Film review: Dogtooth / A Pond of Sonder

The Greek art house film “Dogtooth”; unfolds the story of a family household under clear orders from the father, where two daughters and a son aren’t allowed to leave the property until their “dog tooth” (canine teeth) fall out.

The controlling father uses violence to deter his family from having freedom over their individuality. A time when he asserts his dominance is when one of his daughters expresses interest in learning how to fight, we see this daughter alone in a scene where she mimics, what I can only presume, impressions of Rocky Balboa. When she next sees her father, she returns a video tape and what follows after is her father taping the same video to his hand and bashing her over the head several times, the audience hearing the plastic crunch each time against her skull. The attack symbolises the hold and order the governing father enforces on his family. The film can also be a political allegory as the director, Giorgas Lanthimos, describes the philosophy of the film:

After we wrote the script, I did realize that this film—and that’s why I was interested in making it—is about how much you can really control people’s minds, and with the information you’re giving people, how much they can have a distorted view of the world. So of course, on the next level, that can really be about media, or the information that leaders give their countries.

Now despite the father shaping an absurd reality for his family, you can sense (most specifically from the same daughter who wanted to learn how to fight) the appentency to feed ones psyche. Undeterred by never grasping anything beyond the house they live in; the intriguing subject matter is that although respective, characteristic life events form who a person is – experience; by no measure of goodness or evil, contributes to an impact that results in an individuals ego; how they perceive them self and everything else around them. But are we all born with the same yearn for freedom?

sonder The film made me question whether everyone is born with freedom or if it is a desire that we grow to yearn for, similar to our cravings for food, water, sex, love, fun (the list is subjective and introspectively endless). I questioned what freedom actually is; it can be described as having choices, pursuing a passion, being able to express yourself externally, through verbal or with action; by creating art, writing and music. Freedom is accepting all your feelings, freedom is not feeling guilty. But having freedom could also encourage an overwhelm which results to a lack of motivation, lack of urgency, ungratefulness and apathy to others opinions and feelings.

Dogtooth is a film that provoked me to submerge to an alternate life. It is a powerful  film that evokes genuine shock and makes you ponder about sonder.


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