The Effect of the Handheld Camera on Narration and Ocularization in the Dogme 95 Film

Kristian Pandža


This paper aims, based on the method of case study, to investigate how the handheld camera affects narration and ocularization in the Dogme 95 film. The Dogme 95 (hereafter ‘Dogme’) film is a relatively recent filmmaking movement, which has its own set of strict rules – one of which requires shooting the film with a handheld camera. Regardless of the fact that the utilization of a handheld camera causes specific and recognizable image and movement aesthetics, which can be described as a specific handheld camera style, it is also an indispensable theoretical fact that it very much ‘speaks’ through narration, in particular through focalization and ocularization, which is also theoretically confirmed by theoreticians of the Dogme film. The two most representative, and most prominent films of the Dogme filmmaking movement are Idiots [Idioterne] by Lars von Trier and The Celebration [Festen] by Thomas Vinterberg. The Dogme movement, famous for its inescapable and apparent pseudo-documentary filming style – which enables one to ask the question what is here and how is the reality of reality here – raises additional questions, but also provides answers through thoroughly studying the way in which the handheld camera narrates audiovisually and how narration flows in the two aforementioned films. Additionally, it asks whether there is a difference in narration and ocularization, or if it is disabled, and how the handheld camera becomes the narrator, in symbiosis with the character.


Article received: December 28, 2017; Article accepted: January 10, 2018; Published online: April 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper


How to cite this article: Pandža, Kristian. "The Effect of the Handheld Camera on Narration and Ocularization in the Dogme 95 Film." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 15 (2018): 83–92. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i15.232


narration; focalization; ocularization; handheld camera; Idiots; The Celebration; pseudo-documentary; inserted narration

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