Lars von Trier (born Lars Trier; 30 April 1956) is a Danish film director and screenwriter with a prolific and controversial career spanning almost four decades. His work is known for its genre and technical innovation; confrontational examination of existential, social, and political issues; and his treatment of subjects such as mercy, sacrifice, and mental health.
Among his more than 100 awards and 200 nominations at film festivals worldwide, von Trier has received: the Palme d'Or (for Dancer in the Dark), the Grand Prix (for Breaking the Waves), the Prix du Jury (for Europa), and the Technical Grand Prize (for The Element of Crime and Europa) at the Cannes Film Festival. In March 2017, he began filming The House That Jack Built, an English-language serial killer thriller.
Von Trier is the founder and shareholder of the international film production company Zentropa Films, which has sold more than 350 million tickets and garnered seven Academy Award nominations over the past 25 years.
Lars von Trier
Trier at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival
30 April 1956
Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
|Movement||Hyperrealism, Dogme 95, German Expressionism|
|Awards||Palme d'Or, EFA, Cesar, Bodil, Goya, FIPRESCI|
|Honours||Unicef Cinema for Peace, Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog|
Von Trier was born in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, north of Copenhagen, to Inger Høst and Fritz Michael Hartmann (the head of Denmark's Ministry of Social Affairs and a World War II resistance fighter). He received his surname from Høst's husband, Ulf Trier, whom he believed was his biological father until 1989.
He studied film theory at the University of Copenhagen and film direction at the National Film School of Denmark. At 25, he won two Best School Film awards at the Munich International Festival of Film Schools for Nocturne and Last Detail. The same year, he added the German nobiliary particle "von" to his name, possibly as a satirical homage to the equally self-invented titles of directors Erich von Stroheim and Josef von Sternberg, and saw his graduation film Images of Liberation released as a theatrical feature.
In 1984, The Element of Crime, von Trier's breakthrough film, received twelve awards at seven international festivals including the Technical Grand Prize at Cannes, and a nomination for the Palme d'Or. The film's slow, non-linear pace, innovative and multi-leveled plot design, and dark dreamlike visual effects combine to create an allegory for traumatic European historical events.
His next film, Epidemic (1987), was also shown at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. The film features two story lines that ultimately collide: the chronicle of two filmmakers (played by von Trier and screenwriter Niels Vørse) in the midst of developing a new project, and a dark science fiction tale of a futuristic plague – the very film von Trier and Vørsel are depicted making.
Von Trier has occasionally referred to his films as falling into thematic and stylistic trilogies. This pattern began with The Element of Crime (1984), the first of the Europa trilogy, which illuminated traumatic periods in Europe both in the past and the future. It includes The Element of Crime (1984), Epidemic (1987), and Europa (1991).
Von Trier directed Medea (1988) for television, which won him the Jean d'Arcy prize in France. It is based on a screenplay by Carl Th. Dreyer and stars Udo Kier. Trier completed the Europa trilogy in 1991 with Europa (released as Zentropa in the US), which won the Prix du Jury at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, and picked up awards at other major festivals. In 1990 he also directed the music video for the song "Bakerman" by Laid Back. This video was re-used in 2006 by the English DJ and artist Shaun Baker in his remake of the song.
Seeking financial independence and creative control over their projects, in 1992 von Trier and producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen founded the film production company Zentropa Entertainment. Named after a fictional railway company in Europa, their most recent film at the time, Zentropa has produced many movies other than Trier's own, as well as several television series. It has also produced hardcore sex films: Constance (1998), Pink Prison (1999), HotMen CoolBoyz (2000), and All About Anna (2005). To make money for his newly founded company, von Trier made The Kingdom (Danish title Riget, 1994) and The Kingdom II (Riget II, 1997), a pair of miniseries recorded in the Danish national hospital, the name "Riget" being a colloquial name for the hospital known as Rigshospitalet (lit. The Kingdom's Hospital) in Danish. A projected third season of the series was derailed by the death in 1998 of Ernst-Hugo Järegård, who played Dr. Helmer, and that of Kirsten Rolffes, who played Mrs.Drusse, in 2000, two of the major characters.
