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The Idiots

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Original title
Idioterne (The Idiots)
Running time
117 min.
Denmark Denmark
Lars von Trier
Jan Schut
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Zentropa Productions / VPRO Television / Arte / La Sept Cinéma / Argos Film Produktie / Liberator Production
Drama | Dogma. Cult Movie
Movie Groups
Golden Heart Trilogy
Synopsis / Plot
The Idiots is about a group of young people who share one interest: idiocy. With a large house as their base, they spend all their spare time together exploring the hidden and less appreciated values of idiocy. They practise! The project is a manifestation of an explosive appetite for life in which they confront society with their idiocy. Nothing can be compared to the mutual feeling of success, every time their personal limits are transcended in yet another scenario.

By accident Karen meets 3 members of the group and unintentionally she gets involved in their little game. She gradually understands what they are up to, and at first she is angry, but eventually she begins to participate in their diversions.

Karen is different from the idiots. She is from a segment of society that doesn't have time to theorise over life and its qualities. She has been drifting aimlessly, and conceals a sadness that comes to the surface every now and then, but with the idiots she finds solace and understanding without prying questions. Soon she’s drawn by the group’s satanic games. She’s attracted by their joy. And she becomes one of them.

For Axel, one of the members, family life and work become more and more difficult, because the idiots keep terrorising his everyday life. For fun at first, but suddenly it isn't funny anymore. Axel isn't the only one to leave as the idiocy escalates, but the departures only strengthen the group’s solidarity. Most stay; they want to live out the excessive feelings, the aggression, the curiosity and the uncontrolled, egotistical primitive sexuality.

It is as a measure of the heights they scale that Stoffer suggests that they formalise the group’s solidarity. Everybody has to undergo the ultimate test. A test that must be undergone at home, in front of their nearest and dearest, and which will separate the sheep from the goats. Only the seven strongest remain. Karen is the last one of the group to undergo the test.
1998: Cannes Film Festival: Nominated for Palme d'Or (Best Film)
1998: European Film Awards: Nominated for Best Screenplay
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