Entrance to Dogville, the storyline:
Dogville, a little township of United State, named and existed beside the rocky mountain “Dogville”. The little town is maybe legendary or maybe not, but it doesn’t matter anything particular here, because town is a town and could exist elsewhere in the world, —as Dogville existed with its high altitude, sidelong road (actually the road is ended here), forlorn (actually abandoned) silver mine, apple gardens and little number of residents. The town is a minute in size where life goes on dawn-to-dusk to follow the monotonous clock-ticks. Dogville exists here with its honest and peaceful folks; it exits far behind the restless rampage of life… existed here as modest, peaceful and truly silent for the absence of any nuisance.
The little residence exists here with its ramshackle houses, a one-way narrow main street, a community hall and having the good faith on God almighty. People know each other more than their own, where one knows what’s going to the other’s mind. The little town, maybe fictional and perhaps not, goes on by staid church’s bell, soft radio tune, retarded musical beat and settled chatting of the folks in daily evening.
One day the peaceful member of the town Tom (a little dreamer with intellectualism that one day he will complete his novel about Dogville’s modesty and goodness to prove that goodness be still today due to the presence of anarchy and nuisance in this toxic world.) suddenly confronted a beautiful fugitive woman in the main street. She came here to chase by the mobs (her father be the leader of the criminal gangs). The fugitive woman, named Grace, suddenly stumbled here to hide herself from the evildoers, protect herself from the provocative badness she experienced a lot in before.
Dogville was a little rocky town, where once the strange goodness exists like a stranger, and one day, by the sudden moment of danger, Dogville vanished in vain…
Tom, the young lad and (self-declared) moral guardian of Dogville agreed to protect Grace from the mobs to give her a shelter and told detail about the moral goodness of the town. The citizens of the town first raise their objection about Grace and then welcomed her under certain condition that, she will have proved herself that she is fit for the moral standards of the town carry on. Grace consented that she will do they wanted to be. The story actually begins there.
Doubt and contradiction between goodness and badness essentially begins there. Grace experienced a bizarre action of human benevolence and gradually realized that she is victimized now even worse than the previous mobs-oriented life style, where the definition of moral standard (and the philosophical views) recurrently altered by the events happening in the city. Grace received (and victimized) the same absurd reality of selfishness, animosity, cruelty, perversion, ugliness, lustful desires and disloyalty (especially from Tom) from the Dogville’s citizens.
Dogville stands beside the rocky peak of ethical goodness, kindheartedness, benevolence… the small city stands within the safeguard of altruism (with pride) that it is altruist… and the same town incurred and fallen to self-centered altruism with all kind of demonic negativity.
Dogville is the story of duality to find the ultimate boundary of goodness and be the badness too. Does goodness exist today, or is it true that it never existed in elsewhere? What is the real definition of morality? Does any real definition exist over there? Is it an apparent consolation of our mind to prove that we’ve moral standards to serve the humanity? Dogville raised question and controversy and perhaps it is a never-ending quest for all human.
Dogville stands beside the rocky peak of ethical goodness, kindheartedness, benevolence…
However, Lars Von Trier, the stylish, experimental, poetic, philosophical, surreal, introvert and to opposite the “outspoken negative” answered this all to destroy the Dogville’s citizens (even the little children, cause, they’re also carries the same burden of ethical lapse and misery) by the mobs.
What did he do is correct? The answer could be many and struggles with the dual. Except the feeling that, Dogville was a little rocky town, where once the strange goodness exists like a stranger, and one day, by the sudden moment of danger, Dogville vanished in vain… to left the penance that, here once a gracious and benevolent town exists, carried the cruelty in its unconscious mind.
Film Quote: Two people only hurt each other if they doubt the love they have for one another. (Tom to Grace)
Self-disputation: Is it true that universal love yet or even before existed in the world? How “One” can love all the “Other” if he (or she) failed to love him first and then his most desired “One”, whom he wanted to love? If he failed to love his most desired “One” (in spite of his agony and doubt and lot negative feeling to the beloved), how could he examined that he is able to love “each and everybody”!
Personal love is the first entrance for him to examine the power of love, that, he can define the loveliest color of love, can define the hurting color of love, and does know how to treat and differentiate one color to another as “personal” and the “universal”.
Love to all could never exist except the presence of “personal love making” to each other. Doubt is the part of this game and lacking it feeling of love can never ripened, never be reaches to the destination that love deserved doubt-and-pain for its own maturity.
Film Quote: Whether Grace left Dogville, or on the contrary Dogville had left her – and the world in general – is a question of a more artful nature that few would benefit from by asking, and even fewer by providing an answer. And nor indeed will it be answered here. (Narrator’s commentary)
Self-disputation: The answer depend on my (in that case Grace) association with other. I’m not coming here my own will, even I never know that I’ll be coming here. My entrance to the life not happened or depended on to my own consent that I wanted to come here.
I’m coming here to feel the desire of this two persons who once loved, once desired and copulating for me. If my association with “Other” not makes any crucial contradiction, if my “Self-interest” (suppose Grace’s interest to live here to save her soul from the mobs) do not bothering other’s “Self-interest” (suppose Dogville’s citizens) in that case I could exist here, otherwise “exit” is the best policy to survive.