In 1995 von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg presented their manifesto for a new cinematic movement, which they called Dogme 95. The Dogme 95 concept, which led to international interest in Danish film, inspired filmmakers all over the world. In 2008, together with their fellow Dogme directors Kristian Levring and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg received the European film award for European Achievement in World Cinema.
In 1996 von Trier conducted an unusual theatrical experiment in Copenhagen involving 53 actors, which he titled Psychomobile 1: The World Clock. A documentary chronicling the project was directed by Jesper Jargil, and was released in 2000 with the title De Udstillede (The Exhibited).
Von Trier achieved his greatest international success with his Golden Heart trilogy. Each film in the trilogy is about naive heroines who maintain their "golden hearts" despite the tragedies they experience. This trilogy consists of: Breaking the Waves (1996), The Idiots (1998), and Dancer in the Dark (2000). While all three films are sometimes associated with the Dogme 95 movement, only The Idiots is a certified Dogme 95 film.
Breaking the Waves (1996), the first film in his Golden Heart trilogy, won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and featured Emily Watson, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Its grainy images, and hand-held photography, pointed towards Dogme 95 but violated several of the manifesto's rules, and therefore does not qualify as a Dogme 95 film.
In 2000 von Trier premiered a musical featuring Icelandic musician Björk, Dancer in the Dark. The film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. The song "I've Seen It All" (co-written by von Trier) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
The Five Obstructions (2003), made by von Trier and Jørgen Leth, is a documentary that incorporates lengthy sections of experimental films. The premise is that von Trier challenges director Jørgen Leth, his friend and mentor, to remake his old experimental film The Perfect Human (1967) five times, each time with a different "obstruction" (or obstacle) specified by von Trier.
A proposed trilogy, von Trier's Land of Opportunities consists of Dogville (2003), Manderlay (2005), and Wasington, which is yet to be made. Dogville and Manderlay were both shot with the same distinctive, extremely stylized approach, placing the actors on a bare sound stage with no set decoration and the buildings' walls marked by chalk lines on the floor, a style inspired by 1970s televised theatre. Dogville (2003) starred Nicole Kidman and Manderlay (2005) starred Bryce Dallas Howard in the same main role as Grace Margaret Mulligan. Both films have casts of major international actors, including Harriet Andersson, Lauren Bacall, James Caan, Danny Glover, and Willem Dafoe, and question various issues relating to American society, such as intolerance (in Dogville) and slavery (in Manderlay).
In 2006 von Trier released a Danish-language comedy film, The Boss of It All. It was shot using an experimental process that he has called Automavision, which involves the director choosing the best possible fixed camera position and then allowing a computer to randomly choose when to tilt, pan, or zoom.
Following The Boss of It All, von Trier scripted an autobiographical film, The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche Part 1 in 2007, which went on to be directed by Jacob Thuesen. The film tells the story of von Trier's years as a student at the National Film School of Denmark. It stars Jonatan Spang as von Trier's alter ego, called "Erik Nietzsche", and is narrated by von Trier himself. All the main characters in the film are based on real people from the Danish film industry, with thinly veiled portrayals including Jens Albinus as director Nils Malmros, Dejan Čukić as screenwriter Mogens Rukov, and Søren Pilmark.
The Depression trilogy consists of Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac. The three films star Charlotte Gainsbourg, and deal with characters who suffer depression or grief in different ways. This trilogy is said to represent the depression that Trier himself experiences.
Von Trier's next feature film was Antichrist, a film about "a grieving couple who retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping a return to Eden will repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage; but nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse". The film stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It premiered in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where the festival's jury honoured the movie by giving the Best Actress award to Gainsbourg.
