Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dogville - Creative Task of the Week #1

Wow, it so overwhelming. There are 55,000+ and growing enrolled students in this MOOC - Future of Storytelling Course and incredible activity in these forums and its G+ page. The first task for this week is tougher then I thought. Scrutinizing the list of stories which I had come across in my life took some time. There were so many of them, and in the end can only tell one of them.

These couple of years, I've come across a lot of great thought-provoking films and felt deeply into it. One of them to consider is "Dogville" A great piece of art presented by Lars von Trier which also one of my favourite storyteller.


Dogville by Lars von Trier
Dogville by Lars von Trier

#StoryMOOC

Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. :) and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.

Warning: The retell of the story has spoiler, so its better to stop right there and watch the film first. If you have seen Lars other work such as Dancer in the Dark or Melancholia, then you should already know how it is going to end.




Dogville Map
Dogville Map

Retelling of the Story (SPOILER ALERT)

Late night, Grace, a beautiful, well dressed woman enters a small town Dogville as a fugitive after a loud gunshots heard from nearby town. Tom being a moral speaker of the town helped, to hide her from the gangsters, when the car enters the town looking for her.

As there was no way for her to escape without being seen, Tom convinced townspeople to let her stay for two weeks where she will be given chance to show her commitment to the town. In her time, she will to help out with the chores.

After two weeks, as everyone liked to have her around, helping with their chores, they decided to let her stay. She continues to do the chores happily.

Grace
Grace

Everything was going fine until one day one of the sheriff car enters the town and paste the poster of the missing Grace, with a reward on it. The town got shifted and worried about not being co-operated with law can really get them into trouble.

Later poster got replaced from missing to wanted, as her involvement in the bank robbery. It was far from getting true as Grace never left the town. But this create more problems for the town. People of the town cried out their concerns. Tom then proposed that Grace will do more chores with less pay, tit for tat. This make town a bit calm for the trouble for having her. It made Grace uncomfortable, but she trusted Tom's opinion.

Grace days become terrible everyday, as she was more of the slave now. Her schedule doesn't even allow much sleep and people of the town were meaner than ever. Shes been abused and manipulated in every way. Looking at all the abusing she was going through, Tom plans to get her out of this town, but to her horror, it can't get any better. Ben, the truck driver took an advantage of her and bring her back to the town. And accused for the theft, which Tom did to pay off Ben. Tom didn't say anything, as he don't want to get outcast by his own people. To make sure she cannot escape again, they put a long chain leash which attached to the heavy iron wheel.

Grace & Ben
Grace & Ben

The situation for Grace has been worsen, pain and agony was only thing left in her life. And her only hope Tom, seems slipping away. To end this, Tom calls the number from the card which was given by the gangster that night. Tired Grace stayed indoor laying on the bed, when she heard vehicles entering the town. She knew that's it.

To town’s surprise, Grace was not an ordinary woman, she was in fact the daughter of the powerful gang leader. She ran away because she don't like her father's methods. With discussion with her father, it made her realized that she can't let these people go, for all their doings. Finally, Grace trying to forgiving person reach her limit of tolerance and give the town what they deserves. She orders to kill everyone and Tim who was still trying to save himself got shot by Grace herself. And she went back home with her father, making the town burnt to the ground.



What fascinated most about this story... (SPOILER ALERT)

Dogville, to me, is the great piece of art. Loved the acting, direction, look & feel, presentation and simplicity of the set.

Dogville - SET
Dogville - SET

The way it was present by Lars was very unique, shown as a theatrical set. A simple  painted white lines showing simple houses outline, without actually seeing the walls and doors. It looks more of the map with minimal objects placed inside the houses such as piano, chairs and benches.

Tom & Grace
Tom & Grace

The character presentation to the audience for each character was superb. The acting from main characters, Grace played by Nicole Kidman and Tom aka Thomas played by Paul Bettney was very well done. And other strong supporting characters done a great job.

The story been divided into multiple chapters and based on shifting of basic human nature which was beautifully portrayed by the cast members. Pure acting and characterization made me remember the film better. The pain of the main character Grace, gone through was really felt.



There were three scenes which I remember more clearly and felt deeply into.

Grace's Punishment
Grace's Punishment

There was a point in the film where Grace been manipulated by Vera’s son to give him spanking, in the end she was bound to do it, against her will. And her husband take the advantage of her when sheriff arrives.

Vera accused her for spanking his son and seducing her husband, and for that she and other town females humiliated and punished her. Vera enters her house in the late night with two of the other female companions and they hold her hands while Vera smashes her every single figurine which Grace adore so much and she was collecting from the little money she got from working in the shop. It means a lot to her. With every figurine broken, she cry more and more. She said if Grace can hold her tears back, then she will stop, which in this situation was harder to do. This scene was quite intense.

Grace Imprisoned
Grace Imprisoned

After failing in escaping as  Ben betrayed her. Shes been accused for the stolen money from Tom’s father, which Tom did himself.  As a punishment for her crimes they chained her on the leashed with a heavy iron wheel attached, so no further crimes be committed. And even worse, she still be doing chores for all the people and drag the heavy wheel wherever she goes.

Grace's Revenge
Grace's Revenge

In the final scene where she ordered to kill each one of the town member. Grace have a special instruction for Vera. Grace told the gangster to let Vera watch while killing all her children (like the figurine) first and then her. She will spared them if she can keep her tears back.

In addition to that Grace herself shoot Tom, whom she loved once.

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