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Film | Village Voice




The IFC’s von Trier retro winds up with Jesper Jargil’s The Humiliated—an on-set documentary of The Idiots shot with a digital camcorder and described by its maker as “a day in von Trier’s puppet theater.” Making his own Dogme film about the making of von Trier’s, Jargil includes audiotapes of von Trier’s on-set rantings as well as the spectacle of the artist’s idiocy, directing without trousers and convulsed with laughter at his own mischief. In promoting this tribute however, the master may have upstaged himself. Like Burden of Dreams, the Les Blank account of “Jungle Werner” Herzog’s travail-laden Fitzcarraldo, The Humiliated is more powerful than the movie it documents—more successfully Dogmatic and dramatic (almost a “reality” version of The Blair Witch Project). The Humiliated makes clear that, albeit an elaborate metaphor for filmmaking, von Trier’s film was basically a form of guerrilla theater, that is, a pretext to make something happen in life; ending amid the detritus of the shoot, it strongly intimates that The Idiots was a failed experiment.

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