Known to be provocative in interviews, von Trier's remarks during the press conference before the premiere of Melancholia in Cannes caused significant controversy in the media, leading the festival to declare him persona non grata and to ban him from the festival for one year (without, however, excluding Melancholia from that year's competition). Minutes before the end of the interview, Trier was asked by a journalist about his German roots and the Nazi aesthetic in response to the director's description of the film's genre as "German romance". The director who was brought up with his Jewish father, and only found out in later life that his biological father was a non-Jewish German, appeared offended by the connotation and responded by discussing his German identity. He joked that since he was no longer Jewish he now "understands" and "sympathizes" with Hitler, that he is not against the Jews except for Israel which is "a pain in the ass" and that he is a Nazi. These remarks caused a stir in the media which, for the most part, presented the incident as an antisemitic scandal. The director released a formal apology immediately after the controversial press conference and kept apologizing for his joke during all of the interviews he gave in the weeks following the incident, admitting that he was not sober, and saying that he did not need to explain that he is not a Nazi. The actors of Melancholia who were present during the incident – Dunst, Gainsbourg, Skarsgård – defended the director, pointing to his provocative sense of humor and his depression. The director of the Cannes festival later characterised the controversy as "unfair" and as "stupid" as von Trier's bad joke, concluding that his films are welcome at the festival and that von Trier is considered a "friend".In 2019, von Trier stated that he made this remark at the "only press conference I ever had when I was sober."
In early December 2013, a four-hour version of the five-and-a-half-hour film was shown to the press in a private preview session. The cast also included Stellan Skarsgård (in his sixth film for von Trier), Shia LaBeouf, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater, and Uma Thurman. In response to claims that he had merely created a "porn film", Skarsgård stated "... if you look at this film, it's actually a really bad porn movie, even if you fast forward. And after a while you find you don't even react to the explicit scenes. They become as natural as seeing someone eating a bowl of cereal." Von Trier refused to attend the private screening due to the negative response to Nazi-related remarks he had made at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, which had led to his expulsion from it. In the director's defense, Skarsgård stated at the screening, "Everyone knows he's not a Nazi, and it was disgraceful the way the press had these headlines saying he was."
For its public release in the United Kingdom, the four-hour version of Nymphomaniac was divided into two "volumes" – Volume I and Volume II – and the film's British premiere was on 22 February 2014. In interviews prior to the release date, Gainsbourg and co-star Stacy Martin revealed that prosthetic vaginas, body doubles, and special effects were used for the production of the film. Martin also stated that the film's characters were a reflection of the director himself and referred to the experience as an "honour" that she enjoyed.
The film was also released in two "volumes" for the Australian release on 20 March 2014, with an interval separating the back-to-back sections. In his review of the film for 3RRR's film criticism program, Plato's Cave, presenter Josh Nelson stated that, since the production of Breaking the Waves, the filmmaker von Trier is most akin to is Alfred Hitchcock, due to his portrayal of feminine issues. Nelson also mentioned filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky as another influence whom Trier himself has also cited.
In February 2014, an uncensored version of Volume I was shown at the Berlin Film Festival, with no announcement of when or if the complete five-and-a-half-hour Nymphomaniac would be made available to the public. The complete version premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and was shortly released in a limited theatrical run worldwide that fall.
In 2015, von Trier started to work on a new feature film The House That Jack Built, which was originally planned as an eight-part television series. The story is about a serial killer, seen from the murderer's point of view. Shooting started in March 2017 in Sweden, with shooting moving to Copenhagen in May.
In February 2017, von Trier explained in his own words that The House That Jack Built "celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the "Homo trumpus – the rat king". The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Von Trier is heavily influenced by the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer and the film The Night Porter. He was so inspired by the short film The Perfect Human, directed by Jørgen Leth, that he challenged Leth to redo the short five times in the feature film The Five Obstructions.
Von Trier's writing style has been heavily influenced by his work with actors on set, as well as the Dogme 95 manifesto that he co-authored. In an interview with Creative Screenwriting, von Trier described his process as "writing a sketch and keep[ing] the story simple...then part of the script work is with the actors."
While reflecting on the storytelling across his body of work, von Trier said, "All the stories are about a realist who comes into conflict with life. I’m not crazy about real life, and real life is not crazy about me." He further described his process as dividing different parts of his personality into different characters.
Von Trier has cited Danish filmmaker Carl Dreyer as a writing influence, pointing to Dreyer's method of overwriting his scripts then significantly cutting the length down.
Von Trier has said that "a film should be like a stone in your shoe". To create original art he feels that filmmakers must distinguish themselves stylistically from other films, often by placing restrictions on the film making process. The most famous such restriction is the cinematic "vow of chastity" of the Dogme 95 movement with which he is associated. In Dancer in the Dark, he used jump shots and dramatically-different color palettes and camera techniques for the "real world" and musical portions of the film, and in Dogville everything was filmed on a sound stage with no set, where the walls of the buildings in the fictional town were marked as lines on the floor.
