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Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier

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Lars von Trier (ˈlɑːs fʌn ˈtʁiːˀɐ; born Lars Trier; 30 April 1956) is a Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

. He is closely associated with the Dogme 95
Dogme 95
Dogme 95 was an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who created the "Dogme 95 Manifesto" and the "Vow of Chastity". These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and...

 collective, although his own films have taken a variety of different approaches, and have frequently received strongly divided critical opinion.


Von Trier began making films at the age of eleven. His first publicly released film was an experimental short called The Orchid Gardener
The Orchid Gardener
The Orchid Gardener is a 1977 experimental film with a mysterious and symbolic plot directed by Lars von Trier. The film is interesting in the way the individual scenes are connected and expressed...

, in 1977, and his first feature film came seven years later, The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime is the first feature film directed by noted Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. The film, released in 1984, is also the first in the director's Europa trilogy...

, in 1984. Among many prizes, awards and nominations, he is the recipient of the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

, the Grand Prix
Grand Prix (Cannes Film Festival)
The Grand Prix is an award of the Cannes Film Festival bestowed by the jury of the festival on one of the competing feature films. It is the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d'Or...

, and the Prix du Jury
Jury Prize (Cannes Film Festival)
The Jury Prize is an award presented at the Cannes Film Festival. It is chosen by the jury from the 'official section' of movies at the festival. It is considered the third most prestigious prize at the film festival, after the Palme d'Or and the Grand Prix....

 at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

.

Early life and career


Lars Trier was born in Kongens Lyngby
Kongens Lyngby
Kongens Lyngby is the main city in the affluent Danish municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk. Just north of Copenhagen, the city lies in the northern part of Denmark's largest island, Zealand...

, north of Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, the son of Inger Trier (née
NEE
NEE is a political protest group whose goal was to provide an alternative for voters who are unhappy with all political parties at hand in Belgium, where voting is compulsory.The NEE party was founded in 2005 in Antwerp...

 Høst, 1915—1989). He had believed that his biological father was Ulf Trier (1907—1978), until his mother revealed to him on her deathbed that he had been conceived as a result of an affair she had with her employer, Fritz Michael Hartmann. His mother considered herself a communist, while his father was social democrat, and both were committed nudists, and the young Lars went on several childhood holidays to nudist camps. They regarded the disciplining of children as reactionary. Trier has noted that he was brought up in an atheist family, and that although Ulf Trier was Jewish, he was not religious. He did not discover the identity of his biological father until 1989. 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 results for von Trier's personality and development. The young Lars found in cinema an outlet to the outside world through which he could learn about subjects otherwise forbidden from his study by his parents. He began making his own films at the age of 11 after receiving a Super-8 camera as a gift and continued to be involved in independent moviemaking throughout his high school years.

In 1979, he was enrolled in the National Film School of Denmark
National Film School of Denmark
TheNational Film School of Denmark is an independent institution under the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs. It was established in 1966 and is based on Holmen in the harbour of Copenhagen.-History:...

. His peers at the film school nicknamed him "von Trier". The name is sort of an inside-joke with the von
Von
In German, von is a preposition which approximately means of or from.When it is used as a part of a German family name, it is usually a nobiliary particle, like the French, Spanish and Portuguese "de". At certain times and places, it has been illegal for anyone who was not a member of the nobility...

 (German "of" or "from" used as a nobiliary particle
Nobiliary particle
A nobiliary particle is used in a family name or surname in many Western cultures to signal the nobility of a family. The particle used varies depending on the country, language and period of time. This article is dedicated to explain how noble families of different countries identify themselves by...

), suggesting nobility, while Lars is a very common and Trier not an unusual name in Denmark. He reportedly kept the "von" name in homage to Erich von Stroheim
Erich von Stroheim
Erich von Stroheim was an Austrian-born film star of the silent era, subsequently noted as an auteur for his directorial work.-Background:...

 and Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg — born Jonas Sternberg — was an Austrian-American film director. He is particularly noted for his distinctive mise en scène, use of lighting and soft lens, and seven-film collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich.-Youth:Von Sternberg was born Jonas Sternberg to a Jewish...

, both of whom also added it later in life. During his time as a student at the school he made the films Nocturne (1980
1980 in film
- Events :* May 21 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released and is the biggest grosser of the year ....

) and The Last Detail (Den sidste detalje, 1981
1981 in film
-Events:*January 19 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquires beleaguered concurrent United Artists. UA was humiliated by the astronomical losses on the $40,000,000 movie Heaven's Gate, a major factor in the decision of owner Transamerica to sell it....

), both of which won Best Film awards at the Munich International Festival of Film Schools, and he graduated with Images of a Relief (Befrielsesbilleder, 1982
1982 in film
-Events:* March 26 = I Ought to Be in Pictures, starring Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret and Dinah Manoff is released. Manoff would not appear in another movie until 1987's Backfire.* June = PG-rated film E.T...

) in 1983.

Europe trilogy


After graduation he began work on the very stylized crime drama, The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime is the first feature film directed by noted Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. The film, released in 1984, is also the first in the director's Europa trilogy...

(Forbrydelsens element 1984
1984 in film
-Events:* The Walt Disney Company founds Touchstone Pictures to release movies with subject matter deemed inappropriate for the Disney name.* Tri-Star Pictures, a joint venture of Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS, releases its first film....

), which won a technical award at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

.

His next film was Epidemic
Epidemic (film)
Epidemic is a 1987 film directed by Lars von Trier. It is the second of Trier's films known collectively as the Europa trilogy. The other two films in the trilogy are The Element of Crime and Europa ....

