The Dogme Manifesto was an avant–garde filmmaking movement created, intitially, by Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. These 2 filmmakers were soon thereafter joined by Kristian Levring, Jean–Marc Barr, and Søren Kragh–Jacobsen; comprising the original 5 members of the group to take a vow of chastity to the manifesto (outlined below). The manifesto was drafted to produce films that adhere to the earliest and most basic conventions of filmmaking. The basic nature of the agreement (signed by the initial 5 members in 1995) is to use location sound, natural lighting and original sets –basically; no manipulation of the location, with no foreign items to be brought onto the set and no ‘special effects‘. The manifesto also bans genre movies and superficial action, and limits the temporal conventions of the film: that is to say that the action must take place in the ‘here and now’ and must avoid embellishing the turn of events: such as an actual visual portrayal of a stabbing, car accident or such. Some of the most notable Dogme films include personal favourites Festen (The Celebration), Mifune, and Open Hearts. Dogme ‘95: The Vow of Chastity (abridged):
“I swear to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by Dogme 95:”
• Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in.
• The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice–versa.
• The camera must be handheld. Any movement or mobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
• The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable.
• Optical work and filters are forbidden.
• The film must not contain superficial action.
• Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden.
• Genre movies are not acceptable.
• The film format must be Academy 35mm.
• The director must not be credited.
The Dogme was annulled in 2005 –however, many filmmakers (such as Susanne Bier) continue to inform their work with the manifesto.