Which Dogme Film rules do you agree with?

The following is a list of Dogme 95 rules that are to be adhered to in the making of a minimalist film.  Some of these are just plain stupid.  Others are merely dubious.  Are there any that you would agree with if you were trying to create films with a minimalist style?

Have at it film snobs!

  1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
  2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic).
  3. The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.)
  4. 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).
  5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
  6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
  7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
  8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
  9. The final picture must be transferred to the Academy 35mm film, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, that is, not widescreen. (Originally, the requirement was that the film had to be filmed on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.)
  10. The director must not be credited.

{;-) Dan in Miami


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A stupid question here, what constitutes a minimalist film?

TMundo's picture

Just all those things? (Yeah, obviously) but would it be described as 'a film that does not rely on violent action and special effects for the story?'

Grasshopper you must answer that question for yourself

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  Don't ask me.  Defend your own position.

PPS:  What is the difference between a home movie and something your non-relatives might pay to see?


I disagree with #4

FearlessFreep's picture

You should be allowed to make such movies in consistent black & white.


I disagree with all of them & humbly suggest these rules instead

Coaster's picture

Coaster's Dawg This 09 Rules

  1. Must have elements of mystery.
  2. Must have martial arts.
  3. Must have chase scenes.
  4. Must have things blowing up.

I'll bet my rules will produce way more interesting and exciting movies than that dreary Dutch shit.

Aren't those Joel Silver's rules?

FearlessFreep's picture

What about the hot women?


the 10th never happened

Critico's picture

the director always got credited on those movies.

Movie as Haiku?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

It is possible to do a play with an empty stage.  If the script and actors are good enough to sell it.  But a movie?  People on a stage are real.  They have mass.  A movie is an abstraction to begin with. 

If you start with an abstraction it would seem to be more difficult to sell it to the audience if you scrimp on the bells and whistles.

{;-) Dan in Miami

A Dogme haiku (second draft)

FearlessFreep's picture

Lars von Trier is a

Wanker. Dogme movies are

Lame pieces of shit.

(My first draft omitted the word "lame.")

Indeed: List of props/scenery used by The Committee

Coaster's picture

Wall with 4 doors, 4 chairs.

The Committee was an improv troop that played to a crowded theater for many years on the Sunset Strip in the late '60s/early '70s.

Good movies made on tiny budgets

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

One that I liked was El Mariachi (1992) directed by Robert Rodriguez.

  • This film initially cost $7000 to make. Director Robert Rodriguez raised $3,000 of the $7,000 by volunteering to be a human "laboratory rat". He was used to test a cholesterol reducing drug. Paid $100 a day for 30 days, he wrote most of the script while locked in the lab. Peter Marquardt was a fellow "rat", but could not speak Spanish. He delivered his lines from cards held in his hand or out of shot. Most of the $7,000 was spent on film for the camera. The version seen in most cinemas has had approximately $1 million of post-production work and promotion behind it.
  • Most of the guns used in the film were water pistols. However a few were real, borrowed from the town's police force. In a shot near the end of the film just after the Mariachi is pulled out of the yellow Ford van by Moco's henchmen there is a shot of Moco walking towards the camera. Behind him laying asleep on a bench is the cop who was meant to be on-set supervising the use of the weapons for that day.
  • Robert Rodriguez claims the other actors were "innocent" passers-by. He gave them lines as and when they were needed.


{;-) Dan in Miami


Finally saw a Dogme 95 movie

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

It wasn't as bad as you might think. 

"The Celebration" was Director Thomas Vinterberg's 1998 winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.  It follows a Danish family as they meet to celebrate the 60th birthday of the family patriarch.  Almost all of the action takes place inside an old Danish hotel.  To avoid turning the movie into a play the director does encourage his cast to be very physical and not just stand around spouting lines. 

The cast is actually rather attractive and does manage to engage the audience. 

Unfortunately the poorly lighted photography is a major distraction.  This is especially the case for night scenes where you can barely see what's going on or even figure out who is on the screen.  This could have easily been avoided with some very very simple and cheap lighting solutions.  The Dogme 95 rules limiting what types of lighting can be used may have seemed like an interesting way to experiment with movie making.  The end result is a disappointment considering how much better the film could have been.

3 bombs

{;-) Dan in Miami


CELEBRATION was pretty funny

FearlessFreep's picture

I liked the bit where he was singing about Little Black Sambo.

Did that guy ever get out of the wine cellar?


Unfortunately the poorly

andy's picture

Unfortunately the poorly lighted photography is a major distraction. This is especially the case for night scenes where you can barely see what's going on or even figure out who is on the screen.

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