“Dogville” takes place in a small Rocky Mountain town, yet writer/director Lars von Trier said the film could have been set anywhere in the world. He chose to set it in an isolated American town struggling through the Great Depression after seeing photographs taken during that time.
More concerned with capturing an emotion than a specific place, von Trier was further influenced by the song “Pirate Jenny” from “Three Penny Opera” written by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. Brecht’s minimalist style also inspired von Trier to film “Dogville” on an empty set with very few props. “You soon forget there is no house,” von Trier said “and it forces you to zoom in on the people.”
By literally breaking down walls, Lars von Trier was able to tell a very complex and emotional story that captures human nature. The result is a film that hits home, wherever that may be.