Monthly Archives: septembre 2010

The case of Lars von Trier (3/6)

Few people can be said to be more controversial than the Danish film-maker Lars von Trier. Each of his public appearance is an event. Since its first feature film Element of a crime (1984), Lars von Trier has made numerous films, from Breaking the waves, Great Prize of the Jury at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival to his latest film, Antichrist (2008). Discover the world of an unusual film-maker.

Lars von Trier, an emblematic film-maker is born


Lars von Trier, DR

Described as a troublemaker as well as a proud, brillant, talented and egocentric director, Lars von Trier (after his real name Lars Trier – he added “von” to sound like Stroheim or Sternberg) shot his first films while he was still a teenage boy. He made his international breakthrough in 1996 when Breaking the waves was awarded the Great Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. Despite critical and international praise, Lars von Trier has remained a mysterious film-maker, excentric (only travelling by mobile home), self-confident and strongly believing in the art he contributes to make. He has even described himself as the best film-maker in the world.

The cinematic experiences of doctor Lars…

Lars von Trier stands for exploration and experimentation in cinema. Each time he makes a film, he puts what he does into question, willing to go beyond what he has already done. While he only shot cinema films till 1994, he agreed to shoot a series for the Danish TV, The Kingdom. Hand-held shot, shot in natural lighting and leaving room for improvising, the story of this ghostly hospital allowed him to free up from the rules that constricted his art till then. Dogme is certainly born from this experiment. On March, 20th, 1995, at the Odeon theatre in Paris, he read a list of ten interdictions aiming at saving cinema from the artificiality of contemporary Hollywoodian films. He likes being constrained in his art and does not hesitate to ask the other film-makers to follow the constraints he establishes. He even created the Dogumentary movement (obstructions applied to the documentary) when he asked Jørgen Leth to shoot five different new versions of his success film The perfect human (1967). The experiment was recorded as a film called Five obstructions (2004).

…and the provocations of Mister von Trier


Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist, © Christian Geisnæs

After a glorious 1990 decade closing by the Golden Palm awarded to Dancer in the dark in 2000, the beginning of the 2000s were the years of controversies. Debates followed one another on the Croisette where each of his films are almost yearly presented. Dancer in the dark was strongly criticized because Lars von Trier shot a film on the USA without ever going there… and his latest film Antichrist on a mourning couple retiring from the world in their hut called Eden in the middle of the forest triggered an outburst of criticisms. Criticized for his mysoginy and his aesthetic choices, Lars von Trier strongly stodd for his way of making films. As Carl Th. Dreyer, he does not have the audience in mind when making a film, but only the images that are the best way of affecting people.


Lars von Trier is currently shooting his next film. The title Melancholia as well as the cast (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling…) have already been unveiled. These are the only information that have been disclosed. Cinema release is foreseen in may-june 2011…

Coming soon, Welcome to Film Byen, the film complex made by Lars von Trier…

Three Questions to… (3/7)

Initiator of the Dogme 95 movement, awarded the Special Prize of the Jury at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for his filmFesten, Thomas Vinterberg will be the President of the jury of the 2010 edition of Les Arcs Film Festival. Was does he think of the Dogme era and today’s Danish cinema? What is he expecting of being the President of the jury? He answers in three questions.


© Jan Buus

Thomas Vinterberg, film-maker
President of the jury

You were one of the Dogme’s initiator. Looking back at this ten-year Dogme period, how would you describe it?

Dogma was a reaction against the conventions of film-making at the time we founded it. In many ways it became a success, which is why it may have suffered from becoming too conventional in itself.

What do you think of contemporary Danish cinema and the new generation of film-makers?

Danish cinema has been very strong through the 1990s, but may need to renew itself again at some point. I am waiting for this to happen. I am waiting for this new generation.

What do you expect of being the President of the 2010 Jury at Les Arcs?

It seems that a very strong group of people is behind Les Arcs European Film Festival and its programme. I have high expectations and I will do my best to stay open to what I see. The art of film-making is not like any sport. Comparing and competing in this world is difficult and may even seem absurd, but I shall look for quality and courage and celebrate it properly.

The wor(l)d of Claude Duty (3/8)

Organizing a festival requires a lot of preparation, from selecting the films that will be screened during the festival to organizing the professional events and the many parties and receptions that will make the festival a real celebration. Among the many tasks the festival’s organizers have to fulfil, forming a jury undoubtedly is one the most exciting… as well as one of the most complicated tasks. Let’s Claude Duty introduce us to this subtle alchemy.