None in this world waits for anybody. We come here alone to satisfy the “self desire” and we bound to “Exit” alone to the last. Relation and association with society are impermanent, depended on lot of “self purposeful” equations. Even though I’m not coming here as to my own will, but the decision of stay or exit not depended on to other (like Dogville’s citizens), it has to be decided by mine, and this is life.
Film Quote: Chuck: … I’m not that stupid anymore. I’ve found out that people are the same all over. Greedy as animals. In a small town, they’re just a bit less successful. Feed ’em enough, they’ll eat until their bellies burst.
Grace: That’s why you want to get rid of me… Because you can’t stand that I remind you of what it was you came here to find. (After Chuck sees Grace teaching his kids)
Self-disputation: It’s not like that the people are same all over, but the desires they hide in their mind, is common in everywhere. Not like that desires are same all over, but the struggle to serve the self-interest is common in everywhere. It’s not like that the struggle is same in else anywhere, but the pattern of self-purpose is general in everywhere. Not like that the self-purpose is same in everywhere, but the event and action of body-biology are same in every corner. Event and action is not same in each corner of the globe, but the pattern of progress is utmost same in the globe. And, the progress is not same in all where, but the historic survival is obedient to carry the same demand that, desire increased when progress increased beyond the border.
Film Quote: I believe smashing them is less a crime than making them. I am going to break two of your figurines first, and if you can demonstrate your knowledge of the Doctrine of Stoicism by holding back your tears, I’ll stop. (Vera to Grace about Dogville’s citizens)
Self-disputation: None can make anybody perfect for goodness or benevolence. It depends on everybody’s self-perception and self-cognition. Smashing “other” is not a good idea at all. That means you judge yourself “Morally Superior” in context of “others”. What’s the guaranty that your morality is universally standard for benevolence, for goodness and generosities, which is effectual for all to live an altruistic life? Who could ensure that your moral standard for smashing “Other” (who is evildoer and less moral you think) is ovenproof? You needed to judge your own morality before smashing the “others”.
Everybody in this world is “Self responsible” for his action. Possibly it is good for “others” and maybe the bad, but law is universal here, every single person is “one and only” be the responsible for his action. He is not come here to make anybody perfect or ethical, he come here to serve his own “ethical vision” first. One can (who think his morality is better than the “others” are) share his views and thoughts about his own “ethical vision”, but cannot force the “others” to follow it.
Stoic, Epicurean, Confucian and Taoist philosophy not forced anybody to follow their “ethical vision”, but practiced it by self, to think that it could help “others” to make their life peaceful. Stoic Epictetus (who was a slave in Roman Empire’s era) had his own morality to having aloof in all condition, whatever be anything (good or bad) happened to him. His master once started to wring his leg for trivial mistake. Epictetus told him in nonchalant tone, “be careful my master, it’ll break at any moment.” When the leg is broken, Epictetus said to his master (despite his dreadful pain) in the same casual tone, “Am I not told you before that it’ll kaput. Now see, that is happened.”
Patience, fortitude, resistance, sustain… these words are synonymous also be personal in the context of “self realization”, “self medication” and “self-determination” to consider that “what I’m doing for myself, is it right or not, and hurting or making problem for anybody or not.” Ethical superiority means “self-criticism” for questing “self identity”, rather to judge or repair “others” own ethical burden.
Even though, yeah, smashing could have permitted or justified if anybody’s action victimized the “other” (who was perhaps innocent and not deserved the action), but it is necessary to justify first that victim was truly innocent.
Film Quote: I want to make this world a little better. (Grace)
Self-disputation: Hope is positive by wistfulness but reality is negative here. None can make the world better or worse. World is as it is… alive, eventful and vibrant with all its machineries to wheeling the chariot. In micro, it could be considered better or worse, but in macro world is just as it is. The grand nature and giant lifetree is impartial about good bad and ugly. One can wish to make it better but depends on the recognition that, what he or she does mean the “doing better”.
Film Quote: I think the world would be better without Dogville. (Grace)
Self-disputation: Wrong. Everything in this world is interchained with extreme goodness and be the badness. Pretension of goodness by hiding the badness is a crime indeed (which Dogville’s citizen did to Grace), but it depends on the action of goodness you are going to entail. The Dogvilleans were unconscious about their evildoer desires, because it was not tested or needed before until the arrival of Grace in here. What they did after it was they just follow the basic principle of human nature, which reflexes the truth that presence of high morality is absurd and unrealistic as like the vile morality.
Morality is relative in context of “Self Interest”, “Self Desire”, “Self Gratification” and lots other natural instincts of human. Grace imposed her own moral standard here before to justify it legal or not. Her action is more heinous (despite the unsought unbearable torture the Dogvilleans gave to her) than Tom, because, Tom was unconscious about his capacity of doing bad things, before Grace’s arrival.
Morality is a usable tool to repair the cleft of social decorum, so that it could livable and be usable, but dreaming an “evil free town” just echoed the Utopian heaven, we’re not evolved here to living a Utopian heaven, we come here to confronts with the hostile that, “nothing is easy here as we like we dreams”
Moral: Destruction is not the possible solution. It’s important to understand the bad, so we can agree that bad could exist even when we wished to doing good for our own “self” and perhaps to the “others”.