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dogtooth (2009) review

If there ever was a film warning against the benefits of homeschooling, then this is it. Family abuse, isolation, sibling rivalry, to name but a few, are explored in Yorgos Lanthimos’s obscure drama Dogtooth (2009). It is a sad story, delving into the power of a manipulative father (Christos Stergiolou), who supported by his wife (Michele Valley), keep their adult children prisoners and in a relentless immature mental state. The family unit inflicts bizarre and strange rituals that go unchallenged by the outside world, with the abuse of the parents so familiar that it is seen as the norm.


It’s a truly original screenplay, which deconstructs and observes the consequences of when adult development is stunted and reversed. The most seemingly insignificant aspects of being human are all called into question. The eldest of the three siblings the ‘older daughter’ (Angeliki Papoulia), becomes more and more discontented and suspicious of her limited life. She represents a type of Eve without her luxurious Eden, who has a deep yearning for more than what is inside the garden wall. She shows how the unconscious human desire to change a way of life, despite little or no hope, can be sparked in any circumstance. Dogtooth leaves us with an open ending, with the fate of the eldest daughter left unknown and the future of the family in jeopardy. This unfinished untwined thread plays the film continuously in your mind, leaving a perturbed and lasting impression.


(Photography: Boo Productions/ Greek Film Centre/ Horsefly Productions)


Dogtooth, 2009 (film), directed by Yorgos LANTHIMOS. Greece: Boo Productions



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