Von Trier often shoots digitally and operates the camera himself, preferring to continuously shoot the actors in-character without stopping between takes. In Dogville he let actors stay in character for hours, in the style of method acting. These techniques often put great strain on the actors, most famously with Björk during the filming of Dancer in the Dark.
Von Trier would later return to explicit images in Antichrist (2009), exploring darker themes, but he ran into problems when he tried once more with Nymphomaniac, which had ninety minutes cut out (reducing it from five-and-one-half to four hours) for its international release in 2013 in order to be commercially viable, taking nearly a year to be shown complete anywhere in an uncensored Director's Cut.
Trier also attributes most of his profound ideas to that of his previous mentor, Thomas Boguszewski. "Thomas' genius is one I could never match," says von Trier, "but it would be a shame not to try."
In a Skype interview for IndieWire, von Trier compared his approach to actors with "how a chef would work with a potato or a piece of meat," clarifying that working with actors has differed on each film based on the production conditions.
Von Trier has occasionally courted controversy by his treatment of his leading ladies. He and Björk famously fell out during the shooting of Dancer in the Dark, to the point where Björk would abscond from filming for days at a time. She stated about Trier, who among other things shattered a monitor while it was next to her, "...you can take quite sexist film directors like Woody Allen or Stanley Kubrick and still they are the one that provide the soul to their movies. In Lars von Trier’s case it is not so and he knows it. He needs a female to provide his work soul. And he envies them and hates them for it. So he has to destroy them during the filming. And hide the evidence." Despite this, other actresses such as Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg have spoken out in defence of von Trier's approach. Nymphomaniac star Stacy Martin has stated that he never forced her to do anything that was outside her comfort zone. She said "I don't think he's a misogynist. The fact that he sometimes depicts women as troubled or dangerous or dark or even evil; that doesn't automatically make him anti-feminist. It's a very dated argument. I think that Lars loves women."
Nicole Kidman, who starred in von Trier's Dogville, said in an interview with ABC Radio National: "I think I tried to quit the film three times because he said, 'I want to tie you up and whip you, and that's not to be kind.' I was, like, what do you mean? I've come all this way to rehearse with you, to work with you, and now you're telling me you want to tie me up and whip me? But that's Lars, and Lars takes his clothes off and stands there naked and you're like, 'Oh, put your clothes back on, Lars, please, let's just shoot the film.' But he's very, very raw and he's almost like a child in that he'll say and do anything. And we would have to eat dinner every night and most of the time that would end with me in tears because Lars would sit next to me and drink peach schnapps and get drunk and get abusive and I'd leave and...anyway, then we'd go to work the next morning."
Björk made a public statement regarding von Trier's sexual harassment during the production of Dancer in the Dark, in which von Trier remains unnamed, though the Los Angeles Times has found corroboration identifying him. In the Facebook posting, Björk describes the difficulties in facing his retribution: "It was extremely clear to me when I walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it. I became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it. When I turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one." She also stated, "And in my opinion he had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after my confrontation so there is hope. Let's hope this statement supports the actresses and actors all over. Let's stop this. There is a wave of change in the world". Von Trier has denied the accusations made against him, and Björk responded by detailing the sexual assault episodes.
Von Trier has a known penchant for working with actors and production members more than once. His main crew members and producer team has remained intact since the film Europa. The list of actors reappearing on his films, even for small parts or cameos is also extensive and many of them have repeatedly expressed their devotion to von Trier and willingness to return on set with him, even without payment. He uses the same regular group of actors in many of his films including Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier and Stellan Skarsgård who was cast in several Lars von Trier films: Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, and Nymphomaniac.
