DOGTOOTH (2009)

(hoopla/kanopy/Shudder/tubi/VOD) One of the other ‘uncool’ Chicago film fests is the European Union Film Fest, which takes place at the Siskel Film Center. Even I often forget about this one, but back in 2010 I caught wind of this weird Greek film from unknown-to-us director Yorgos Lanthimos (who would go on to direct THE LOBSTER and THE FAVOURITE) that sounded like a batshitcrazy modern New Wave-ish film, and my wife — being Greek — was also intrigued, so we immediately pre-ordered two tickets..

We arrived at the Siskel and were happy to already have tickets, because it was completely sold out — the line wound completely around the upper second floor — and the audience consisted of 80% older Greek couples, clearly there to support Greek film. I whispered to my wife: “Do they know what they’re getting into?”

I say that because most Greek films I’ve attended with my wife have been in-offensive crowd-pleasers, whereas DOGTOOTH actively, -aggressively- is not. It’s a film about shelter, about not letting go, about manufactured culture, about language, about emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, and even heavier subjects. I was surprised to see that Shudder (a streaming service solely geared towards horror) picked it up and I realized, why yes: it is a Haneke-esque horror film, and not just an incredibly dense, fucked up family drama.

I exited the theater feeling dazzled and bruised, and fully expected the crowd we entered with to have turned against it, especially since they were very quiet during the screening — even the funny parts (of which there are many) — but no! They were ebullient about it! To this day I don’t know whether they liked it (much less enjoyed it — this isn’t a film you ‘enjoy’) but it was a singularly memorable screening for a brilliant film.