Dogme95 Films — A Guide to the Movement

A list of Dogme95 films and an explanation of what they are about.

This is a film from the Dogme95 movement.
Still from The Celebration or Festen (1998) by Thomas Vinterberg.

Although many would claim that better technology has led to better filmmaking, the four Danish directors who founded the Dogme95 movement (the word dogme is Danish for “dogma”) strongly disagreed. They felt that bloated production budgets along with endless special effects obscured the essence of filmmaking, which was to show real humans in real trouble and to let the director, rather than the studio, take artistic prominence.

Starting off with Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, the quartet of directors who sought a simpler mode of filmmaking was rounded out with Kristian Levring and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen. Together they filmed what is known as the Dogme95 Collective or the Dogme Brethren.

They announced their movement in March 1995 at a film conference in Paris. Ten years later, after producing nearly three dozen films, the movement broke up.

In order to have one’s film certified as Dogme95-compliant, directors had to follow ten strict rules:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.)
  3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
  4. The film must be in color. 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.)
  5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
  8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
  9. The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
  10. The director must not be credited.
Dogme95 cofounder Thomas Vinterberg discusses “The Rules.”

While signing off on these rules, would-be directors would also have to consent to the following “vow of chastity”:

“Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste! I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a ‘work,’ as I regard the instant as more important than the whole. My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations. Thus I make my VOW OF CHASTITY.”

Since they could not depend on a dazzling soundtrack or mind-bending special effects, directors of Dogme95 films tended to focus on uncomfortable themes such as infidelity, incest, and mental retardation.

Here is a list of all 35 Dogme95 films in the order they were released.

#1: Festen (1998)

Denmark • Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

Although Dogme95 cofounder Thomas Vinterberg initially said he felt this film (“Festen” is Danish for “celebration”) was a failure, he changed his mind after it received a 15-minute standing ovation and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The plot hinges around a 60th-birthday celebration for a family patriarch that’s held at a castle. The father’s oldest daughter had recently committed suicide. When he asks his oldest son to say a few words in her memory at a family banquet, the son accuses his father of sexually abusing both he and his sister and speculates that this is why his sister killed herself. For the rest of the “celebration,” the family attempts to ignore what the oldest son said, carrying on as if nothing had happened and no illusions had been shattered. Vinterberg would “confess” to breaking two Dogme95 rules when he admitted to covering a window in one scene, meaning he used both a “prop” and “artificial lighting.” Roger Ebert writes, “It’s a tribute to ‘The Celebration’ that the style and the story don’t stumble over each other. The script is well planned, the actors are skilled at deploying their emotions, and the long day’s journey into night is fraught with wounds that the farcical elements only help to keep open.”

#2: Idioterne (1998)

Denmark • Directed by Lars von Trier

As a demented form of ongoing performance art, a gaggle of perfectly functional young adults enter public spaces and pretend to be mentally retarded. It’s apparently some sort of muted statement of how society quashes creativity and intelligence, but it seems as if the group’s main goal is to annoy and disgust as many innocent bystanders as they can. The film was written in only four days in accordance with the Dogme95 Manifesto, although Von Trier later admitted that he broke one of the rules by using soundtrack music. At the Cannes Film Festival, British film critic Mark Kermode was ejected from the preview after he began loudly shouting “il est merde!” (“this is shit!”) at the screen.

#3: Mifunes Sidste Sang (1998)

Denmark • Directed by Søren Kragh-Jacobsen

Taking its title from the first name of Japanese actor Toshiro Mufine, the film alters its storyline so that one character dresses up as a samurai named “Mifune” to amuse his mentally challenged brother. The plot revolves around a newly married man named Kresten, who is forced to move back from Copenhagen to a small island farm after his father dies. Kresten also needs help taking care of his mentally disabled brother Rud on the farm. But the only person who answers an ad he placed in a local newspaper looking for help is a prostitute named Liva, who’s being stalked via phone by an anonymous psycho. Reel Views writes, “Consider this the Dogma 95 version of Rain Man….The key to applying Dogma 95 is to use it on the right films—movies centered on character development and relationship building which can benefit from being underproduced. Mifune, like The Celebration, is a perfect example, and, as long as the market isn’t suddenly flooded by Dogma 95 candidates, these kinds of films offer an alternative to the styles we’re used to.”

