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Every Monday the Journey with Jesus posts a new essay based upon the Biblical Lectionary, a film review, a book review, and a poem or prayer.

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The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

Dogtooth (2009) — GreeceDogtooth (2009) — Greece

I can't recommend this film due to its graphic depictions of incest, nor am I necessarily glad that I watched it. Nonetheless, it's been nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign film, and at Cannes in 2009 it won the "Prix Un Certain Regard." Within the walls of their isolated estate in rural Greece, a father exercises total mind control over his three teenage children (a son and two daughters). He's the only one allowed to leave the compound. In vocabulary lessons the children learn that the "sea" is a "leather chair." They play games to earn stickers, and think planes fall from the sky. They're taught to bark like a dog at a kitten, "the most dangerous animal on the planet." There are hints that a tragic accident led to their sick seclusion, but the horrible pathologies are nevertheless treated as normal. "If you stay inside," says the father, "you will be protected." In many frames the bodies of the characters are cropped, and we never learn anyone's name — which is to say that these people have lost their human identities. In Greek with English subtitles.