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Losing the Plot

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Although it’s a listless affair, Manderlay is less noxiously reductionist than Dogville, if only because Von Trier regards African- Americans as both pathetically weak, conniving nonentities and victims. But no matter where he begins, his dramatic compass drifts toward the same pole: the sexual humiliation of his heroine (How could Daddy let you do this, Bryce?), Fascistic mob rule, and David Bowie warbling “Young Americans”—this time over photos of blacks being lynched. But it’s hard to get too worked up over racial injustice when a director has the temperament of a Klansman.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story
Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Picturehouse. Rated R.

Manderlay
Directed by Lars von Trier. IFC Films. Not rated.

E-mail: filmcritic@newyorkmag.com .


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