Review: Dogora – Ouvrons les yeux DVD

Dogora DVD boxSTUDIO: Severin | DIRECTOR: Patrice Leconte RELEASE DATE: 5/18/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
BONUSES: “Leconte on Leconte 3” interview
SPECS: NR | 80 min. | Documentary | 1.77:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

French filmmaker Patrice Leconte, who has earned a good reputation among critics with incisive character studies (The Hairdresser’s Husband, Monsieur Hire) goes the Koyanisqaatsi route in 2004’s Dogora with a dialogue-less montage centering around the country of Cambodia.

The result has neither the profundities of Godfrey Reggio’s –qatsi trilogy, nor the manic energy of Ken Russell’s underrated telefilm The Planets. Dogora is, however, a vibrant sensory experience that boats masterful editing by Joëlle Hache and a new symphonic score by Étienne Perruchon.

Leconte makes the most of his skill at fashioning engrossing narratives out of an expression or gesture by studying his Cambodian subjects in all modes (work, play, worship). Thus, although the film isn’t a Reggio-esque mindblower, it will be quite welcome by viewers looking for something that is surely the polar opposite of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Rounding out the DVD package is part three of the in-depth interview “Leconte on Leconte”; parts one and two appeared on the Severin releases of The Hairdresser’s Husband and The Perfume of Yvonne. Clocking in at nearly a half-hour and subtitled in English, the filmmaker proves to be brutally honest in the piece, fondly discussing his work from the ’90s and 2000s, but readily acknowledging the dismal box-office failure of two of the films. Despite these setbacks, his enthusiasm for the medium is inspiring and is mirrored in the best moments of Dogora.


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About Ed

Ed Grant has written about film for a wide range of periodicals, books and websites. He edited the reference book The Motion Picture Guide Annual and, since 1993, has produced and hosted the weekly cable program Media Funhouse, which Time magazine called “the most eclectic and useful movie show on TV.”