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Illusions and Emotions
Anticipating the tenth anniversary of Dogma 95 __________________________________________________________________



In March 1995, a group of Danish filmmakers created the Dogma 95 Manifesto. Among other ideas, the Manifesto contained the Vow of Chastity, a list of ten rules, which were aimed at a firm denial of illusions and personal attitude in art.

Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who signed the Manifesto, claimed that they had made up the rules only for themselves; no one had to apply them. But at the same time it is difficult to deny that their text was full of both expressive categorical statements and emotional appeals for rescue actions. Strong and flat words did the job! Dogmas ideas started spreading around the world.

Among advocates of the dogmatic ideas there have always been a lot of photographers. It is no wonder, since the Vow of Chastity can be easily converted into a set of rules and recommendations for photographers. On the other hand, filmmaking itself is based on photography.


What are the crucial ideas of Dogma?

The authors of Manifesto were disappointed with the wave for grabs. Still the question is: can Dogma really prevent grabs?

They claimed the author concept was bourgeois romanticism. But what came first the author or the bourgeois? Are there any essential links between the bourgeoisie and the art? Can the art appear and exist without authors?

In dogmatists opinion, the cinema is based on the bourgeois perception of art. Well, what can be said about that? Yes, a theory can be bourgeois. But the perception is more frequently determined by cultural rather than social aspects.

Dogma rejected predictability and dramaturgy. Any glossing over the truth, any interference in reality was outlawed. But did their own work comply with the rules? In my opinion, no. And small wonder. Art is based on human self-expression. Art is created and developed only through people. If there are no individuals, then there are neither authors, nor viewers; and finally there is no art.

Trickery, individuality, and interests do exist, no doubt. But other things exist too. In addition to pseudo goals, there is self-expression of a creator. It is through self-expression that the true art is created. And self-expression is much more real compared to any other artificial theory.

According to Dogma 95, the movie is not illusion. OK, it may not be illusion. Still, it is far from reality in any case. The movie, similar to any other form of art, is real but subjective. Denying that means denying the existence of authors subjective worlds which are free from self-interest and pride.

The followers of Dogma 95 often say that they are misunderstood. According to such people, any experiments and manipulations are acceptable. But do not call the result a movie or a photograph, they say. But do names matter? Is it that important for an author to classify his or her works correctly? In my opinion, both the author and the viewer have more important problems to solve and more pleasant things to do.

The Manifesto criticizes illusions via which emotions can be communicated. But the criticism is not justified in this case. The medium, via which emotions are communicated, does not matter. The emotions themselves are of greater importance.


The simplest and easiest way of countering any dogma is the declaration of a corresponding anti-dogma.

AntiDogma 2004: MEMORANDUM

AntiDogma 2004 counters Dogma 95, the group that tried to rescue the cinema. We believe the cinema does not need to be rescued, especially in the form that Dogma 95 suggested.

We are not banging our heads against brick walls. We are not banging our fists on the tables either. We do not want to be too categorical. We admit that Dogmaa approach can be reasonable. We only want all Dogmas advocates to admit that other approaches also make sense.

Think over our words. Then make your decision. Reject any ideas somebody wants to foist on you! Nobody but you should make your final choice!

AntiDogmas Vow of Reasonability

1. Shooting can be done with the help of any suitable equipment. Shoot wherever you want. Follow your heart and soul. The true solution is deep inside you.

2. You may add to your pictures anything you want. Music, smells, texts, — anything will do. The main thing to remember is — all those additions should not be done for the sake of trickery and idle experiments. Your soul will tell you what is allowed and what is not.

3. You can use any camera you want.

4. Any type of lighting is acceptable. The picture can be black-and-white or color: it does not matter.

5. Any filters or optical work are allowed. You can use any instruments you want. Why restrict your creativity?

6. Any superficial additions are also allowed. Use anything your soul needs.

7. The art does not take place here and now. The essence of art (in contrast to its form) is in the authors soul and beyond time.

8. Genre pictures are allowed.

9. Choose any film format you want. Digital (or any other) sensors are also welcome.

10. The picture can be either credited or non-credited to its author(s). It does not matter.

Brief conclusions

Dogma 95 is as bourgeois (or revolutionary) as any other modern art declaration. It proved only one thing: if you want to be heard, make a loud and flat statement.

The advocates of Dogma swore to act at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations. But they overlooked the fact that their declarations are nothing else but yet another aesthetic conception. One of many others.

Of course, Dogma is an interesting trend with great potential. Still, many other trends are also important. Do not get caught in Dogmas trap. Make your own reasonable choice.

Do not allow any far-fetched rules to limit your creativity! Listen to your heart.
Think and give way to emotions! Only then you can get a chance!

May the Luck be with you!

Moscow, December 13-16, 2004


* * *



1. Dogme 95 Manifesto.

2. Miltos Manetas. Neen Dogma of Painting. It is quite easy to parody the Dogma's texts. This attempt was made by Miltos Manetas in the occasion of the 50th Venice Biennial. If you wish, you may try to write your own Dogma. I believe, it will be fun.



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