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Like many teen films Giorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth opens with a sequence set in a quiet room featuring ored, lank!faced students and an indifferent lecturer. “"ea is the leather arm chair with wooden armrests like the one in the li#ing room.” $nlike many teen films, Dogtooth is in fact set in a surreal, isolated en#ironment in#ented, monitored and controlled y one man: the %ather of three &'ldest, (rother, and )oungest* and hus and of a complicit +other. The si lings ha#e ne#er left home and are told that the outside world is a perilous place. ,nly when one of their canine teeth falls out are they ready to “face the dangers that lurk”. ,kay, Dogtooth is most definitely not a teen film. -hile we aren't gi#en any num ers, the three si lings are pro a ly in their late teens and early twenties. Their world does not e#en remotely resem le the world of a typical teen &or an atypical one* and the content is pro a ly not appropriate for teenage #iewing. This said, the film's i.arre setting and imagery ser#e to o scure, transform and reconte/tuali.e the underlying coming-of-age impulse e/pressed in the film's structure. +any of the film's 01 minutes are de#oted to the de#elopment of the en#ironment and its e/perience y the three si lings, so the story itself is fairly simple. The 'ldest si ling, a young woman and our protagonist, manages to get her hands on 23" copies of 4merican lock usters (Jaws, Rocky IV and Flashdance*. "he does this y lackmailing a female security guard!turned!prostitute chosen y %ather to perform se/ual fa#ors for (rother into secretly gi#ing them to her. "he stays up at night and watches them in secret. 5nspired, she egins to passionately act out scenes from the films in her daily life. %ather disco#ers the tapes and eats her o#er the head with one of them &hopefully Rocky IV*. %ather fires and eats &this time with a 23" player* the security guard and, in order to pre#ent any more outside contact, allows (rother to choose which of his two sisters will replace her. (rother decides on the 'ldest. ,ne night, after #iciously reenacting the climactic dance from Flashdance, she smashes her mouth with a dum ell, dislodging one of her canine teeth, and hides in the trunk of %ather's car. 6oncerned, he dri#es away early the ne/t morning to pick up a tracking dog and parks the
she manages to catch a glimpse. constricting world is esta lished. "he is . -hen she asks +other what a pussy is. she performs oral se/ on the security guard in e/change for a glow!in!the!dark head and that won't glow in the dark. Their directness and simplicity in con#ersation is e#ocati#e. e/citing ways and feels the desire. The second part of the film acts as a kind of re#elation for the 'ldest. where the concerns and realities of the rest of the world are irrele#ant.car outside the dog center. in the form of 4merican cinema. They often resem le. 5n the initial state. Their general mannerisms are #aguely childlike. a false. The protagonist's story can e reduced to three asic parts. 4fter the opening lecture. so this re#elation occurs on a less than conscious le#el. like many children and adolescents do. the kinds of acti#ities associated with re ellious youth. The three si lings eha#e like children throughout the film in su tle ways. to reenact their eha#ior in her world. "he is lied to. "econd. also. 5n this way it actually models childhood. and she is trapped there. na7#e and easy to manipulate. 5n no way is she a le to unra#el the e/tent of the lies she has een told. she is told that it is a large lamp &“the pussy switched off and the room got all dark”*. howe#er. "ome of the lies may sound #aguely familiar to some. and replaced y a far more distur ing clinical efficiency and oredom. of what lies outside her false world. The sickly isolation from the outside world in which she has remained since irth is swiftly roken y 8ocky and his 4merican pals. The initial state resem les a pre!adult e/perience in a num er of ways. %irst. "he sees images of new people acting in strange. of children. socially and culturally remo#ed from the real!world. she takes transformati#e action in order to reak out of the initial state and enter the new world. she is depri#ed of power and the a ility to act. The initial state of the 'ldest is physically. The typical hushed e/citement or per#erted pleasure associated with such acti#ities is a sent. 4t one point. the three make up a pain!sustaining game where whoe#er can hold their finger under hot water the longest is declared the winner. in structure if not spirit. This frustration is e/pressed in some of the si lings' acti#ities during this stage of the film. Third. The film ends with a lingering shot of the closed trunk.
li erates herself from it. which essentially consists of her lea#ing home. were aware that no tooth would naturally fall out of a person's mouth.#ery curious a out this world and egins secretly playing with the telephone. Dogtooth's protagonist takes a dum ell and smashes her mouth with it until she feels like an adult. Ferris ueller!s Day "ff.es it. .ed as a deli erate act of re ellion. interprets it through the demented lens resulting from her isolation from the rest of the world. rhythm and aesthetic. 5n terms of #isual style. some fundamental world!e/panding. The parents. . so they were e/pecting to keep the children there for a long time. another coming!of!age element. the fundamental coming!of!age act in some cultures. Dogtooth ears #irtually no resem lance to cinema's coming!of!age genre!defining classics such as Dazed and Confused. a slow reali. and a particularly dangerous one as far as %ather's system is concerned. The rite of passage takes place as on a mattress. content. 3er loody action at once reaks %ather's system. and transforms her. then. The 'ldest's action can e understood as a kind of self!inflicted rite of passage into adulthood. The 'ldest's Flashdance reenactment is a kind of condensation of the film's asic process 9 she takes a structure &the dance* and deconte/tuali. 5t also #isually signifies the 'ldest's disco#ery of her own #oice. so that the result is far more primal and distur ing &and argua ly funny* than the deri#ati#e form. apart from the one +other and %ather want her to ha#e. "he clearly reali. a arely conscious ut definite shift y the end of the film. e it “:ink” %loyd's quitting foot all or the reakfast clu 's collecti#e growth and transcendence of the social arriers that would stand in the way of their friendship. in her mind.ation. There is a softness to these classics. of course. #he reakfast Clu$. Taking the tapes and watching them. can e characteri.ne important detail here is her rutal self!detoothing. from someone incapa le of sur#i#ing in the world to someone we would call an adult 9 someone who can li#e independently in the real world. 5t is the first act of re ellion that directly leads to the more dramatic one at the end of the film.es that watching these tapes is against the rules as she does it in secret. or e#en Juno% (ut in each of these films. reality!spawning transformation occurs inside the protagonist.
she #iciously performs famous choreography from Flashdance to the horror of the parents.ne night.5n what is argua ly the emotional clima/ of the mo#ie 9 her Flashdance reenactment 9 she "ome inert potential for growth is hinted at when she lackmails the security guard. 5nspired y this fine collection of 4merican cinema. . painful . "he egins to get ored with this arrangement and takes ad#antage of the two sisters. she reaking out of a made!up fantasy world rite of passage. the %ather. she egins acting out scenes and quotations from the films throughout her daily life. during a . Jaws and Flashdance. lackmails the security guard into gi#ing her 23" copies of Rocky IV. gi#ing them #alueless trinkets in return for oral se/. disappointed y the performance of one such trinket &a glow!in!the! dark head and that won't glow in the dark*. The 'ldest. 5t is this 5n order to satisfy his "on's growing li ido. Later that night. 3er %ather disco#ers the tapes and eats her o#er the head with one of them &hopefully 8ocky 52*. who works at a factory set in real!world Greece.oint dance!music recital put on y the si lings. self!incurred. has een hiring the facility's security guard to ha#e se/ with his "on on a regular asis.
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