#4: The King Is Alive (2000)

Denmark • Directed by Kristian Levring

A tourist bus in Africa’s Namibian desert gets lost and runs out of gas, stranding the survivors in the middle of an abandoned German mining station and with no clue how to survive. The only passenger who has any experience in desert living is named Jack (Miles Anderson), and when he leaves the group to go to solicit help, he tells them there are five things you need to survive in the desert: water, food, shelter, making yourself visible, and keeping yourself in a good mood—in that order. While Jack is away, one member of the group suggests they put on an impromptu performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear to keep everyone in a good mood. Roger Ebert writes, “In ‘The King Is Alive,’ the Dogma approach helps the film look like what might have resulted if one of the characters had used a digital camera. It has the same relationship to a commercial film that their production of ‘King Lear’ has to a conventional staging. It’s built from raw materials, needs and memories, instead of off-the-shelf parts from the movie store.”

#5: Lovers (1999)

France • Directed by Jean-Marc Barr

In the first Dogme film not directed by a Dane, a Yugoslavian artist named Dragan enters a Parisian bookshop in search of a tome about the Italian painter Rossetti. It is there that he meets Jeanne, who works part-time at the bookstore. They fall in love almost instantly. But he keeps one crucial secret from her—he’s in the country illegally. One night when he gets into some drunken trouble and is arrested by police, the secret is revealed, to Jeanne’s horror. She must decide whether she loves him enough to forgive his deception—and he only has three days before being reported.

#6: Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

USA • Directed by Harmony Korine

Transgressive director Harmony Korine modeled the character of Julien after his schizophrenic Uncle Eddie, who met up with actor Ewen Brenner before Brenner assumed the title role as a schizophrenic named Julien. Legendary German director Werner Herzog portrays Julien’s sadistic father. Chloe Sevigny—who was Harmony Korine’s girlfriend at the time—plays Julien’s pregnant sister, who likely was impregnated by Julien. Much of Julien’s time is spent pretending he’s talking on the phone with his dead mother. The film took only 25 days to shoot, during which Korine compiled 86 hours’ worth of footage. At first he whittled it down to six and a half hours. An editor finally chopped the rest down to 101 minutes. As part of his Dogme “confession,” Korine admitted he’d used “props”—an imported can of cranberries from a local supermarket and a pillow under Chloe Sevigny’s blouse to simulate pregnancy. Korine said that while Sevigny wasn’t pregnant during filming, “I did try, though.”

#7: Interview (2000)

Korea • Directed by Daniel H. Byun

Very little is known about this, the only Asian film in the Dogme95 canon. The plot roughly revolves around a documentarian who falls in love with a female interview subject while he’s quizzing her about her relationship with her boyfriend. An IMDb reviewer writes, “It had interviews, as the name of the movie suggested, and the interviews were regarding the love life of some random individuals, some interviews were quite odd and they didn’t add taste to the movie, but the movie was circled around the two persons, the director and the assistant in beauty parlor.”

#8: Fuckland (2000)

Argentina • Directed by Jose Luis Marques

Filmed clandestinely while on vacation in the Falkland Islands as the two principal characters and the five-person crew attempted to blend in with other tourists, Fuckland tells the bizarre story of Fabian, a Buenos Aires-based magician who scrimps and saves to take a weeklong trip to the Falkland Islands with the sole purpose of impregnating a British woman—any British woman. Fabian argues that if five hundred Argentinians did this yearly, the islands will no longer be dominated demographically by the British. While vacationing, he falls in love with a British Falklander named Camilla. They have drinks, dinner, and then go for some rudimentary sightseeing. When he returns to the mainland, Fabian receives a final message from Camilla while he’s editing his Dogme95 film. All of the film’s “extras” were real Falkland Islanders. The only two actors in entire production were the two leads.

#9: Babylon (2001)

Sweden • Directed by Vladan Zdravkovic

Initially intended as an extremely elaborate intertwining narrative project where eleven separate stories delicately interweave, the filmmaker was only able to complete two of the stories. One of the completed stories, Babylon – North Cap, tells of three exchange students dealing with the rigors of living in a foreign country. The other story that was completed is called Keep Walking. According to an IMDb reviewer, “The film has several different openings and several endings. The film is constructed and told in such a way that you are constantly able to switch between stories and plots. This film is Dogme-made all the way around—from the direction, to the editing, and especially the different storytelling that is never found in Hollywood.”

