and Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts, Susanne Bier, 2002)—while most of the international productions were largely, and quite justifiably, quickly forgotten.