Note: This list shows only the actors who have collaborated with von Trier in three or more productions.
|Actor||The Element of Crime||Epidemic||Medea||Europa||The Kingdom||Breaking the Waves||The Idiots||Dancer in the Dark||Dogville||Manderlay||The Boss of It All||Antichrist||Melancholia||Nymphomaniac||The House That Jack Built||Total|
|Siobhan Fallon Hogan||Yes||Yes||Yes||3|
In 1989, von Trier's mother told him on her deathbed that the man von Trier thought was his biological father was not, and that he was the result of a liaison she had with her former employer, Fritz Michael Hartmann (1909–2000), who was descended from a long line of German-speaking, Roman Catholic classical musicians. Hartmann's grandfather was Emil Hartmann, his great-grandfather J. P. E. Hartmann, his uncles included Niels Gade and Johan Ernst Hartmann, and Niels Viggo Bentzon was his cousin. She stated that she did this to give her son "artistic genes".
"Until that point I thought I had a Jewish background. But I'm really more of a Nazi. I believe that my biological father's German family went back two further generations. Before she died, my mother told me to be happy that I was the son of this other man. She said my foster father had had no goals and no strength. But he was a loving man. And I was very sad about this revelation. And you then feel manipulated when you really do turn out to be creative. If I'd known that my mother had this plan, I would have become something else. I would have shown her. The slut!"
During the German occupation of Denmark, von Trier's supposed father Fritz Michael Hartmann worked as a civil servant and joined a resistance group, Frit Danmark, actively counteracting any pro-German and pro-Nazi colleagues in his department. Another member of this infiltrative resistance group was Hartmann's colleague Viggo Kampmann, who would later become prime minister of Denmark. After von Trier had had four awkward meetings with his biological father, Hartmann refused further contact.
Von Trier's mother considered herself a Communist, while his father was a Social Democrat. Both were committed nudists, and von Trier went on several childhood holidays to nudist camps. His parents regarded the disciplining of children as reactionary. He has noted that he was brought up in an atheist family, and that although Ulf Trier was Jewish, he was not religious. His parents did not allow much room in their household for "feelings, religion, or enjoyment," and also refused to make any rules for their children, with complex effects upon von Trier's personality and development.
In a 2005 interview with Die Zeit, von Trier said, "I don't know if I'm all that Catholic really. I'm probably not. Denmark is a very Protestant country. Perhaps I only turned Catholic to piss off a few of my countrymen."
In 2009, he said, "I'm a very bad Catholic. In fact I'm becoming more and more of an atheist."
Von Trier periodically suffers from depression, and also from various fears and phobias, including an intense fear of flying. This fear frequently places severe constraints on him and his crew, necessitating that virtually all of his films be shot in either Denmark or Sweden. As he quipped in an interview, "Basically, I'm afraid of everything in life, except film making."
On numerous occasions, von Trier has also stated that he suffers from occasional depression which renders him incapable of performing his work and unable to fulfill social obligations.
Nocturne was the more important of the two and it also won a prize at the film festival in Munich
...he won two consecutive awards at the European Film School competition in Munich with Nocturne and The Last Detail
The Dogme concept has, moreover, spilled across national borders and inspired filmmaking outside Denmark.
During work on a TV adaptation of the never-filmed Dreyer script, Medea, in 1988, von Trier claimed to have a telepathic connection with him. He even claimed his golden retriever, Kajsa, was also in spiritual contact with Dreyer ...
Lars von Trier uses jump cuts as an aesthetic device throughout Dancer in the Dark
I come from a family of communist nudists. I was allowed to do or not do what I liked. My parents were not interested in whether I went to school or got drunk on white wine. After a childhood like that, you search for restrictions in your own life.
Antichrist is a 2009 English-language Danish experimental horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It tells the story of a couple who, after the death of their child, retreat to a cabin in the woods where the man experiences strange visions and the woman manifests increasingly violent sexual behaviour and sadomasochism. The narrative is divided into a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue.
Written in 2006 while von Trier had been hospitalised due to a significant depressive episode, the film was largely influenced by his own struggles with depression and anxiety. Filming began in the late summer of 2008, primarily in Germany, and was a Danish production co-produced by several other film production companies from six different European countries.
After its premiere at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where Gainsbourg won the festival's award for Best Actress, the film immediately caused controversy, with critics generally praising its artistic execution but remaining strongly divided regarding its substantive merit. Other awards won by the film include the Robert Award for best Danish film, The Nordic Council Film Prize for best Nordic film and the European Film Award for best cinematography. The film is dedicated to the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–86).
