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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.
A fascinating look at racism, slavery (both political and psychological), freedom and (the potential flaws of) idealism. It's a provocative piece of film-making, 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.
like dogville, but rougher around the edges. the cast isn't as good, the visual style doesn't feel as polished, the ending wasn't as powerful. but this treatise on race, and in particular white man's burden, is nearly as pointed as the amazing first entry into this 2-film trilogy. which is a shame - the ending is obvious in its hint about the previously planned finale on washington. ah well. every feature by von trier, greatest director ever, has now been seen. well except images of liberation.
Once again LVT stacks the deck with an absurd situation that makes pretty much everyone look like an asshole. He opens up complex issues here, ones that are worth pondering. The scenario isn't TOO far-fetched and allows for some intriguing facets. However Lars provides no answers, nor anything resembling an answer. Instead he wraps it up with a few cheap shots at America. It's like he just can't help himself. Putting aside LVT's childish jabs, it's a pretty good movie.
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