Dogme95 – A filmmaking movement


In the present world of high tech sci-fi flicks and commercial films with industry professionals and stars, Dogme95 is a film movement of great traditional significance and yet little known about. A great mass of the population would agree if I would have to say that the movies of the early era are bland compared to modern movies. The reason is simple and straight in front of our eyes. Old age movies lacked editing, effects and props amongst other qualities that make them less interesting as compared to modern movies for the present day audience. Dogme95 is a filmmaking movement initiated in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Dogme95 hopes to instil simplicity in filmmaking in an equal platform where emphasis is laid on the script and acting. It hence, gives a fair chance to the low budget movies and financially struggling filmmakers. It does not account for any special effects or gimmicks. Dogme95 is a common platform for world cinema of equal prominence.

Some of the notable Dogme films are

Dogme#1: Festen (Denmark), Dogme#2: Idioterne (Denmark), Dogme#5: Lovers (France), Dogme#9: Babylon (Sweden), Dogme#14: Joy Ride (Switzerland), Dogme#29: The Bread Basket (USA) , amongst a total of around 40 odd titles.


This fore-guarded movement relies on a set of rules, called the Vow of Chastity, which are as follows:

  • Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
  • The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot).
  • The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes place).
  • The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
  • Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  • The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  • Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
  • Genre movies are not acceptable.
  • The film format must be Academy 35mm film.
  • The director must not be credited.

Only a film conformed to these rules is considered as a Dogme95 film. It makes one aware of the value of overproduction and highlights on the importance of narration, storyline and acting, which are the root of a movie. Hence, an Assamese Dogme95 film can be compared to any international Dogme95 film, as they share the same platform and are unbiased. But it is sad to see that this concept travelled so far around and so near home, (Korea adopted it in Dogme#7: Interview) we don’t yet have a single Indian Dogme95 film. So, if you have a great initiative and idea, but lack the money, goes for the creation of a Dogme95 and the nation will be all kudos to you!


Spondan Bora

Engineering graduate, movie freak, writer.

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