(1987
1987 in film
-Events:*January 31 - The Cure for Insomnia premieres at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, to officially become the world's longest film according to Guinness World Records....

), which was also shown at Cannes
1987 Cannes Film Festival
- Jury :*Yves Montand*Danièle Heymann*Elem Klimov*Gérald Calderon*Jeremy Thomas*Jerzy Skolimowski*Nicola Piovani*Norman Mailer*Theo Angelopoulos-Feature film competition:...

 in the Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Regard is a section of the Cannes Film Festival's Official Selection. It is run at the Salle Debussy, parallel to the competition for the Palme d'Or.This section was introduced in 1978 by Gilles Jacob...

 section. The film is partly a dark science fiction-tale of a future plague epidemic, and partly chronicles two filmmakers (played by Lars von Trier and screenwriter Niels Vørsel) preparing that film, with the two storylines ultimately colliding.

For television von Trier directed Medea (1988
1988 in film
-Top grossing films :- Awards :Academy Awards:* Act of Piracy* Action Jackson, starring Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, Vanity, Sharon Stone* The Adventures of Baron Munchausen* Akira* Alice...

), which won the Jean d'Arcy prize in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It was based on a screenplay by Carl Th. Dreyer and starred Udo Kier
Udo Kier
Udo Kier is a German actor, known primarily for his work in horror and exploitation movies.-Early life:...

.

He completed the Europe-trilogy in 1991
1991 in film
The year 1991 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*April 28 - Bonnie Raitt marries actor Michael O'Keefe in New York* Terminator 2: Judgment Day, became one of the landmarks for science fiction action films with its groundbreaking visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic.*November...

 with Europa (released as Zentropa in the U.S.), which won the Prix du Jury at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival
1991 Cannes Film Festival
- Jury :*Roman Polanski *Férid Boughedir *Whoopi Goldberg *Margaret Menegoz *Natalia Negoda *Alan Parker *Jean-Paul Rappeneau *Hans Dieter Seidel *Vittorio Storaro...

 and picked up awards at other major festivals
Film festival
A film festival is an organised, extended presentation of films in one or more movie theaters or screening venues, usually in a single locality. More and more often film festivals show part of their films to the public by adding outdoor movie screenings...

.

In 1990 he also directed the music video for the worldwide hit "Bakerman" by Laid Back
Laid Back
Laid Back is a Danish Post-punk group formed in Copenhagen by John Guldberg and Tim Stahl in 1979...

. This video was reused in 2006 by the English DJ and artist Shaun Baker
Shaun Baker
Shaun Baker is a DJ from the north of England but has for over 20 years been based in Paderborn, Germany. He has been playing the worldwide club scene over 20 years. Together with his friend and partner Sebastian Wolter he also produces music...

 who did a remake of Bakerman.

Zentropa and The Kingdom


In 1992 he and producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen
Peter Aalbæk Jensen
Peter Aalbæk Jensen is a Danish film producer who in 1992 with director Lars von Trier founded the Danish film company Zentropa and later its huge studio complex Filmbyen....

 founded the movie production company Zentropa Entertainment
Zentropa
Europa is a film directed by Lars von Trier. Released in 1991, it is von Trier's third theatrical feature film and is the final film in the Europa trilogy....

, named after a train company in Europa, their most recent film at the time. The reason for doing this was to achieve financial independence and to have total creative control. The production company has produced many movies other than von Trier's own as well as television series. It is also the world's only mainstream film studio to have produced hardcore sex films: Constance
Constance (1998 film)
Constance is an erotic film for women, directed by Knud Vesterskov and produced by Puzzy Power, a division of Lars von Trier's film company Zentropa...

(1998), Pink Prison
Pink Prison
Pink Prison is an erotic film for women, directed by Lisbeth Lynghøft and produced by Puzzy Power, a division of Lars von Trier's film company Zentropa....

(1999), HotMen CoolBoyz
HotMen CoolBoyz
HotMen CoolBoyz is a Danish adult film directed by Knud Vesterskov and starring Ron Athey and Billy Herrington.It was produced by Puzzy Power/HotMale, the adult arm of Lars von Trier's company Zentropa, also known for the Dogme95-manifesto and such projects as Dogville starring Nicole Kidman,...

(2000) and All About Anna
All About Anna
All About Anna is a Danish pornographic film released in 2005, directed by Jessica Nilsson and starring Gry Bay and Mark Stevens. The film is explicit in its exploration of sexual relationships...

(2005).

In order to make money for his newly founded company, he made The Kingdom (Riget, 1994
1994 in film
1994 was a significant year in film.The top grosser worldwide was The Lion King, which to date stands as the highest-grossing traditionally-animated film of all time...

) and The Kingdom II (Riget II, 1997
1997 in film
-Events:* The original Star Wars trilogy's Special Editions are released.* Production begins on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.* Titanic becomes the first film to gross US$1,000,000,000 at the box office making it the highest grossing film in history until Avatar broke the record in 2010.*...

), a pair of miniseries recorded in the Danish national hospital, the name "Riget" being a colloquial name for the hospital known as Rigshospitalet
Rigshospitalet
Rigshospitalet - Copenhagen University Hospital, or simply Riget, is the national hospital of Denmark, located in the capital city of Copenhagen, between the streets of Blegdamsvej, Tagensvej and Nørre Allé...

 (lit. The Kingdom's Hospital) in Danish. A projected third installment in the series has been derailed due to the death of Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Ernst-Hugo Alfred Järegård, was a Swedish cult actor.-Biography:...

