The Idiots  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Idiots is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. The film is notorious for featuring scenes of uncensored and unsimulated penetrative sexual intercourse. It was a major challenge to the censors, especially in Britain where new leadership at the BBFC eventually passed the film as part of government legislation to legalise the sale of hardcore pornography. Other explicit narrative films released uncensored include Baise moi, Seul contre tous, and Romance.

It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and it is known as Dogme #2. The film is about a seemingly 'anti-bourgeois' group of adults who spend their time seeking their "inner idiot" to release their inhibitions by behaving in an approximation of mentally retarded in public. This 'spassing' is a self-defeating attempt to challenge the establishment through provocation. The Idiots feel that the society-at-large treats their intelligence uncreatively and unchallengingly; thus, they seek the uninhibited self-expression that they imagine a romantic ideal of disability will allow.

The film provoked a storm of publicity and debates about civil rights and disability, politics and representation. Yet The Idiots was often well received by disability groups, many of whom felt it exposed underlying social prejudices against disability.

The Idiots is the second film in von Trier's Golden Heart Trilogy which includes Breaking the Waves (1996) and Dancer in the Dark (2000).

Tagline 1: You're a whole lot dumber than you think.

Tagline 2: A film by idiots, about idiots, for idiots.


Due to its explicit sexual content in the sexual intercourse scene, the film was banned in Ireland. It is an adult-only movie in Argentina, Australia (though it has been shown uncut on TV with an MA rating), Chile, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the United States, and the UK. In Switzerland and Germany, the movie ran uncut with a 16-years rating in the theaters, but for TV broadcast the orgy is omitted.

In the UK it was shown, including the controversial orgy and sexual intercourse scenes, on a national television channel, Channel 4, during a season known as "Taboo".

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