Manderlay NR

Amazon Instant Video

(35) IMDb 7.4/10

The disturbing story of the Manderlay plantation, where people live as if slavery had not been abolished seventy years earlier. This drama stars Bryce Dallas Howard and was directed by Lars von Trier.

Starring:
Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe
Runtime:
2 hours 19 minutes

Manderlay

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Lars von Trier
Starring Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe
Supporting actors Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Michaël Abiteboul, Lauren Bacall, Jean-Marc Barr, Geoffrey Bateman, Virgile Bramly, Ruben Brinkman, Doña Croll, Jeremy Davies, Llewella Gideon, Mona Hammond, Ginny Holder, John Hurt, Emmanuel Idowu, Zeljko Ivanek, Teddy Kempner, Udo Kier
Studio IFC Film
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Anyway, it probably seems like I didn't like the film.
James Gebhardt
Grace gets it into her mind to free the slaves and to teach everyone, former slaves and Masters alike, about the new creed of equality and democracy.
dooby
The idea seemed interesting, but it moves at a strangely hurried pace and the interactions among the characters seem really...clumsily scripted.
Tristan Heberlein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By dooby on October 7, 2006
Format: DVD
This is an excellent film. In the second installment of his proposed American trilogy, Lars von Trier, touches on the subjects of racism, cultural blindness, hypocrisy and self-righteous superiority. In its way, it points at why America is simultaneously admired and despised the world over. Famously, Lars von Trier has never set foot in America (afraid of flying). So his views are the views of a foreigner, specifically a northern European steeped in the liberal tradition. Some will see that as a negative. I think it is refreshing for Americans to see how America is viewed from abroard, from someone unencumbered by its cultural baggage. What he shows is the ugly side of America. But von Trier's comment is by extension a critique on all humanity; for what Americans are here accused of, is equally applicable to other nations, races and creeds.

The story is simple. It carries on chronologically from Dogville. After destroying the godforsaken town in the bloody climax of the previous film, Grace (previously played by Nicole Kidman, and now by Bryce Dallas Howard) drives homeward with her father and his convoy of gangsters. They chance upon a plantation in Alabama where slavery is still practised, some 70 years after abolition (this is 1933). Grace gets it into her mind to free the slaves and to teach everyone, former slaves and Masters alike, about the new creed of equality and democracy. With the aid of her gun-toting gangsters, she preaches and enforces her new religion on the "benighted" people of the plantation. Of course, out of the seeds of her good intent, come no good at all.

The film can be viewed on many levels. The simplest is to take it as a commentary on racism. Passing a decree does not abolish racism. Nothing changes as long as hearts and minds don't change.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Medford on May 22, 2006
I've only seen the film once, but I felt that the most consistent interpretation was strictly about arrogant imperialism. I found myself first seeing through a very direct lens of a slave narrative/american liberal white guilt. This is an easy interpretation that lives on the surface.

The film then transformed into a statement about the presumption that "we" can teach others how to govern when "they" may have a system that works better in their context. The system in Manderlay was not overseer/slave, the system was socialism/communism and each "slave," as Grace saw them, had his or her own specialized role. The inhabitants of Manderlay were free within their system, but Grace was so completely blinded by what her culture had taught her about "freedom" and "democracy" and the inferiority of all other ways of life. The democracy she implemented was a complete farce. Their society did not function when the arrogant outsider who thought she knew what was best for them began implementing her system with force. The most direct comparison is "operation iraqi freedom" and other US nation building exercises or sponsored coups.

I found many other characters to be representations of a global system of oppression. The card shark was an international lending institution like the World Bank or the IMF and the "prince" was a corrupt leader who sold out his people for a cut of the profits of the international business elites (like Marcos, Suharto, or seemingly countless others).

I was very pleased with Manderlay and thoroughly frustrated by simplistic the reviews I read of it. I feel that this film falls apart with a straigtforward viewing. As a white guilt slave narrative the film is mediocre. As commentary on imperialism and an absolutely corrupt global system, the film is a wonderful composition. I can't wait for Wasington.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James Gebhardt on September 4, 2006
Format: DVD
I just can't help myself. I always have to see what Lars von Trier is up to. I think von Trier sees Americans as either hopelessly self-deluded or secretly self-loathing. Either way, he once again has allowed us to peer into his head in order to see America through his eyes (even though he has yet to step foot on American soil due to his own fear of flying). To say he's an irritant would be an understatement. He has quite a talent for getting under one's skin and setting up camp for a long while even after the last reel of film has unspooled. He's annoying, provocative, controversial and possibly one of the greatest directors of all time. Just like his film style and choice of subject matter - you either love him or you hate him. I kinda like that. I like a filmmaker who forces the viewer out of the gray dullness of life - to take a definitive stand and to have a direct opinion about something ... anything. He's thought-provoking, ascerbic and scathing at his best and he's a somewhat simplistic, narcissistic, petulant man-child at his worst. But, I promise you this: after seeing Manderlay, you will have an opinion and you will have food for thought for quite some time. This is a bold and daring film and von Trier delivers his message with surgical precision.

In the second part of his proposed American trilogy (the first part being his last film, Dogville), the story's hero, Grace comes upon a working plantation (Manderlay) complete with slaves and slave owners. The problem is, the year is 1933. Are these people living a vacuum? Well, it seems it's up to Grace to "break the news" to all involved. Her gangster father, played by Willem Dafoe, urges Grace to not get involved but headstrong and rebellious Grace (played by the talented but miscast Bryce Dallas Howard) is of another opinion.
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