Director Lars von Trier is stepping boldly into new cinematic territory by reducing film to its barest essentials. Dogville is comprised of a stellar cast with simple props in hand, acting on a flat stage marked only by chalk lines drawn on the floor. This story takes place during the Great Depression in Dogville, a silver-mining town in the Rocky Mountains. The impoverished, isolated community has been encouraged to believe in a utopian ideal of sharing resources to survive, only to have its foundation shaken when Grace (Nicole Kidman) arrives in town wearing an expensive fur coat, fleeing ruthless gangsters. Falling under the protection of the town’s philosophical leader (Paul Bettany), Grace is offered her livelihood in exchange for daily domestic chores at each home. Tempted by greed and lust, the townspeople lose sight of their values, unite as a mob, and turn against her. The ensemble of actors mines the emotional depth needed to tell this tale of American venality, born out of Depression-era poverty and provincial ignorance. In addition to Kidman and Bettany, the cast includes Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, James Caan, Chloë Sevigny, Patricia Clarkson, and Stellan Skarsgärd. Dogville is the first of a trilogy by Danish director von Trier titled USA-Land of Opportunities. Print courtesy Lions Gate Films. 2003, Denmark, 35mm, color, 177 minutes.