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What is 'Dogme 95'?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

Dogme 95 is a set of "rules" for filmmaking aimed at taking away the reliance on technology and post-production, and returning the art to a more pure level. Dogme 95 was established by a group of Danish filmmakers including Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Films made under the Dogme manifesto must adhere to the following rules of the Dogme "Vow of Chastity":

  • Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be bought in. (If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
  • The sound must never be produced apart from the images and vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot).
  • The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes place).
  • The film must be in colour. 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).
  • Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  • The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc must not occur.)
  • Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now).
  • Genre movies are not acceptable.
  • The film format must be Academy 35mm. (Finishing format)
  • The director must not be credited.
Further, the director of a film made under Dogme 95 must adhere to the following oath:

I swear as 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.

More information can be found at the official Dogme 95 web site.

Answer by Benjamin Craig  |  Last updated 19-Nov-2004