#10: Chetzemoka’s Curse (2000)

USA • Directed by Maya Berthoud, Dave Nold, and Marlon Schmidt

Director Maya Berthoud also stars as Marie, a woman in her early 20s who is saddled with guilt for betraying her first love. When she finds a job in a small-town hotel, she seduces a middle-aged man named Steve (Stephen W. Gillard) to abandon his wife and children and take her on a trip to Thailand. In the end, everyone—including a homeless street musician—comes to the realization that there is no worse betrayal than betraying oneself.

#11: Diapason (2001)

Italy • Directed by Antonio Domenici

Translated in English as Tuning Fork, this is another one of the Dogme canon for which there is nearly no information. The only “review” available of it online comes from this comment on Letterboxd: “The thought of watching an unsubtitled Dogme film sounded like a painful experience which is why I have been putting it off for as long….I wish I put it off for a little longer. ‘Diapason’ was about as painful as I expected it to be and I have a sneaking suspicion that even if it was subtitled, it would still be stinky garbage….From what I was able to piece together it seems like a film is being made, the director loves Fellini, a guy has a pill problem, some boring actor melodrama, some guys carry a drunk chick home… thats all I got from this film, like I said…it’s stinky garbage.”

#12: Italiensk For Begyndere (2000)

Denmark • Directed by Lone Scherfig

Translated as Italian for Beginners, this film tells the story of six people in a small and wealthy suburban Danish town who take a beginner’s course in the Italian language in the hopes of finding their one true love. Director Lone Scherfig said the Dogme restrictions actually helped her focus on the creative process because it eliminated some of the time-consuming and extraneous trifles of film production. However, it was later revealed that Sherfig had plagiarized part of the plot from a novel called Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. Lars Von Trier also complained that the film violated Dogme rules by being a formulaic romantic comedy with a resolved ending. Regardless, this became the highest-grossing Danish film of all time. Roger Ebert writes, “‘Italian for Beginners’ is a charming Danish comedy, and the fact that it’s a Dogma film has little to do with its appeal. Yes, like all Dogma films, it’s shot on video, on location, with only music found at the source–but so what? You see how Dogma changes the subject. What is appealing about it, the freshness and quirkiness of its characters and their interlinked stories, has nothing to do with Dogma–although, of course, lower costs may have helped it get made.”

#13: Amerikana (2001)

USA • Directed by James Merendino

Produced in 2001 but not released until 2007, this is sort of an update/homage of 1969’s road-trip classic Easy Rider. When a philosophy student named Peter (Michael Goorjian) is dumped by his Danish girlfriend in LA, a friend of his named Chris (James Duval) invites him to travel along to South Dakota to pick up a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he’d inherited from a recently deceased uncle. When they get to South Dakota, though, it’s only a Vespa scooter, but they decide to hop on its tiny frame and travel the country to discover what makes Americans tick. Dennis Schwartz Reviews writes, “Amerikana is a road movie much like Easy Rider except more quirky, funny and grungy.”

#14: Joy Ride (2000)

Switzerland • Directed by Martin Rengel

Released in Swiss German as Usfahrt, this drama film is uses a gritty documentary style to retell the real-life story of a 19-year-old girl who’d killed herself in Zurich in 1992. The suicide garnered a lot of media attention in Switzerland because the girl had been a member of an exclusive clique that gradually pushed her out of the gang through acts of verbal and physical abuse. Only one member of the group initially expressed reluctance to abuse the girl, but he was sorely overruled. In keeping with the Dogme rules, amateur actors played nearly all parts, but the film transgressed the Manifesto with its use of a musical soundtrack.

#15: Camera (2000)

USA • Directed by Rich Martini

The basic plot of the film follows the trail of a DV camera that gets stolen from a video store and winds up making its way around the world through a series of different owners. Not much else is available about the film. On IMDb, there’s a single comment by someone who claims to be the director. It reads:

“This is my film. I took the camera on the trip around the world, and the film only cost me $300 to make. I submitted it to the dogme95 group in Denmark because it had all the earmarks of a dogme film – no special lighting, no extra sound, no costumes, makeup – not a genre film per se – and they sent me the certificate. I’d like to clarify that neither Oliver Stone nor Jack Nicholson appear in this film – they’re look alikes that do a hell of an impersonation. That’s the magic of this film – you don’t know if what you’re looking at is what you’re seeing. Especially the sequence with Carol Alt – and it really is Carol Alt – but it’s an incident that actually happened to her in real life, and she’s quite brilliant doing the improv that we did, the first take, in Santa Monica. The second take some guy came over and knocked me down for harassing her. That was pretty funny. But WARNING – this is a movie hobbled together, shot on DV camera, and done for $300. It looks like it was made for $300. Please don’t be disappointed by the cheezy quality. That was the idea. I want to inspire anyone who has a DV camera to pick the dang thing up and make your own movie! Rich Martini.”