, who played Helmer, one of the major characters.

Dogme 95


In 1995, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg is a Danish film director who, along with Lars von Trier, co-founded the Dogme 95 movement in filmmaking, which established rules for simplifying movie production....

 presented their manifesto for a new cinematic movement which they called Dogme 95. It would however take a while before the first of these films appeared, and at this point many thought of the concept mainly as a radical idea with no future.

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
2000 in film
The year 2000 in film involved some significant events.The top grosser worldwide was Mission: Impossible II. Domestically in North America, Gladiator won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor ....

 with the title De Udstillede
De Udstillede
De Udstillede is a 2000 Danish documentary film directed by Jesper Jargil. It documents a theatrical experiment devised by Lars von Trier.- The mechanism :...

(The Exhibited).

Von Trier's next film, Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves is a 1996 film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Emily Watson. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, it tells the story of an unusual young woman, Bess McNeill, and of the love she has for Jan, her husband. The film is an international co-production led by Lars...

(1996
1996 in film
Major releases this year included Scream, Independence Day, Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Twister, Mars Attacks!, Jerry Maguire and a version of Evita starring Madonna.-Events:...

), the first film in von Trier's 'Golden Heart Trilogy', won the Grand Prix
Grand Prix (Cannes Film Festival)
The Grand Prix is an award of the Cannes Film Festival bestowed by the jury of the festival on one of the competing feature films. It is the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d'Or...

 at Cannes
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 and featured Emily Watson
Emily Watson
Emily Watson is an English actress. She gave an acclaimed debut film performance in Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves.- Early life :...

, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

. Its grainy images and hand-held photography pointed towards Dogme 95. The second was The Idiots
The Idiots
The Idiots is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and is also known as Dogme #2...

(1998
1998 in film
-Events:* February 14 - Sharon Stone marries Phil Bronstein.* Former child star Gary Coleman is charged with assaulting a young female bus driver at a California shopping mall.-Top grossing films:...

), nominated for a Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

, which he presented in person at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 notwithstanding his dislike of travelling. Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Joel Grey...

(2000
2000 in film
The year 2000 in film involved some significant events.The top grosser worldwide was Mission: Impossible II. Domestically in North America, Gladiator won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor ....

) was the final component of the trilogy.

As originator of the Dogme 95
Dogme 95
Dogme 95 was an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who created the "Dogme 95 Manifesto" and the "Vow of Chastity". These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and...

 concept, which has led to international interest in Danish film as a whole, he has inspired filmmakers all over the world. Trier and Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg is a Danish film director who, along with Lars von Trier, co-founded the Dogme 95 movement in filmmaking, which established rules for simplifying movie production....

, who created the Dogme 95 Manifesto and the "Vow of Chastity" together with their fellow Dogme directors Kristian Levring
Kristian Levring
Kristian Levring is a Danish director born in 1957. He was the fourth signatory of Dogme95 movement in cinema.-Biography:He lived eight years in France. He graduated in editing at the National Film School of Denmark and has edited a large number of documentaries and feature films besides directing...

 and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen
Søren Kragh-Jacobsen
Søren Kragh-Jacobsen is a Danish film director, musician, and song writer. He was one of the founders and practitioners of the Dogme95 project, for creating films without artificial technology or techniques.-Early career:...

 shared in 2008 the European Film Award European Achievement in World Cinema.

Explicit images


Von Trier's use of sexually explicit images in The Idiots
The Idiots
The Idiots is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and is also known as Dogme #2...

(1998) started a wave of arthouse mainstream films with unsimulated sex
Unsimulated sex in film
Unsimulated sex in mainstream cinema was at one time restricted by law and self-imposed industry standards such as the Motion Picture Production Code. Films showing explicit sexual activity were confined to privately distributed underground films, such as stag films or "porn loops"...

, such as Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat is a French filmmaker, novelist and Professor of Auteur Cinema at the European Graduate School.-Life and career:Breillat was born in Bressuire, Deux-Sèvres, but grew up in Niort...

's Romance
Romance (1999 film)
Romance is a 1999 French movie written and directed by Catherine Breillat. It stars Caroline Ducey, pornographic actor Rocco Siffredi, Sagamore Stévenin and François Berléand. The film features explicit copulation scenes, especially one showing Caroline Ducey's coitus with Rocco Siffredi...

(1999), Baise-Moi
Baise-moi
Baise-moi is a French film co-directed by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, released in 2000. It is based on the novel by Despentes, first published in 1999. The film received intense media coverage because of its graphic mix of violence and explicit sex scenes...

(2000), Intimacy (2001), Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo is an Italian-American film director and actor. Though he has had minor roles in mainstream films such as Goodfellas, he is most associated with independent movies, including Buffalo '66, which he wrote, directed, did the music for and starred in; The Brown Bunny, which he also...

's The Brown Bunny
The Brown Bunny
The Brown Bunny is a 2003 independent American art house film written, produced and directed by actor Vincent Gallo about a motorcycle racer on a cross-country drive who is haunted by memories of his former lover. The film had its world premiere at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival to boos and catcalls...

(2003) and Michael Winterbottom
Michael Winterbottom
Michael Winterbottom is a prolific English filmmaker who has directed seventeen feature films in the past fifteen years. He began his career working in British television before moving into features...

's 9 Songs
9 Songs
9 Songs is a 2004 British film directed by Michael Winterbottom. The title refers to the nine songs played by eight different rock bands that complement the story of the film...

