The Purified

Director: Jesper Jargil
Screenwriters: Jesper Jargil

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


The Purified is Jasper Jargil's third installment of his extraordinary trilogy on Lars von Trier and the Dogme movement, collectively titled The Kingdom of Credibility. Dogme 95, a set of self-imposed commandments of austerity adopted, though never devoutly practiced, by von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levering, and Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, has significantly altered the perception of the way Danish films (and films around the world) are made. Prominently featuring the four "Danish Brethren" and Mogens Rukov (cowriter of The Idiots, The Celebration and Mifune), The Purified creates a unique inside view of the Dogme experiment, mining the fascination with and mechanics of a filmmaking system that may have arisen in jest but nevertheless became the most influential ethos of 1990s cinema and the only noteworthy filmmaking "movement" of the last 40 years.

In New Scenes from America, which screens with The Purified, the Danish documentarian, social critic, bike-racing enthusiast, and raconteur Jorgen Leth revisits the theme and poetic style of an earlier film—66 Scenes from America—and finds in the faces, skylines, and roadside attractions of the United States a perfect post-September 11 salute to what makes the country great: not ideologies or flag waving, but eccentricity, idiosyncrasy, and individuality. A prolific and highly personal filmmaker, Leth's miniportraits—ranging from a bartender at Sardi's taking us step-by-step through the construction of a whiskey sour to John Ashbery reading a poem—essentially reveal the large picture through the odd detail. What New Scenes says, ultimately, is that symphonies are made of small notes, and that the sum is not just more than the parts, but the end result of alchemy.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

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