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Manderlay (2005)

Not Rated | | Drama | 3 June 2005 (Denmark)
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A story of slavery, set in the southern U.S. in the 1930s.

Director:

Lars von Trier (as Lars Von Trier)

Writer:

Lars von Trier (as Lars Von Trier)
1 win & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bryce Dallas Howard ... Grace Margaret Mulligan
Isaach De Bankolé ... Timothy
Danny Glover ... Wilhelm
Willem Dafoe ... Grace's Father
Michaël Abiteboul Michaël Abiteboul ... Thomas
Lauren Bacall ... Mam
Jean-Marc Barr ... Mr. Robinsson
Geoffrey Bateman Geoffrey Bateman ... Bertie
Virgile Bramly ... Edward
Ruben Brinkman ... Bingo
Doña Croll Doña Croll ... Venus (as Dona Croll)
Jeremy Davies ... Niels
Llewella Gideon Llewella Gideon ... Victoria
Mona Hammond Mona Hammond ... Old Wilma
Ginny Holder ... Elisabeth
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Storyline

After gangster Mulligan's (Willem Dafoe's) cars colony, fleeing northern justice, finds a hiding place in Alabama, spoiled, naive daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) refuses to travel on after seeing the Manderlay cotton plantation being run under slavery rules, called Mam's (Lauren Bacall's) law, including flogging. She keeps half of dad's goons as guard to force the dying matriarch-owner's heirs, which she shamelessly dispossesses and reduces to "staff", to taste destitution under absurd, gun-imposed contracts. The "slaves" are made free partners, supposed to vote for progress after lessons from Grace. But almost all of her democracy-pupils prove to be fickle, dumb, and selfish, except old Wilhelm (Danny Glover). Her and their ignorance in Southern planting and crafty Dixie ways means more problems are created then solved. By the time dad returns to pick her up or abandon her for good, she's the one who has learned and changed the most. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A case of mistaken identity See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark | Sweden | Netherlands | France | Germany | UK | Italy | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 2005 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Film 'Manderlay' as Told in Eight Straight Chapters See more »

Filming Locations:

Denmark See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,117, 29 January 2006

Gross USA:

$78,378

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$674,918
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, James Caan stated he did not reprise his role as Grace's father from Dogville (2003), because Nicole Kidman dropped out, and because he feels that Writer and Director Lars von Trier "is very anti-American, so screw him. I'm very pro-America. I'm a conservative, basically." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: It was in the year of 1933, when Grace and her father were heading southward with their army of gangsters.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing dedication: In Memory Of Humbert Balsan 21.08.1954 - 10.02.2005 See more »

Connections

Follows Dogville (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Young Americans
Written and Performed by David Bowie
Courtesy of RZO Music, Inc.
Published by Chrysalis Music Limited
EMI Music Publishing Limited / RZO Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Imperialism Interpretation
22 May 2006 | by brandonleviSee all my reviews

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 straightforward 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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