Saturday, 18 September 2010

Executed by Dental Experts

Diary entry (and photograph), from the late 1980’s: ‘Spent the morning spitting tomato ketchup and mushy peas onto the pavement outside the Dental Executioners’.
There’s a lot of blood spitting and bile, and humans – on all fours – barking, in ‘Dogtooth’ (Yorgos Lanthimos 2009). We watched it again the other night. I could watch it forever. Why can’t we make films like that? A Fritzlesque father keeps his children locked up in a country mansion where they are totally ignorant of the outside world. It’s frighteningly funny. In this hermetically-sealed environment they are taught the wrong words for things: a ‘pussy’ is a bright light that can be switched on, and off; a ‘zombie’ is a small yellow flower; a motorway means a small wind, and an ‘excursion’ is a hard material for coving floors. The children are told that they’ll eventually leave home when their canine teeth – the ‘Dogtooth’ – falls out. In other words: never. It’s wonderful. They throw marble cake over the perimeter hedge, lick shoulders in mistake for ‘keyboards’ (a ‘keyboard’ is a vagina) and one of the daughters – after watching videos of ‘Rocky’ and ‘Jaws’, illicitly smuggled in by a blindfolded security guard, employed to provide sex for the son – becomes a pugilist shark who eventually knocks her own teeth out. There’s fake-blood and real blood, and it's only the passing airplanes in the sky that offer a glimpse of the 'world outside'. The same thing happens at the end of Bunuel's brilliant, 'Simon Of The Desert'. 'Dogtooth' is all very Bunuel: Bunuel with bite.

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