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The modern welfare state is so rationally well-organised that special effort is required if you want to throw off the traces and let your instincts run riot. In Lars von Trier's tragi-comedy a group of young men and women turn their backs on established society and form a commune in order to cultivate their "inner idiots". They provoke the people around them and themselves by pretending to be retarded. But is there more to their antics than casual role-playing? Where does pretence cease and reality begin? Only one member of the group, naïve, emotionally unsullied Karen, manages with bravery and single-mindedness to turn the game into deadly earnest.