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Summary: Manderlay is a plantation where a group of people are living as if slavery hadn't been abolished 70 years earlier. Upon leaving Dogville in 1933, Grace and her father head far south to the state of Alabama where they arrive upon the bizarre place.
I generally admire Von Trier's courage, but making a movie about your prejudices about any other country than your own is pure bravado. The movie could not even come near to its predecessor from the acting/setting point of view. Actually the continuity between the movies is problematic, as Grace is a caricature of a liberal intellectual, which is not in line with her resolution to her ordeal in Dogville. Sometimes von Trier just tries too hard to be politically incorrect, it brings him down.
von trier's shit-stirring goes a bit too far in this one, to the point where he really seems to lose sight of any thesis in exchange for "look how provocative i am!" on the plus side, bryce dallas howard is pretty good, if not as good as nicole kidman playing the same character
A fascinating look at racism, slavery (both political and psychological), freedom and (the potential flaws of) idealism. It's a provocative piece of filmmaking, but is so explicit about its message and tries to cover so much that it can feel muddled at times (also it lacks the stylistic mastery of its superior prequel, Dogville). Still it really got me thinking and like Dogville it is manipulative in the best way making you reflect on the reactions it prompts from you early on in the film.
My reaction upon first hearing about this film turned out to be the same as my reaction to finally seeing the film -- why re-utilise Dogville's original style? This makes me wonder if I ever liked Dogville, since this played out like such an intellectual exercise, made all the more grating by the film's smooth, yet flat pacing, the very scripted dialogue, and John Hurt's snidely sarcastic narration (we got it the first time). This film doesn't have nothing to offer, but it's a chore.
at one hand I kept feeling that whereas dogville was an amazing venture into a original way of story-telling with a subtle but extremely well-executed script, manderlay lacked the originality (for obvious reasons) and played in a different league with too obvious points being held high and not the same standards in terms of acting and overall quality to it. on the other hand I couldnt help but smiling at the brilliance of von trier while the ending credits were rolling.