Antichrist is the first film in von Trier's unofficially titled Depression Trilogy. It was followed in 2011 by Melancholia and then by Nymphomaniac in 2013.Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves is a 1996 drama film directed and written by Lars von Trier and starring Emily Watson. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, it is about an unusual young woman and of the love she has for her husband, who asks her to have sex with other men when he becomes immobilized from a work accident. The film is an international co-production led by von Trier's Danish company Zentropa. It is the first film in Trier's Golden Heart Trilogy which also includes The Idiots (1998) and Dancer in the Dark (2000).
As von Trier's first film made after his founding of the Dogme 95 movement, it is heavily influenced by the movement's style and ethos, although the film breaks several of the rules laid out by the movement's manifesto. Breaking the Waves has been described as "perhaps von Trier's most widely acclaimed film", and has won numerous awards including the Grand Prix at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.Cinema of Denmark
Denmark has been producing films since 1897 and since the 1980s has maintained a steady stream of product due largely to funding by the state-supported Danish Film Institute. Historically, Danish films have been noted for their realism, religious and moral themes, sexual frankness and technical innovation.
The Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer (1889–1968) is considered one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. Other Danish filmmakers of note include Benjamin Christensen, who outside his native country directed several horror classics including Häxan (1922) and Seven Footprints to Satan (1929); Erik Balling, the creator of the popular Olsen-banden films; Gabriel Axel, an Oscar-winner for Babette's Feast in 1987; and Bille August, the Oscar-, Palme d'Or- and Golden Globe-winner for Pelle the Conqueror in 1988. In the modern era, notable filmmakers in Denmark include Lars von Trier, who co-created the Dogme 95 film movement, and multiple award-winners Susanne Bier and Nicolas Winding Refn.Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark (Danish: Danser i mørket) is a 2000 musical melodrama film directed by Lars von Trier. It stars Icelandic musician Björk as a daydreaming immigrant factory worker who suffers from a degenerative eye condition and is saving up to pay for an operation to prevent her young son from suffering the same fate. Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan Fallon Hogan and Joel Grey also star.
The soundtrack for the film, released as the album Selmasongs, was written mainly by Björk, but a number of songs featured contributions from Mark Bell and the lyrics were by von Trier and Sjón. Three songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music were also used in the film.
This is the third film in von Trier's "Golden Heart Trilogy"; the other two films are Breaking the Waves (1996) and The Idiots (1998). The film was an international co-production among companies based in thirteen countries and regions: Denmark, Argentina, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was shot with a handheld camera, and was somewhat inspired by a Dogme 95 look.
Dancer in the Dark premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival to standing ovations and controversy, but was nonetheless awarded the Palme d'Or, along with the Best Actress award for Björk. The song "I've Seen It All", with Thom Yorke, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to "Things Have Changed" by Bob Dylan from Wonder Boys. The film continues to polarize critics, being seen by some as melodramatic and by others as one of the greatest films of all time.Dimension (film)
Dimension is a short film written and directed by Lars von Trier, released in 2010. The film was shot from 1991 to 1997. The original intention was to continue production in three-minute segments every year for a period of 33 years for a final release in 2024. However, von Trier lost interest in the project and it was shelved. The short film consists of the completed footage at the time the film was abandoned.Dogme 95
Dogme 95 was a filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who created the "Dogme 95 Manifesto" and the "Vows of Chastity" (Danish: kyskhedsløfter). These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and excluding the use of elaborate special effects or technology. It was an attempt to take back power for the director as artist, as opposed to the studio. They were later joined by fellow Danish directors Kristian Levring and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, forming the Dogme 95 Collective or the Dogme Brethren. Dogme (pronounced [ˈdɒwmə]) is the Danish word for dogma.Dogville
Dogville is a 2003 crime revenge tragedy film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring an ensemble cast led by Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Paul Bettany, Chloë Sevigny, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, Ben Gazzara, and James Caan. It is a parable that uses an extremely minimal, stage-like set to tell the story of Grace Mulligan (Kidman), a woman hiding from mobsters, who arrives in the small mountain town of Dogville, Colorado, and is provided refuge in return for physical labor.
