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Manderlay

Von Trier's trilogy continues, sans Nicole Kidman.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 16, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars
Bryce Dallas Howard and Isaach De BankoléLars von Trier’s Manderlay has something to offend everyone: blacks, whites, conservatives, liberals, and those who, like myself, found Dogville a bold if flawed experiment. This second film in a projected trilogy reduces its predecessor to formula. In a soundstage version of 1933 America, Grace, played here by an appealing Bryce Dallas Howard instead of Nicole Kidman, has journeyed with her gangster father (Willem Dafoe) from the scene of her last adventure to the Alabama estate of the title, where slavery is still being practiced. Hapless do-gooder that she is, Grace tries to set things right, with predictably bad results. Anti-Iraq war allegory? Reactionary version of Reconstruction? Despite the provocations, Manderlay impresses most with its ingenuity in tormenting its characters regardless of race, gender, or politics. Trier, a Swiftian misanthrope, is attacking not America but the damned human race.
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Watch the trailer for Manderlay (QuickTime)

More on this story:

All American?: Lars von Trier at Cannes 2005. By Gerald Peary.

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