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The politics of slavery and the follies of nation-building highlight Danish director Lars von Trier's thought-provoking follow-up to the director's 2003 drama Dogville, featuring The Village's Bryce Dallas Howard in the role originally played by Nicole Kidman, and shot in the same stage-bound style as its predecessor. Shortly after leaving Dogville, Grace (Howard) and her father (Willem Dafoe) wander into a gated Alabama community still operating under the tenets of slavery. Appalled to stumble across a brutal scene in which a white master is viciously lashing his slave (Isaach de Bankolé), Grace hastily intercedes and pleads with the abusive man to treat his workers with respect and dignity. When merciless matriarchal plantation owner Mam (Lauren Bacall) dies shortly thereafter, the remaining slaves, who have never tasted freedom and only known life under "Mam's Law," implore the sympathetic Grace to help ease their turbulent transition toward democratic rule, with disastrous results.

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