Pacificism

Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier prefer it symbolic rather than dogmatic in "Dear Wendy"

As a helpful complement to the general skepticism about the USA, Thomas Vinterberg’s satirical tragedy "Dear Wendy" is now coming to the cinema. Together with screenwriter Lars von Trier, the former Dogma filmmaker has dealt with gun madness and state violence, as well as with aubenseitertum, racism and the road to hell, which is known to be paved with good intentions.

Pacificism

It all starts so pensively and spazzy. Bare Clothes, Group Rituals, a Bit of Verstorung of the Normalburgers. Young people fantasize their way out of their drug-ridden hometowns and thereby gain a better standing in life. Their concept is a somewhat counter-intuitive kind of "pacificism," as Huey calls it, but one that is currently being flagged by various governments worldwide.

Dick and Freddie have also found out: You just feel better with a gun in your pocket. But the two are by no means violent, they are just shady jerks. Instead of working in the mine of their small hometown like everyone else, they have found a better-lit alternative job in the village store. They find a few "others who need it": the disabled Huey and his brother, who always gets beat up because he is the brother of the disabled one. And Susan, the only available girl, who waits in the side store for bosom growth. These five "dandies" listen to long-forgotten zombie records, celebrate gun cults, and make club rules forbidding the public use of these weapons. They call the project "a social experiment", but it is difficult for them to convince the outside world of its usefulness. Sebastian, for example, the only black person to receive the honor of admission, does not like to fall into the appropriate admiration: "You are all totally crazy."

Pacificism

The story is told in the form of a letter and is therefore perhaps a bit papery. But it certainly did her good to be filmed not by her author Lars von Trier, but by his less theory-obsessed compatriot Vinterberg. This one has first of all all the main characters clearly jumbled up, which can blur the impression of an experimental set-up for at least one hour of the film. Thus, "Dear Wendy" (by the way, anything but a Dogma film) functions for long stretches as a small-town tale about crushes, crossing boundaries and coming of age. Dick and his friends are more than von Trier’s pawns in the service of world enlightenment; they are extremely lively, which is also due to the excellent actors. The escalation, and thus the transformation of the youth film into crude symbolism, is all the more violent when the cute clique plan to help an old woman over the hurdle gets completely out of hand. In addition ertont "Glory, glory Hallelujah!"

All kinds of thematic complexes are satirically and symbolically hinted at, touched upon or rolled out: the self-important pacifist leader Dick; the panic of the Jewish handler before a robbery; the young, hard-boiled black man who greets the clique; the jovial provincial cop; the black mama who does not let herself be helped over the hurdle so easily; and finally Marshall Walker, who, as a blustering authority, claims to have the situation under control. After the film there is the possibility to ask questions to yourself.

Pacificism

The two leading Danes must have thought of the Copenhagen hippie district Christiania during their work. There also once a "social experiment" was proclaimed. The "Free State of Christiania" became a parallel society, sometimes basking in its own goodness and yet having to deal with violent outgrowths, hard drug crime and, finally, with stupid state violence. "Dear Wendy" has many more such associations. Because of its weapons theme, however, the film prefers to be proclaimed exclusively as an American parable. It is also more comfortable for us Europeans.