(2004).

In 1998, Lars von Trier also made history by having his company Zentropa
Zentropa
Europa is a film directed by Lars von Trier. Released in 1991, it is von Trier's third theatrical feature film and is the final film in the Europa trilogy....

 be the world's first mainstream film company to produce hardcore
Hardcore pornography
Hardcore pornography is a form of pornography that features explicit sexual acts. The term was coined in the second half of the 20th century to distinguish it from softcore pornography. It usually takes the form of photographs, often displayed in magazines or on the Internet, or films. It can also...

 pornographic films. Three of these films, Constance
Constance (1998 film)
Constance is an erotic film for women, directed by Knud Vesterskov and produced by Puzzy Power, a division of Lars von Trier's film company Zentropa...

(1998), Pink Prison
Pink Prison
Pink Prison is an erotic film for women, directed by Lisbeth Lynghøft and produced by Puzzy Power, a division of Lars von Trier's film company Zentropa....

(1999) and the adult/mainstream crossover-feature All About Anna
All About Anna
All About Anna is a Danish pornographic film released in 2005, directed by Jessica Nilsson and starring Gry Bay and Mark Stevens. The film is explicit in its exploration of sexual relationships...

(2005), were made primarily for a female audience, and were extremely successful in Europe, with the first two being directly responsible for the March 2006 legalizing of pornography in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

.
Lars von Trier's initiative spearheaded a European wave of female-friendly porn films from directors such as Anna Span
Anna Span
Anna Arrowsmith , who works under the pseudonym Anna Span, is an English pornographic film director. She is also a public speaker on sex, pornography, and feminism.-Early life:...

, Erika Lust and Petra Joy
Petra Joy
Petra Joy is an award-winning German feminist film director, film producer, TV producer, distributor, author, and photographer. She lives in Brighton, England. Along with Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, Maria Beatty, and others, she is one of the pioneers of the movement to make pornography for...

, while von Trier's company Zentropa
Zentropa
Europa is a film directed by Lars von Trier. Released in 1991, it is von Trier's third theatrical feature film and is the final film in the Europa trilogy....

 was forced to abandon the experiment due to pressure from English business partners. In July 2009, women's magazine Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan (magazine)
Cosmopolitan is an international magazine for women. It was first published in 1886 in the United States as a family magazine, was later transformed into a literary magazine and eventually became a women's magazine in the late 1960s...

ranked Pink Prison as #1 in its Top Five of the best women’s porn, calling it the "role model for the new porn-generation". Lars von Trier would return to explicit images in his self-directed Antichrist
Antichrist (film)
Antichrist is a 2009 arthouse-horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It follows horror film conventions and 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...

(2009), exploring darker themes.

2000s


In 2000, von Trier premiered a musical featuring Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

ic musician Björk
Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir , known as Björk , is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk...

, Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Joel Grey...

. The film won the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at Cannes
2000 Cannes Film Festival
The 2000 Cannes Film Festival started on May 14 and ran until May 25. The Palme d'Or went to the Danish film Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier.-Jury:* Luc Besson, President * Jonathan Demme * Nicole Garcia...

. The song "I've Seen It All" (which Trier co-wrote) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.

The Five Obstructions
The Five Obstructions
The Five Obstructions is a 2003 Danish film by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. The film is a documentary, but incorporates lengthy sections of experimental films produced by the filmmakers. The premise is that Lars von Trier has created a challenge for his friend and mentor, Jørgen Leth, another...

(2003), made by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth
Jørgen Leth
Jørgen Leth is a Danish poet and film director who is considered a leading figure in experimental documentary film making. Most notable are his epic documentary A Sunday in Hell and his surrealistic short film The Perfect Human...

, is a documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

, but also incorporates lengthy sections of experimental film
Experimental film
Experimental film or experimental cinema is a type of cinema. Experimental film is an artistic practice relieving both of visual arts and cinema. Its origins can be found in European avant-garde movements of the twenties. Experimental cinema has built its history through the texts of theoreticians...

s. The premise is that Lars von Trier challenges director Jørgen Leth, his friend and mentor, to remake his old experimental film The Perfect Human
The Perfect Human (film)
The Perfect Human is a 1967 short film by Jørgen Leth lasting 13 minutes. It depicts a man and a woman, both labelled 'the perfect human' in a detached manner, "functioning" in a white boundless room, as though they were subjects in a zoo....

(1967) five times, each time with a different 'obstruction' (or obstacle) specified by von Trier.

He then directed two films in his announced 'U.S. trilogy': Dogville
Dogville
Dogville is a 2003 drama written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Chloë Sevigny, Paul Bettany, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, and James Caan...

(2003), starring Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

 and Manderlay
Manderlay
Manderlay is the 2005 sequel to the film Dogville. It is the second part of Lars von Trier's projected USA - Land of Opportunities trilogy. Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Nicole Kidman in the role of Grace Mulligan. The film co-stars Willem Dafoe, replacing James Caan...

(2005), starring Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard is an American film actress and daughter of director Ron Howard. She made her acting debut in her father's 1989 movie Parenthood and went on to have small roles in films and make stage appearances for the next several years...

 in the same role - as Grace. Both films are extremely stylized, with the actors playing their parts on a nearly empty soundstage with little but chalk marks on the floor to indicate the sets. Both films had huge casts of major international actors (Harriet Andersson
Harriet Andersson
Harriet Andersson is a Swedish actress, known outside Sweden for being part of one of director Ingmar Bergman's stock company....

, Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

, James Caan
James Caan
James Caan is an American actor. He is best known for his starring roles in The Godfather, Thief, Misery, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song, Rollerball, Kiss Me Goodbye, Elf, and El Dorado...

, Danny Glover
Danny Glover
Danny Lebern Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise.-Early life:...

, Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe is an American film, stage, and voice actor, and a founding member of the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group...

, etc.), and questioned various issues relating to American society, such as intolerance in Dogville and slavery in Manderlay.

Controversy erupted on the 2004 set for Manderlay when actor John C. Reilly
John C. Reilly
John Christopher Reilly, Jr. is an American film and theater actor, singer, and comedian. Debuting in Casualties of War in 1989, he is one of several actors whose careers were launched by Brian De Palma. To date, he has appeared in more than fifty films, including three separate films in 2002...

 walked off the Trollhättan
Trollhättan
Trollhättan is a city and the seat of Trollhättan Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden with 44,498 inhabitants in 2005. It is located 75 km north of Sweden's second-largest city, Gothenburg....

, Sweden, set in late March. Reilly walked off the film when he learned that an upcoming scene involved the slaughter of a donkey for food. The film's producer says the animal—who was old and not expected to live much longer—was killed off-camera by a certified veterinarian, in accordance with Swedish law. Reilly was replaced by Zeljko Ivanek.

The U.S. was also the scene for Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy is a 2005 film directed by Thomas Vinterberg, and starring Jamie Bell, Bill Pullman, Mark Webber and Alison Pill among others.It is a co-production of Denmark, Germany, France and the UK.The script was written by Lars von Trier....

(2005), a feature film directed by von Trier's "Dogme-brother" Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg is a Danish film director who, along with Lars von Trier, co-founded the Dogme 95 movement in filmmaking, which established rules for simplifying movie production....

 from a script by von Trier. It starred Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell
Andrew James Matfin "Jamie" Bell is an English actor. He is best known for his roles in the films Billy Elliot , King Kong , Hallam Foe , Jumper , Defiance , The Eagle and The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn .- Early life :Bell was born in Billingham, in the Borough of...

 and Bill Pullman
Bill Pullman
William James "Bill" Pullman is an American film, television, and stage actor. Pullman made his film debut in the supporting role of Earl Mott in the 1986 film Ruthless People. He has since gone on to star in other films, including Spaceballs, Independence Day, Lost Highway, Casper and Scary Movie 4...

 and dealt with gun worship and violence in American society.

In 2006, von Trier released a Danish-language comedy film, The Boss of it All
The Boss of It All
The Boss of it All is a 2006 Danish comedy film written and directed by Lars von Trier.-Plot:The owner of an IT company wishes to sell it. But, for years, he has pretended that the real boss lives in America and communicates with the staff only by e-mail. That way, all the unpopular decisions...

. It was shot using a process that von Trier 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.

It was followed by an autobiographical film, De unge år: Erik Nietzsche sagaen del 1 (2007), scripted by von Trier but directed by Jacob Thuesen, which tells the story of von Trier's years as a student at the National Film School of Denmark
National Film School of Denmark
TheNational Film School of Denmark is an independent institution under the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs. It was established in 1966 and is based on Holmen in the harbour of Copenhagen.-History:...

. It stars Jonatan Spang as von Trier's alter ego, called "Erik Nietzsche", and is narrated by von Trier himself. All main characters in the film are based on real people from the Danish film industry, with the thinly veiled portrayals including Jens Albinus
Jens Albinus
- Filmography :*Everything will be Fine *Daisy Diamond *The Boss of It All *The Eagle - as Hallgrim Ørn Hallgrimsson*Forbrydelser - as Carsten...

 as director Nils Malmros
Nils Malmros
Nils Malmros , a Danish film director and screenwriter, is considered a leading auteur of realism in Danish cinema. Malmros is noted for his detailed focus on the common growing pains of adolescence and the loss of innocence, which he draws from his childhood experiences growing up in Århus, Denmark...

, Dejan Čukić
Dejan Cukic
Dejan Cukić is a Serbian rock musician, journalist and writer.During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Cukić was the frontman of the New Wave band Bulevar, releasing two albums with the band. After Bulevar disbanded in 1982, he retired from music...

 as screenwriter Mogens Rukov
Mogens Rukov
Mogens Rukov is a Danish screenwriter.He achieved a university degree in Nordic filology and film in 1974.After that he became a teacher of the screenwriting department at the National Film School of Denmark, Copenhagen....

 and Søren Pilmark
Søren Pilmark
Søren Pilmark is a Danish actor.With Natasja Crone Back, he is notable for hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2001 in a seemingly endless string of rhyming couplets....

 in an especially unflattering portrayal as sex-obsessed school principal Henning Camre
Henning Camre
Henning Camre is a Danish cinematographer and film industry administrator, currently President of the Think Tank on European Film and Film Policy...

.

Lars von Trier's next feature film was a horror movie, Antichrist
Antichrist (film)
Antichrist is a 2009 arthouse-horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It follows horror film conventions and 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...

, 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, which includes sexually explicit content, stars Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe is an American film, stage, and voice actor, and a founding member of the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group...

 and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Charlotte Lucy Gainsbourg is an Anglo-French actress and singer. After releasing an album with her father at the age of fifteen, more than twenty years passed before she released two albums as an adult to commercial and critical success...

. It premiered in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

, where the festival's jury honoured the movie by giving the Best Actress award to Gainsbourg. The Cannes Film Festival Ecumenical Jury
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury is an independent film award for feature films at the Cannes Film Festival since 1974. The Ecumenical Jury is one of three juries at the Cannes Film Festival, along with the official jury and the FIPRESCI jury. The award was created by Christian film makers, film...

