What a weird film. Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos this 2009, Greek film left both Dr. J and I with an unsettling feeling. It is the story of three adult children living behind a high walled compound. During the course of the film the father is the only one who leaves the property. The ‘children’ are told that evil ‘cats’ live beyond the compound walls and that children are old enough to leave their parents home once they have lost their ‘dogtooth’. The children are taught the incorrect meanings of words- for example they are told ‘sea’ means ‘chair’; ‘zombie’ means ‘small yellow flower’ and that ‘phone’ is a saltshaker. There is never any explanation as to why the parents, seemingly well educated, well spoken and well-to-do people; choose to teach their children these fabricated definitions of words. Ultimately the use of improper words serves as a tool to further remove the children from the ‘real world’ because what they question, seems incompatible with their understanding.
There is a huge degree of control on the part of the parents. Nothing is ever given as an explanation as to ‘why’ they have built this sheltered existence for their offspring and ‘why’ they cripple their children by telling them such offbeat lies such as ‘the mother will be giving birth to twins and a dog’. The myths they are fed conceivably continue to make the children further dependent on their parents.
The ‘children’ live a seemingly idyllic life which includes swimming, games and watching home videos of themselves. The NYT review stated that the: three [children] wander about in their underwear, speak in monotones and seem perpetually on the verge of either incest or fratricide or both.
Have you seen this film?
If yes, why do you think the parents created this world and what do you think it is a commentary on?