The film is the first in von Trier's projected USA – Land of Opportunities trilogy, which was followed by Manderlay (2005) and is projected to be completed with Wasington (sic). The film was in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival but Gus Van Sant's Elephant won the award. It was screened at various film festivals before receiving a limited release in the US on March 26, 2004.
Dogville opened to polarized reviews from critics. Some considered it to be pretentious or exasperating; it was viewed by others as a masterpiece, and has widely grown in stature since its initial release.Epidemic (film)
Epidemic is a 1987 Danish horror film directed by Lars von Trier; it is the second installment of Trier's Europa trilogy, following The Element of Crime (1984) and succeeded by Europa (1991).
Co-written by Trier and Niels Vørsel, the film focuses on the screenwriting process. Vørsel and Trier play themselves, coming up with a last-minute script for a producer. The story is inter-cut with scenes from the film they write, in which Trier plays a renegade doctor trying to cure a modern-day epidemic. The film marks the first in a series of collaborations between Trier and Udo Kier.Europa (film)
Europa (known as Zentropa in North America) is a 1991 art drama film directed by Lars von Trier. It is von Trier's third theatrical feature film and the final film in his Europa trilogy following The Element of Crime (1984) and Epidemic (1987).
The film features an international ensemble cast, including French-American Jean-Marc Barr, Germans Barbara Sukowa and Udo Kier, expatriate American Eddie Constantine, and Swedes Max von Sydow and Ernst-Hugo Järegård.
Europa was influenced by Franz Kafka's Amerika, and the title was chosen "as an echo" of that novel.Images of Liberation
Images of Liberation (Danish: Befrielsesbilleder) is a 1982 Danish drama film directed by Lars von Trier. The story is set in Copenhagen during World War II, and follows a German officer who visits his Danish mistress the days after the occupation of Denmark has ended. The film was Trier's graduation film from the National Film School of Denmark. It became the first ever Danish school film to receive regular theatrical distribution. It was screened in the Panorama section of the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.Lars von Trier bibliography
A list of books and essays about Lars von Trier:
Badley, Linda (2010). Lars Von Trier. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07790-6.
Bainbrige, Caroline (2007). The Cinema of Lars Von Trier: Authenthicity and Artifice. Wallflower Press. ISBN 978-1-905674-43-5.
Lumholdt, Jan (2003). Lars Von Trier: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-57806-532-5.
Simons, Jan (2007). Playing the Waves: Lars Von Trier's Game Cinema. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 978-90-5356-979-5.
Stevenson, Jack (26 September 2002). Lars von Trier. British Film Institute. ISBN 978-0-85170-902-4.Lars von Trier filmography
This article presents the filmography of Lars von Trier.Medea (1988 film)
Medea is a 1988 drama TV movie directed by Lars von Trier. It is based on Carl Theodor Dreyer's adaptation of Euripides' play Medea.Melancholia (2011 film)
Melancholia is a 2011 psychological drama science fiction art film written and directed by Lars von Trier and starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland, with Alexander Skarsgård, Brady Corbet, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, Jesper Christensen, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgård, and Udo Kier in supporting roles. The film's story revolves around two sisters, one of whom is preparing to marry just before a rogue planet is about to collide with Earth.
Von Trier's initial inspiration for the film came from a depressive episode he suffered. The film is a Danish production by Zentropa, with international co-producers in Sweden, France, Germany and Italy. Filming took place in Sweden. Melancholia prominently features music from the prelude to Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde (1857–1859). It is the second entry in von Trier's unofficially titled "Depression Trilogy", preceded by Antichrist and followed by Nymphomaniac.Melancholia premiered 18 May 2011 at the 64th Cannes Film Festival—where it was critically lauded. Dunst received the festival's Best Actress Award for her performance, which was a common area of praise among critics. Although not without its detractors, many critics and film scholars have considered the film to be a personal masterpiece, and one of the best films of 2011.Nymphomaniac (film)
Nymphomaniac (stylised as NYMPH()MANIAC onscreen and in advertising) is a 2013 European two-part art film written and directed by Lars von Trier. The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Connie Nielsen. The film was originally supposed to be only one complete entry; but, because of its multiple hour length, von Trier made the decision to split the project into two separate films. Nymphomaniac was an international co-production of United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, France, and Germany.
