Wade on Birmingham

Sidewalk 2010: Fortress of solitude


Movie review: ‘Dogtooth’

By Jennifer West

Review at a glance: When parents keep children trapped at home for decades, we become sucked into the intriguing yet disturbing world of “Dogtooth.”

Older Daughter (Aggeliki Papoulia), left, and Younger Daughter
(Mary Tsoni) are ready to party in a scene from “Dogtooth.”

Imagine an upbringing where parents purposefully isolate their children from the outside world … for their entire lives. “Dogtooth” is a dark, twisted film that explores this concept, with creepy results.

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture FestivalThe movie screens Sept. 25 at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.

This Greek import (originally called “Kynodontas”) with English subtitles is funny and incredibly interesting, despite the nervous, uneasy tension permeating it. A brother and and his two sisters, left nameless in the movie, reach their late 20s, having never left their parents’ seemingly idyllic home. The couple built a wall around the entire property to protect their children from the evils of the outside world.

Director Giorgos Lanthimos layers his work with subtext about the suppression of free will, but the most engaging part was how these adult children deal with their sexuality. No brother-sister boundaries exist, just basic human needs that must be met.

The universe created by these siblings is disturbing on many levels, but you will not want to look away. This is a reality where airplanes fall from the sky and cats are the enemy, a home where the absurd is borne out of boredom.

“Dogtooth” leaves so many questions unanswered. Why are the parents doing this? Were there really other children? Do any of them escape? But like the best mysteries, sometimes it’s better left to the imagination.

Jennifer WestJennifer West (@thejenwestquest) won the Sidewalk Audience Choice award for her romantic comedy “Piece of Cake” in 2006, which she wrote and directed. She will manage the SideTalk panels at Sidewalk. And her blog, The Jen West Quest, has been featured in Health magazine.

“Dogtooth” will screen at 9:20 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Alabama Theatre.

Video: It’s time to dance, in a scene from “Dogtooth.”

Video: “Dogtooth” trailer

Video: Interview with Giorgos Lanthimos, director of “Dogtooth”


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1 Yip for “Sidewalk 2010: Fortress of solitude”

  1. Christopher Davis
    Thursday, September 23, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the review. This is definitely on my list for Saturday night.

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