Dogme 95 was officially christened at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival when Martin Scorsese awarded the jury prize to Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Celebration,” also known as Dogme No. 1.
But the Dogme Manifesto had been written three years earlier when Danish directors Lars von Trier, Kristian Levring, Soren Kragh-Jacobson and Vinterberg, tired of the constraints of conventional moviemaking, drew up radical guidelines for breaking the norm.
Now anyone can make a Dogme film, and with 56 Dogme films to date, it seems like everyone has.
To get Dogme endorsement, you follow the rules, send in the certification form (downloaded from the Dogme 95 Web site http://www.dogme95.dk) with 10,000 Danish kroner (about $1,200) and a VHS cassette and — presto — you, too, can be a Dogme director.
But while some Dogme films are never seen outside the director’s living room, those made by the original quartet and now Lone Scherfig have played around the world and won major festival awards.
“Italian for Beginners” won the Silver Bear at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival.
“Celebration” grossed nearly $11 million worldwide and nabbed best foreign film honors from the Chicago Film Critics Assn. (1999), Independent Spirit (1999) and the N.Y. Film Critics’ Circle (1998).
Von Trier’s “The Idiots” won Fipresci kudos at the 1998 London Film Fest.
Kragh-Jacobson’s “Mifune” won the 1999 Silver Bear and the 1999 European Film Award at the L.A. Intl. Film Fest. It grossed nearly $2 million worldwide.
Other notable Dogme films include Harmony Korine’s “Julien Donkey Boy” and Jean-Marc Barr’s documentary of the collective’s history and No. 19, the second Dogme film helmed by a woman, Norwegian Mona Hoel.