The world premiere of the uncut Volume I occurred on 16 February 2014 at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, while the uncut Volume II premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The world premiere of the Director's Cut took place in Copenhagen on 10 September 2014. It was nominated for the 2014 Nordic Council Film Prize.
Nymphomaniac is the third and final installment in von Trier's unofficially titled Depression Trilogy, having been preceded by Antichrist and Melancholia.The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime is a 1984 neo-noir crime art film co-written and directed by Lars von Trier. It is the first feature film directed by Trier and the first installment of the director's Europa trilogy – succeeded by Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991).The House That Jack Built (2018 film)
The House That Jack Built is a 2018 psychological horror art film written and directed by Lars von Trier, starring Matt Dillon in the title role of Jack. The story follows Jack, a serial killer, over the course of 12 years in the 1970s and 1980s in the U.S. state of Washington. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, marking von Trier's return to the festival after more than six years. It was given a single-day theatrical release on 28 November 2018 in the United States, and polarized critics.The Kingdom (miniseries)
The Kingdom (Danish title: Riget) is an eight-episode Danish television mini-series, created by Lars von Trier in 1994, and co-directed by Lars von Trier and Morten Arnfred. It has been edited together into a five-hour film for distribution in the United Kingdom and United States.The series is set in the neurosurgical ward of Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, the city and country's main hospital, nicknamed "Riget". "Riget" means "the realm" or "the kingdom", and leads one to think of "dødsriget", the realm of the dead. The show follows a number of characters, both staff and patients, as they encounter bizarre phenomena, both human and supernatural. The show is notable for its wry humor, its muted sepia colour scheme, and the appearance of a chorus of dishwashers with Down syndrome who discuss in intimate detail the strange occurrences in the hospital.
The first quartet of episodes ended with numerous questions unanswered, and in 1997, the cast reassembled to produce another group of four episodes, Riget II (The Kingdom II).This second series ended with even more questions unanswered than the first, and a third series was planned. However, due to the death in 1998 of Ernst-Hugo Järegård (who played Stig Helmer) and the subsequent death of Kirsten Rolffes (who played Mrs Drusse) in 2000, the likelihood of a third series is now very remote. Von Trier actually wrote the third and final season, but the production was not picked up by DR. At that point, five regular cast members had died and it seemed impossible to continue the series. The abandoned scripts were sent to the producers of Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital, but it is unclear whether they used the scripts or not.Despite being a mini-series, The Kingdom appears as one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.Zentropa
Zentropa, or Zentropa Entertainments, is a Danish film company started in 1992 by director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen. Zentropa is named from the train company Zentropa in the film Europa (1991), which started the collaboration between Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen.
It has produced over 70 feature films and has become the largest film production company in Scandinavia. It owns a number of subsidiary companies in Europe. Zentropa is also responsible for creating a large studio complex called Filmbyen (Film City), where both Zentropa and many other film-related companies are located.Zentropa may be best known for creating the Dogme 95 movement, leading to such acclaimed films as Idioterne (1998), Festen (1998) and Mifunes sidste sang (1999).
It has also produced hardcore sex films: Constance (1998), Pink Prison (1999), HotMen CoolBoyz (2000), and All About Anna (2005). In 1998, von Trier made history by having his company Zentropa be the world's first mainstream film company to produce such hardcore pornographic films. Three of these films, Constance (1998), Pink Prison (1999), and the adult/mainstream crossover-feature All About Anna (2005), were made primarily for a female audience and were extremely successful in Europe, with the first two being directly responsible for the legalising of pornography in Norway in March 2006.Women too like to see other people having sex. What they don't like is the endless close-ups of hammering bodyparts without a story. Von Trier is the first to have realised this and produced valuable quality porn films for women.
Zentropa's initiative spearheaded a European wave of female-friendly porn films from directors such as Anna Span, Erika Lust and Petra Joy, while von Trier's company Zentropa was forced to abandon the experiment due to pressure from its English business partners. In July 2009, women's magazine Cosmopolitan ranked Pink Prison as No. 1 in its Top Five of the best women's porn, calling it the "role model for the new porn-generation".
Lars von Trier
Category:Lars von Trier
Recipients of the Sonning Prize