, which gives prizes for movies that promote spiritual, humanist and universal values, also "honoured" the film with a special "anti-award"; a spokesman for the jury described it as "the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world." In 2010 the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on their website that the film production company Zentropa is reportedly making more revenue from suing movie pirates in Germany that have downloaded Antichrist illegally than from box office and DVD sales, demanding a payment of around 1,300 euros per download to avoid legal action.

2010s


Von Trier's latest work is Melancholia, a psychological disaster drama; shot between 22 July and 8 September 2010 at Film i Väst's studios in Trollhättan
Trollhättan
Trollhättan is a city and the seat of Trollhättan Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden with 44,498 inhabitants in 2005. It is located 75 km north of Sweden's second-largest city, Gothenburg....

, Sweden, and with exteriors in the area surrounding the Tjolöholm Castle
Tjolöholm Castle
Tjolöholm Castle is a country house, built 1898-1904, in Halland, Sweden. It is located on a peninsula in the Kungsbacka Fjord on the Kattegat coast. In 2010, Danish film director Lars Von Trier shot the exterior scenes of the film Melancholia at the castle. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes...

. Magnolia Pictures
Magnolia Pictures
Magnolia Pictures is an American film distributor, and is a holding of 2929 Entertainment, owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. Magnolia was formed in 2001 by Bill Banowsky and Eamonn Bowles, and specializes in both foreign and independent films....

 has acquired the distribution rights for North America. The film was in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival
2011 Cannes Film Festival
The 64th annual Cannes Film Festival was held from May 11 to May 22, 2011. American actor Robert De Niro served as the president of the jury for the main competition and French filmmaker Michel Gondry headed the jury for the short film competition...

.

Von Trier announced that after finishing Melancholia he hopes to begin production of The Nymphomaniac, a film about the sexual awakening of a woman. The director explained how he got the idea for the upcoming project: "my DP on [Melancholia], Manuel Claro
Manuel Alberto Claro
Manuel Alberto Claro is a Danish cinematographer. He was born in Santiago, Chile in 1970. In 1974 he moved to Denmark and since that time lives in Copenhagen....

, at one point voiced a surprising prejudice. He urged me not to fall into the trap that so many aging directors fall into – that the women get younger and younger and nuder and nuder. That's all I needed to hear. I most definitely intend for the women in my films to get younger and younger and nuder and nuder."

Phobias


Von Trier suffers from multiple phobias, including an intense fear of flying
Fear of flying
A fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane , or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also sometimes referred to as aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia or pteromerhanophobia....

. His fear of air travel frequently places severely limiting constraints on him and his crew, necessitating that virtually all of his films be shot in either Denmark or Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, even those set in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 or other foreign countries. Von Trier has had a number of his films featured at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 over the course of his career, and each time has insisted on driving from Denmark to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 for the festival and back.

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.

Filming techniques


Lars von Trier has said that "a film should be like a stone in your shoe". In order to create original art he feels that filmmakers must distinguish themselves stylistically from other films, often by placing restrictions on the filmmaking process. The most famous restriction is the cinematic "vow of chastity" of the Dogme95 movement with which he is associated, though only one of his films, The Idiots
The Idiots
The Idiots is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and is also known as Dogme #2...

, is an actual Dogme 95 film. In Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Joel Grey...

, jump shots and dramatically-different color palettes and camera techniques were used for the "real world" and musical portions of the film, and in Dogville
Dogville
Dogville is a 2003 drama written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Chloë Sevigny, Paul Bettany, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, and James Caan...

everything was filmed on a sound stage with no set where the walls of the buildings in the fictional town were marked as a line on the floor.

Von Trier often shoots digitally
Digital cinematography
Digital cinematography is the process of capturing motion pictures as digital images, rather than on film. Digital capture may occur on video tape, hard disks, flash memory, or other media which can record digital data. As digital technology has improved, this practice has become increasingly common...

 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
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

. These techniques often put great strain on actors, most famously with Björk
Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir , known as Björk , is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk...

 during the filming of Dancer in the Dark. Often he uses the same regular group of actors in many of his films: some of his frequently used actors are Jean-Marc Barr
Jean-Marc Barr
Jean-Marc Barr is a French-American film actor and director. His mother is French. His American father was in the US Air Force and served in the Second World War. Jean-Marc Barr is primarily known as an actor, but is also a film director, screenwriter and producer...

, Udo Kier
Udo Kier
Udo Kier is a German actor, known primarily for his work in horror and exploitation movies.-Early life:...

 and Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan John Skarsgård is a Swedish actor, known internationally for his film roles in Angels & Demons, Breaking the Waves, The Hunt for Red October, Ronin, Good Will Hunting, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist,...

.

He is heavily influenced by the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Carl Theodor Dreyer, Jr. was a Danish film director. He is regarded by many critics and filmmakers as one of the greatest directors in cinema.-Life:Dreyer was born illegitimate in Copenhagen, Denmark...

 and the film The Night Porter
The Night Porter
The Night Porter is a controversial 1974 film by Italian director Liliana Cavani, starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling.- Synopsis :...