#16: Bad Actors (2000)

USA • Directed by Shaun Monson

Shot in Burbank, CA over the course of a single day, the only actor in the film who was given a script was the instructor of an acting class, who was played by Cissy Wellman. The other actors were unaware of the film’s nature, or even of the fact that a film was being made, and they merely responded to Wellman’s requests to work with whatever premises she gave them to test their improvisational skills. The film’s comedic value is wrangled from the specter of inexperienced actors flailing at their attempts to improvise. Director Shaun Monson never released the film, though. He said his only goal was to see if a comedy could be made while adhering to Dogme95 guidelines, which he says he accomplished.

#17: Reunion (2001)

USA • Directed by Leif Tilden

Somewhat in the vein of the first Dogme95 tilm Festen as well as more mainstream reunion films such as The Big Chill and The Return of the Secaucaus Seven, this movie tracks five friends and two others who return to Ojai, CA for a 20-year class reunion. The San Francisco Chronicle writes, “True, first-time feature director Leif Tilden shot without artificial lights, tripods or post-dubbed music. True, he tosses in those silly shots where the camera operator runs after the subject, producing an image so bouncy and erratic that one could get sick looking at it….But Dogma, it’s not….‘Reunion’ tries hard, means well, but makes a big mistake in believing that cheap production values automatically bestow integrity.”

#18: Et Rigtigt Menneske (2001)

Denmark • Director: Åke Sandgren

Released in English as Truly Human, this Danish Dogme film centers on a seven-year-old girl named Lisa (Line Kruse) and an imaginary friend she refers to only as “P” (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who lives behind wallpaper in her bedroom. When he summons the courage to leave his fantasy world and enter the real world as a real human, however, he winds up at a refugee center, where he is dogged with accusations that he is a child molester.

#19: Når Nettene Blir Lange (2000)

Norway • Directed by Mona J. Hoel

Released in English as Cabin Fever, this is another Dogme reunion film in the vein of Festen and Reunion. This time around, it’s Christmas in Norway and family members rent a small log cabin—too small, actually, to fit all the family members that are coming from as far away as Poland—and everyone starts getting in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves, especially once the liquor starts flowing. The worst offender of the bunch happens to be the family patriarch, whose true abusive nature slips out once he gets a few shots of alcohol in him.

#20: Strass (2001)

Belgium • Directed by Vincent Lannoo

In the same vein as Bad Actors except for the fact that this film was actually relased, the title refers to legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg. Pierre LeKeux stars as an acting teacher named Pierre Radowsky, who is being filmed by a documentary crew. During a one-on-one teaching session between Pierre and a female student, the sexual tension becomes to strong for anyone to ignore.

#21: En Kærlighedshistorie (2001)

Denmark • Directed by Ole Christian Madsen

Released in English as Kira’s Reason: A Love Story, this Dogme film revolves around Kira and Mads, a couple who had already been married for a long time when Mads had Kira confined to a mental institution for two years. The movie starts as she’s returning to her husband and two kids after her long stint in the asylum. She is a bit shellshocked to be back in the real world and doesn’t always handle things, including jealousy, very well. The test for Mads is whether he loves Kira enough to overlook all of her problems. The AV Club writes, “The 21st film to receive official Dogme certification, and one of the few unharmed by its minimalist limitations, Ole Christian Madsen’s powerful Kira’s Reason: A Love Story could be the undercard to A Woman Under The Influence, John Cassavetes’ seminal study of a marriage and mental illness…the film has the edgy nerve of a classic amour fou, charting a complex relationship with the sort of bumpy, unpredictable spirit that would do Cassavetes proud.”

#22: Era Outra Vez (2000)

Spain • Directed by Juan Pinzás

Released in English as Once Upon Another Time, this is the first of three Dogme-certified films by Juan Pinzás, the only director to notch three titles in the genre. It is yet another reunion film in which a group of former journalism students decide to reconvene ten years after graduating. Although none of them has experienced any significant trauma or setbacks in the intervening years, they quickly realize that none of them is happy, either—and a weekend together will only make things worse. A reviewer for IMDb writes, “It’s a fascinating look at the life of Spanish yuppies in the lush mountain area of Northern Spain. The characters are quite diverse, and well developed through the film, which takes place over the course of one summer weekend.”

