Yet despite sounding so simple (‘Hookay, let’s grab a videocam and start filming, dude!’), von Trier’s entry to the “Vow of Chastity” aka the Manifesto, The Idiots, is far from simple. It’s an elaborate, maddening, challenging piece of work. The title points to a gang of middle-class malcontents, educated and crucially aware of the zeitgeist, masquerading as an institution of the mentally handicapped. With intention and full recognition of their actions, they take the piss on society and its norms, and pull pranks on anyone as they drool and dribble and convulse their way through restaurants, pubs, streets and public swimming pools – and then retreat to their suburban estate like post-modern hippies, disdainfully sniggering at society’s pathetic reactions to the handicapped
The cinematic equivalent of a knife in your gut. The Idiots is altogether a complex, maddening, devastating, kaleidoscopic one-of-a-kind viewing experience. Compared to its more triumphant film-brother Festen, this is an underrated Dogme 95 work that lobs a searing, scathing critique to society, Hollywood and sanitised audience expectations.