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    We have been spoon-shovelled by pundits all over the spectrum about how each and every one of them seeks office to save "The American Dream". For many years now I have been pondering this ideal. I have come to believe that this is a dangerous, insular ideal that has made us totally unready to face the 21st century.
    Also during this time, we seem to never receive any idea about what the rest of the world thinks of us. This is a terrible deliberate ignorance if we expect to do trade with them on a rational basis, or allow any feedback on what they think of this American ideal.
    But now comes a film that more than satisfies my expectations. From Greece comes a stunning film, "Dogtooth". It has taken the Greek director Lanthimos to present us with a tale of a family living "The American Dream" to its ultimately purest manifestation,and in doing so brought me images of some of my deepest fears. I will explain.

    "Dogtooth" takes place in a remote family house and garden. This family has a working father,  stay-at-home mother and three children. Even though these three children are entering young adulthood none of them has ever stepped foot beyond the garden boundaries at any time of their lives. This is the very image of the cocooned household we are supposed to revere, the place where we can let the rest of the world go to hell in a basket, but our American cocoons will somehow be exempt from human reality, totally safe within the bubble.
    As my friend and I watched the scenes unfold, slowly and excruciatingly piling on horror after horror, I was not aware of how thoroughly the blood was trickling from my face until after it went off. I put my swimming head in my hands and only then did I feel my frozen clammy cheeks.The final scenes were like getting a powerful backhand upside the head. Another friend is very eager to see it so I get to go through this excruciating experience twice.
   
    If anyone takes up my dare and sees it, try to pay attention not just to what is on the screen, but also to what this absolutely cocooned family lacks. Take note of the major types of mental poverty that stunts these young adults, adults only in the loosest possible meaning of the word. Then think if you really want the next generations to develop along similar lines. This will be the outcomes of following "The American Dream" to its logical conclusion.
    I know Dorothy said at the end of "The Wizard of Oz" that there's no place like home, but she had to get swept to the Land of Oz to discover her courage, her compassion, and her ability to take on dangerous challenges. She may have said she won't go further than her own backyard, but I think she will, or her new-found strengths will atrophy.
    I defy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to overlook this dystopian gem. I believe the actress who plays the oldest "child", her last name is Pappulia (I am ashamed to not remember at this time how to spell her first) should definitely receive some kind of nod for that performance. One note: No one under eighteen is allowed to see this movie. This still did not prevent a few of the "mature" audience members from walking out when the film was not yet half through when I saw it.
    To sum up: In a country where we are supposed to have diverse peoples, of all ages, races, backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, faiths and abilities, I say it is high time that we celebrate diverse American Dreams. To make everybody obsess over reaching the impossible standards of the cult of the family cocoon will inevitably slide us into becoming the "richest" Third World country on Earth. The whole fault will be ours becuse we refused to see the obvious.

Originally posted to Audreybeardsley on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 02:54 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joyful

    After reading the Wiki description of the movie I'm 99.9% sure I couldn't sit through it and I sat through Caligula, more or less in a state of shock, but I sat through it until the final credits rolled.

    With that said, diarist, I have some thoughts on where you're going with this.  We live in an increasingly "smaller" planet made up of diverse people with diverse cultural habits.  Those who "cocoon" - think home schooling - live in their own self-sustained "culture of fear."  They are driven by fear of the outside or other.  Fear defines their lives.  This to me IS the current state of the far right wing of the Republican party.  So invested in homogenous culture, they cocoon themselves and judge other's worthiness solely on the basis of how much they are LIKE "me". The foundation of such thinking is fear.  Fear that "the world"  "the other" IS the demonic boogey-man that resides under the bed.  "Difference" threatens "Same".  More to the point, difference threatens their entire sense of self and their obvious control issues.  

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

    by Dixiedemocrat on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:52:16 PM PST

  •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

    Same, on the surface anyway, is simple.  I find that delusional, as life itself is not simple, but clearly some find it comforting.

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

    by Dixiedemocrat on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 03:54:51 PM PST

  •  I don't think of the old American Dream (0+ / 0-)

    as having anything to do with isolation of families within the larger culture.  It's more about having more for the sake of having more...than others, I suppose.  I checked it out on IMDB, and from the partial synopsis I read, it remind me of "The Village" from a few years ago, with William Hurt.  

  •  Okay Audreybeardsley (0+ / 0-)

    Now you've gone and done it.  This diary has so tickled my brain - I'll have to find and rent the movie.  I'll just close my eyes and plug my ears as compelled.  (I'm a wuss when it comes to violence. Really don't see the appeal or point for instance of the Saw movies).

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

    by Dixiedemocrat on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 08:17:55 PM PST

    •  Not the violence that's disturbing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dixiedemocrat

      Glad you will take up challenge. I think it still is on first theater run. Would it help if I tell you that it wasn't just the violence that caused those moviegoers to walk out? That hadn't happened YET.I'll just say I hadn't had this visceral a reaction to a film since I saw "Grey Gardens". Or "Brother's Keeper". Enjoy.

      •  Pinking shears to a cat (0+ / 0-)

        was cited in Wikipedia. That is horrific to my mind.

        "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Conner

        by Dixiedemocrat on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:09:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Horrible yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

          Stabbing animals is horrific. The point is what these "children" were taught about cats. The lead-up is obvious so you can close your eyes well in time. BUT NOBODY WALKED OUT ON THAT! The three who did walk out the second time I saw it didn't walk out on that scene. I need an article on what they did walk out on. It's one of the things that baffles me about the American character.

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