#23: Resin (2001)

USA • Directed by Vladimir Gyorski

A drug dealer gets arrested, assaulted in jail, and receives his first felony conviction. Upon his release, he promises that he will make only one final drug deal and get a fresh start. However, he was unprepared for exactly how brutal and unforgiving the legal system is, and he winds up getting crushed under its gears. A reviewer for IMDb writes, “Resin…is an example of the movement at its best….In Resin, the Dogme technique of apparent cinematic artlessness, paradoxically, has itself become art, while the practices employed in the destruction of movie illusion have created a far more complex illusion: the sense that we have somehow come to know and to lament as real, a young man who exists only on film.”

#24: Security, Colorado (2001)

USA • Directed by Andrew Gillis

In Andrew Gillis’s debut film, Karen Felber stars as Karen, who relocates to the small town of Security, CO to be with her boyfriend Paul. She dreams of becoming a writer but settles for an apartment and a job in a record store. When she sees someone shoplifting in the store, she doesn’t report them but instead attempts to befriend them. But it quickly becomes apparent that Karen will find no security in Security, CO. A reviewer for IMDb writes, “Andrew Gillis’s film is great for its intimate documentation of one person’s struggle to understand, find, and discover the love- energy, the river that makes his protagonist feel the ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ of her life.”

#25: Converging With Angels (2002)

Denmark • Directed by Michael Sorenson

A man named Dylan Thomas—no, not the famous poet from whom musician Bob Dylan cribbed his name—is a high-paid male escort whose life goes into a rapid downward spiral the night he decides to take a young woman home that he’s found passed-out drunk on the street. The girl, Allison, is a street urchin who is flattered at Dylan’s attention. They form a fledgling romance despite the fact that Dylan’s working hours are consumed by him having sex with strangers of both genders in random motel rooms. Their relationship is sweet and fragile and depends on them both ignoring the pain and turmoil that leaches into every other aspect of their lives.

#26: The Sparkle Room (2001)

USA • Directed by Alex McAulay

All that is known of this film is that it was directed by Alex McAuley, who went on to write and produce the film Flower (2017). Along with Come Now, it is the most obscure of all Dogme95 films.

#27: Ikke Udsent

USA • No Director Listed

Although the title translates as Come Now, it is unknown who directed it. It is also the only film on the the Dogme95 website that has absolutely no information about it other than the fact that it was produced in the USA.

#28: Elsker Dig For Evigt (2002)

Denmark • Director: Susanne Bier

Released in English as Open Hearts although the Danish title literally translates to Love You Forever, this uncomfortable romantic drama centers around a woman whose fiance is paralyzed in a car accident. The woman then falls in love with the driver who caused the accident. The movie won several major Danish film awards and was Denmark’s entry for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars. It broke a few Dogme rules: The blood used in the accident scene was theatrical blood, fantasy scenes were filmed in Super-8, and a ThermaCAM device was used during filming. A reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “In addition, director Susanne Bier has elected to make this a ‘Dogme’ film, meaning that she adhered to ‘strict technical guidelines’ that are a reaction to ‘artistically contrived films.’ That means no artificial light, sound or props. Unfortunately, in this case the result is a movie that is dark, echoing and bleak. The sound quality is especially noticeable with the actors’ footsteps booming on wooden floors because the microphones have to be turned up to catch dialogue. Even Bier admits that the sound was “difficult and restrictive.’”

#29: The Bread Basket (2002)

USA • Director: Matthew Biancniello

Very little is known about this film beyond the fact that it is about a man who is obsessed with eating—particularly his stomach and digestive system and the way they seem to be obstacles to achieving a happy and loving life. A reviewer for Letterboxd says, “I never expected to see a Dogme film worse than ‘Camera’ but ‘The Breadbasket’ takes the cake… literally. ‘The Breadbasket’ is about an aspiring actor with an eating disorder… except he doesn’t actually have an eating disorder and is instead extremely delusional….No matter how much the guy stuffs himself he never puts on weight and by the end of the film he ends up cutting his stomach off… well actually he gently slices a knife across his stomach a couple of times then dies, his wounds look like paper cuts. ‘The Breadbasket’ is easily the worst Dogme 95 film and one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.”

