Dogtooth focuses heavily on how language functions as a means of filtering and control, and Lore deals with this as well, however indirectly. (A German couple, indoctrinated by Nazi propaganda, raise five children who they likewise indoctrinate.) More directly, both films are explorations of family, specifically 'family' seen as systems for maintaining stability and cohesion at all costs. In each film, alternate realities are created and maintained by the parents, and in each film one of the children slowly becomes aware of the false-reality being presented and decides to rebel. (It is understood that rebelling against the parental worldview is to sever ties with the family itself.) And with this child's realization comes a break―not just metaphorical, but one that's represented in each film by some literal object being smashed.
|Dogtooth (Lanthimos, 2009) / Lore (Shortland, 2012)|
"The family is the cradle of the world's misinformation. There must be something in family life that generates factual error. Over-closeness, the noise and heat of being. Perhaps even something deeper like the need to survive. Murray says we are fragile creatures surrounded by a world of hostile facts. Facts threaten our happiness and security. The deeper we delve into things, the looser our structure may seem to become. The family process works towards sealing off the world. Small errors grow heads, fictions proliferate. I tell Murray that ignorance and confusion can't possibly be the driving forces behind family solidarity. What an idea, what a subversion. He asks me why the strongest family units exist in the least developed societies. Not to know is a weapon of survival, he says. Magic and superstition become entrenched as the powerful orthodoxy of the clan. The family is strongest where objective reality is most likely to be misinterpreted. What a heartless theory, I say. But Murray insists it's true." ―White Noise (Delillo, 1985)
"Unification by co-inherence occurs in the Christian experience of being one 'in' Christ. Co-inherence pervaded the Nazi mystique of the Country and the Party. We feel ourselves to be One in so far as each of us has inside himself a presence common to all brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Party, or in the family.
"What function has 'the family' in terms of the relationship of members of the family?
"The 'family', the family as a fantasy structure, entails a type of relationship between family members of a different order from the relationships of those who do not share that 'family' inside each other.
"The 'family' is not an introjected object, but an introjected set of relations.
"The family may be imagined as a web, a flower, a tomb, a prison, a castle. Self may be more aware of an image of the family than of the family itself, and map the images onto the family.
" 'Family' space and time is akin to mythic space and time, in that it tends to be ordered round a centre and runs on repeating cycles. Why, what, where, is the centre of the family?
"According to one description:
'My family was like a flower. Mother was the centre and we were the petals. When I broke away, mother felt that she had lost an arm. They (sibs) still meet round her like that. Father never really comes into the family in that sense.'
"This family is represented by an image of an object, the function of which is to convey the experience of being part of a vegetative structure." ―The Politics of the Family (R.D. Laing, 1971)
|Erythronium dens-canis (AKA the dogtooth violet)|