. He was so inspired by the short film The Perfect Human directed by Jørgen Leth
Jørgen Leth
Jørgen Leth is a Danish poet and film director who is considered a leading figure in experimental documentary film making. Most notable are his epic documentary A Sunday in Hell and his surrealistic short film The Perfect Human...

 that he challenged Leth to redo the short five times in feature film The Five Obstructions
The Five Obstructions
The Five Obstructions is a 2003 Danish film by Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth. The film is a documentary, but incorporates lengthy sections of experimental films produced by the filmmakers. The premise is that Lars von Trier has created a challenge for his friend and mentor, Jørgen Leth, another...

.

Trilogies


Von Trier has on occasion referred to his films as falling into thematic and stylistic trilogies
Trilogy
A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected, and that can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. They are commonly found in literature, film, or video games...

. This pattern began with his first feature film, marking the beginning of The Europa Trilogy
Europa trilogy
The Europa Trilogy is a film trilogy written and directed by Lars von Trier, comprising his three feature films The Element of Crime , Epidemic and Europa . The films are not a narrative trilogy, but rather are linked by common themes and stylistic explorations. The overarching subject of the...

, though he claims a trilogy was not initially planned, instead being applied to the films in retrospect. The Europe trilogy illuminated the traumas of Europe in the past and future. This trilogy includes The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime is the first feature film directed by noted Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. The film, released in 1984, is also the first in the director's Europa trilogy...

(1984
1984 in film
-Events:* The Walt Disney Company founds Touchstone Pictures to release movies with subject matter deemed inappropriate for the Disney name.* Tri-Star Pictures, a joint venture of Columbia Pictures, HBO, and CBS, releases its first film....

), Epidemic
Epidemic (film)
Epidemic is a 1987 film directed by Lars von Trier. It is the second of Trier's films known collectively as the Europa trilogy. The other two films in the trilogy are The Element of Crime and Europa ....

(1987
1987 in film
-Events:*January 31 - The Cure for Insomnia premieres at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, to officially become the world's longest film according to Guinness World Records....

) and Europa (1991
1991 in film
The year 1991 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*April 28 - Bonnie Raitt marries actor Michael O'Keefe in New York* Terminator 2: Judgment Day, became one of the landmarks for science fiction action films with its groundbreaking visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic.*November...

).

The Golden Heart trilogy was about naive heroines who maintain their 'golden hearts' despite the tragedies they experience. This trilogy consists of Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves is a 1996 film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Emily Watson. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, it tells the story of an unusual young woman, Bess McNeill, and of the love she has for Jan, her husband. The film is an international co-production led by Lars...

(1996
1996 in film
Major releases this year included Scream, Independence Day, Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Twister, Mars Attacks!, Jerry Maguire and a version of Evita starring Madonna.-Events:...

), The Idiots
The Idiots
The Idiots is a 1998 Danish film directed by Lars von Trier. It is his first film made in compliance with the Dogme '95 Manifesto, and is also known as Dogme #2...

(1998
1998 in film
-Events:* February 14 - Sharon Stone marries Phil Bronstein.* Former child star Gary Coleman is charged with assaulting a young female bus driver at a California shopping mall.-Top grossing films:...

) and Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 Danish musical drama film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Cara Seymour, Peter Stormare, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, and Joel Grey...

(2000
2000 in film
The year 2000 in film involved some significant events.The top grosser worldwide was Mission: Impossible II. Domestically in North America, Gladiator won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor ....

). While all three films are sometimes associated with the Dogme 95
Dogme 95
Dogme 95 was an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, who created the "Dogme 95 Manifesto" and the "Vow of Chastity". These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and...

 movement, only The Idiots is a certified Dogme 95 film.

The USA: Land of Opportunities trilogy follows the character of Grace, and is set in a stylized American past. Von Trier has stated he was inspired to make a trilogy about the United States as a reaction to Americans at the Cannes film festival who said he had no right to make the Dancer in the Dark, which was often viewed as being critical of a country he has never been to (and has no intention of ever visiting, due to his phobia of travel); however, von Trier himself has stated in interviews he did not intend it to be a criticism of America, saying the film takes place in a "fictional America". Lars von Trier proposed the films as ‘a series of sermons on America’s sins and hypocrisy’, inspired by the fact that American movie makers have made many movies about places across the world to which they have not travelled. All three movies will be shot in the same distinctive style, on a bare sound stage
Sound stage
In common usage, a sound stage is a soundproof, hangar-like structure, building, or room, used for the production of theatrical filmmaking and television production, usually located on a secure movie studio property.-Overview:...

 with no set and buildings marked by lines on the floor. This style is inspired by 1970s televised theatre. The trilogy will consist of Dogville
Dogville
Dogville is a 2003 drama written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Chloë Sevigny, Paul Bettany, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier, and James Caan...

(2003
2003 in film
The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

), Manderlay
Manderlay
Manderlay is the 2005 sequel to the film Dogville. It is the second part of Lars von Trier's projected USA - Land of Opportunities trilogy. Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Nicole Kidman in the role of Grace Mulligan. The film co-stars Willem Dafoe, replacing James Caan...

(2005
2005 in film
- Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2005...

) and the so far not produced Washington.

The Kingdom
The Kingdom (TV miniseries)
The Kingdom 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 movie for distribution in the United Kingdom and United States...

(Riget) was planned as a trilogy of three seasons with 13 episodes in total, but the third season was not filmed due to death of star Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Ernst-Hugo Alfred Järegård, was a Swedish cult actor.-Biography:...

 shortly after completion of the second season.