#30: Dias de Boda (2002)

Spain • Director: Juan Pinzas

In the second of Juan Pinzas’s three Dogme-certified films, Sonia (Comba Campoy) is a publisher’s daughter who’s engaged to Rosendo (Monti Castiñeiras), a young writer with possibly closeted homosexual tendencies. Unbeknownst to Sonia, her beau has been having a sexual affair with her father. At the wedding, a male ex-lover of Rosendo shows up unexpectedly to start trouble. A reviewer for IMDb writes, “This film is no competition with the other Dogme 95 films (‘Festen’, ‘Italian for Beginners’, ‘Mifune’s Last Song’, etc.) but it does take some chances with subject matter that do make a difference.”

#31: El Desenlace (2005)

Spain • Director: Juan Pinzas

In the third and final installment of Juan Pinzas’s homoerotic Dogme95 trilogy, a film director named Mikel de Garay and his sexy young producer Andrea Bilbao, both of whom have shady pasts that they are less than eager to reveal, plan to make a film based on the writings of Rosendo Carballo, a successful bisexual writer who has divorced his wife Sonia from Dia del Bodo and taken up with a young gay lover. When a group of friends join Rosendo and the filmmakers to talk about their romantic pasts, trouble ensues.

#32: Se til venstre, der er en Svensker (2003)

Denmark • Director: Natasha Arthy

Released in English as Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue, this film traces the path of Katrine, who is getting married to a great man with a great family who rents a great apartment. But Katrine has problems with telling the truth. A few days before the nuptials, her sister’s old lover, Thomsen, suddenly appears, and things spin out of control, especially since her sister has been in a psych ward ever since Thomsen disappeared. Shadows on the Wall writes, “Danish director Arthy followed the Dogme 95 Vow of Chastity to make this emotional romantic comedy, another effective movie made without any Hollywood bombast—no artificial lighting or sound, all handheld cameras, and so on. It’s a winning film, cleverly bridging the real-life gap between comedy and tragedy….But the best surprise is story’s serious undercurrent of emotion. Despite the silly climax, this is a complicated little romance that dares to ask questions at the end instead of tying everything up in a falsely neat little package.”

#33: Residencia (2004)

Chile • Director: Artemio Espinosa Mc.

The only Chilean film made under Dogme95 rules, Residencia centers around of group of students who live in a college dorm despite the fact that they all look too old for college. They never attend class or work, but they seem to have endless money to spend on booze. There are no teachers seen throughout the entire film, either, giving it all a surreal tint.  A reviewer in Letterboxd writes, “It’s always nice to see chaos in a Dogme film and ‘Residencia’ has plenty of it! Residencia’s chaotic scenes were enjoyable to the point where the piss poor, auto translated subtitles never became a hindrance….It’s not a good film. I don’t even understand why it is considered a Dogme as it breaks almost every rule. BUT, it has funny moments and it’s really relatable if you were (or are) a Latin student in college.”

#34: Forbrydelser (2004)

Denmark • Directed by Annette K. Olesen

Translated in English as In Your Hands, this film was made in honor of the Dogme95 movement’s 10-year anniversary. A woman named Anna (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) is a new prison chaplain whose belief in everything sacred is tested when she runs across a shy inmate named Kate (Trine Dyrholm), who is rumored to have sacred healing powers. When Anna learns that she’s pregnant and that her child may have a chromosomal defect, she has to choose between three options: 1) abort the baby; 2) trust that God won’t give her a retarded child; or 3) ask Kate if she can work some of her “magic” on the fetus.

#35: Cosi x Caso (2004)

Italy • Director: Cristiano Ceriello

A man named Cristiano is unemployed and has no idea how to help his autistic brother Lucio. Then one day he decides to enter his brother in a TV show called Operazione Speranza (Operation Hope) in a last-ditch attempt to solve their problems. But Lucio gets lost on the day that Cristiano is conducting his preliminary interviews with people at the TV station. He meets a girl named Flaviana, and they immediately strike up an odd friendship. A reviewer on Letterboxd writes, “I find it hilarious that ‘Italian For Beginners’ is far better than both of the Italian Dogme films…maybe the Italians should stick to genre films. I didn’t have high hopes for ‘Così x Caso’ but was expecting something decent… what I got was a pathetic turd of a film that was painful to sit through and embarrassing to watch.”

Meet The Author

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. Her favorite horror movies tend to be more on the artsy side.