"How in the world," Manohla
wonders, will Cannes jury member Toni Morrison (author of Beloved
, The Bluest Eye
, etc etc) respond to Lars Von Trier
, a film whose subject is "white-on-black racism"? Dargis finds it "predictably ... every bit as boring as Dogville
" (oooh ... no she didn't), but Todd McCarthy at Variety
goes the other way with it. The "self-appointed American history professor" Von Trier has made "a leaner, better constructed and 40-minutes shorter picture" than Dogville, one which McCarthy seems generally in favor of (Dargis, for her part, says she's leaving the full review to Tony Scott). Manderlay deals with a plantation full of black slaves held by white owners in the 1920s, a good 70 years after the Civil War. Bryce Dallas Howard's Grace, (a role originally slated for Nicole Kidman, and which is apparently incarnation of the character she played in Dogville) stumbles opon the plantation and organises emancipation, which causes its own set of problems.