Biological father


In 1989, von Trier's mother revealed on her deathbed that the man whom he thought was his father was not, and that she had had a tryst with her former employer, Fritz Michael Hartmann (1909–2000), who descended from a long line of Roman Catholic classical musicians (His grandfather was Emil Hartmann
Emil Hartmann
Emil Hartmann was a Danish composer, the eldest son of Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann and brother-in-law to Niels Gade. His son Oluf Hartmann was a painter....

, his great grandfather J.P.E. Hartmann
Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann
Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann was a Danish composer.-Biography:Hartmann came from a musical family of German descent. Although he received his music lessons initially from his father, he taught himself as much as possible...

, his uncles included Niels Gade and Johan Ernst Hartmann
Johan Ernst Hartmann
Johan Ernst Hartmann was a Danish organist and composer.-References:*This article was initially translated from the Danish Wikipedia....

 and thus Niels Viggo Bentzon
Niels Viggo Bentzon
Niels Viggo Bentzon was a Danish composer and pianist.Bentzon was descended from Johan Ernst Hartmann and the great-grandson of J.P.E. Hartmann. From 1938 to 1942, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen under Knud Jeppesen and Christian Christiansen...

 was his cousin). She stated that she did this in order 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, Fritz Michael Hartmann worked as a civil servant and joined a resistance group
Danish resistance movement
The Danish resistance movement was an underground insurgency movement to resist the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. Due to the unusually lenient terms given to Danish people by the Nazi occupation authority, the movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale...

 (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
Viggo Kampmann
Viggo Olfert Fischer Kampmann was the leader of the Danish Social Democrats and Prime Minister of Denmark from 19 February 1960 until 3 September 1962. His cabinet before the 1960 election was called the Cabinet of Viggo Kampmann I and the cabinet he formed after that election was called the...

, who would later become prime minister of Denmark.

After four awkward meetings with his biological father, the man refused further contact. The revelations led von Trier to attempt to "erase" the connections with his stepfather by converting to Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, and to rework his filmmaking into a style emphasizing "honesty".

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 declared, "I'm a very bad Catholic. In fact I'm becoming more and more of an atheist."

Controversy at 2011 Cannes Film Festival


On 19 May 2011, Cannes Film Festival's board of directors declared von Trier persona non grata
Persona non grata
Persona non grata , literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country...

 for comments he made during a press conference for his film Melancholia the day before, an unprecedented move for the film festival. Responding to a question by The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

film critic Kate Muir about his German roots and his comments in a Danish film magazine about the Nazi aesthetic, von Trier claimed to have some sympathy for and understanding of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, and then jokingly claimed to be a Nazi himself:



Hours later, Von Trier released a brief statement of apology about his comments at the press conference: "If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologise. I am not anti-semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi." The next day, the festival directors held an extraordinary meeting, deciding his remarks were "unacceptable, intolerable and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival. [...] The board of directors condemns these comments and declares Lars von Trier persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."

Afterwards, Von Trier held a news conference of his own in Danish. His first remark to the Danish journalists was: "If any of you journalists will beat me, so just do it. I will enjoy it." He went on to say that "The Holocaust is the worst crime that ever happened. I have nothing against Jews. I have a Jewish name, and all my children have Jewish names." He admitted that his remarks about the Nazis had been misguided, saying "It was really stupidly done and it was in the wrong forum. At the press conference with Danish journalists, there were no problems, but I do not think the international journalists understand my Danish humor." But he also said he was proud to have been kicked out of the Cannes festival: "I am proud to have been declared 'persona non grata'. It is perhaps the first time in cinematic history, it has happened. ... I think one reason is that French people treated the Jews badly during World War II. Therefore, it is a sensitive topic for them. I respect the Cannes festival very highly, but I also understand that they are very angry at me right now."

Speaking to other news outlets he said that his comments were "very sarcastic and very rude, but that's very Danish." He also added, "I don't sympathize with Hitler for one second."

In the October 2011 issue of GQ, Von Trier is quoted in an interview saying he was not really sorry for the comments he made, only sorry he didn't make it clear that he was joking. He added, "I can't be sorry for what I said—it's against my nature." On October 5, 2011, Von Trier was interviewed by police in Denmark about his remarks at Cannes. Afterwards, he announced that he had 'decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews'.

Honours


Lars von Trier was made a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog
Order of the Dannebrog
The Order of the Dannebrog is an Order of Denmark, instituted in 1671 by Christian V. It resulted from a move in 1660 to break the absolutism of the nobility. The Order was only to comprise 50 noble Knights in one class plus the Master of the Order, i.e. the Danish monarch, and his sons...

 on 14 January, 1997. 10 years later Trier decided to hand back the prize, saying that the Danish royal family are just "simple people of bad quality".

Filmography


Lars von Trier's first film is The Orchid Gardener
The Orchid Gardener
The Orchid Gardener is a 1977 experimental film with a mysterious and symbolic plot directed by Lars von Trier. The film is interesting in the way the individual scenes are connected and expressed...

, a 16mm short released in 1977. His first feature film is The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime is the first feature film directed by noted Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. The film, released in 1984, is also the first in the director's Europa trilogy...

(1984), which was also the first in what became known as the Europa trilogy
Europa trilogy
The Europa Trilogy is a film trilogy written and directed by Lars von Trier, comprising his three feature films The Element of Crime , Epidemic and Europa . The films are not a narrative trilogy, but rather are linked by common themes and stylistic explorations. The overarching subject of the...

. His most recent film is Melancholia, which premiered in May 2011 at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.

Further reading

  • Tiefenbach, Georg: Drama und Regie (Writing and Directing): Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville. 2010 Königshausen & Neumann. ISBN 9783826040962

External links