Now that the Guest of Honour country has been chosen, the 2010 jury of Les Arcs European Film Festival still remains to be formed.!

To say the least, forming a jury puzzles every festival’s organizer.  Try to gather 5 to 7 celebrities in a group, all from different ages, available during the same week and preferably coming from all over the world. They’d rather be glamorous, famous, respected by professionals, admired by film buffs and about to play in a coming film. Meeting all these requirements is like squaring the circle!

Notebooks are consulted and artistic agents are contacted. Every known face is scrutinized at cocktail parties and premieres. Fingers are being kept crossed while waiting for phone calls. Three to four weeks before the D-day, while the festival’s catalogue is already being published, nothing much seems to have changed on the jury’s front: 2 people are willing to be part of the jury – however, one shall leave before the closing ceremony while the other is a complete vegetalian!

To be honest, the forming of the 2010 jury is on the high road! Three members already agreed to be part of it. Yet, to avoid being struck by bad luck, I can’t disclose their names! And four people still remain to be found.

“Why are you looking for 5 to 7 people?” would be the question you would ask me. “Simply because of the final discussions” would be my answer. To award a prize, the members of the jury have to agree and an odd number can help things go smoothly. Even though, in some cases, the president’s vote counts for two, the president’s choice is not always that easy… well, that’s another story of which I will talk soon enough before the award ceremony.

Trois Questions à… (3/7)

Co-fondateur du Dogme 95, récompensé par le Prix Spécial du Jury au Festival de Cannes 1998 pour son film Festen, Thomas Vinterberg est le Président du jury de l’édition 2010 du Festival des Arcs. Quel regard porte-t-il aujourd’hui sur le Dogme ? Que pense-t-il du cinéma danois actuel ? Quelles sont ses attentes en tant que Président du jury ? Le réalisateur se prête au jeu des 3 questions…


© Jan Buus

Thomas Vinterberg, réalisateur
Président du Jury 2010


Vous avez été l’un des initiateurs du Dogme. Comment décririez-vous aujourd’hui cette aventure qui a duré 10 ans ?

Le Dogme a été une réaction contre les normes en vigueur de faire des films à l’époque où nous avons créé ce mouvement. A de nombreux égards, le Dogme a été un succès, c’est peut-être la raison pour laquelle il a  souffert d’être lui-même devenu trop conventionnel.

Que pensez-vous du cinéma danois aujourd’hui et de la génération de cinéastes danois contemporains ?

Les années 1990 ont été des années fastes pour le cinéma danois, mais il aura peut-être besoin de se renouveler, dans un futur plus ou moins proche. J’attends ce renouvellement. J’attends la nouvelle génération de réalisateurs.

Qu’attendez-vous de la présidence du Jury 2010 au Festival de Cinéma Européen des Arcs ?

J’ai le sentiment qu’un groupe de personnes est très impliqué dans l’organisation de ce festival et de toute la programmation. J’attends énormément de cette présidence du jury et je tâcherai de faire de mon mieux pour rester ouvert à ce que je verrai. Tout le monde sait que faire un film ce n’est pas comparable à faire du sport. Organiser une compétition et une comparaison dans le monde du cinéma est difficile et peut même sembler absurde mais je rechercherai la qualité et l’audace pour les célébrer comme ils se doivent.

Le Grain de Sel de Claude Duty (3/8)

Un festival de cinéma requiert toute une organisation. De la sélection des films qui seront présentés aux festivaliers, à l’organisation des événements professionnels et d’animations en off » pour que la fête soit complète. De toutes les tâches qui échoient aux organisateurs, la constitution du jury est certainement l’une des plus exaltantes… et l’une des plus compliquées! Démonstration avec Claude Duty.

Une fois choisi le pays à l’honneur, il reste à constituer un jury !

Pour tous les organisateurs de festival c’est toujours un casse tête quasiment impossible à solutionner. Essayez donc de créer un groupe réunissant au minimum 5 ou 7 “people” à fortes personnalités, de générations différentes, tous libres la même semaine, venant si possible des quatre coins de la planète, glamours, connus du très grand public, respectés des professionnels, admirés par les cinéphiles et ayant une « actualité » pas trop « lointaine » ! C’est la quadrature du cercle !

On sort ses carnets d’adresses, on téléphone aux agents artistiques que l’on connaît, on scrute le moindre visage connu dans les cocktails et les avant-premières, on croise beaucoup les doigts en attendant des coups de fils. Et 3 à 4 semaines avant le jour J de l’ouverture, on en est toujours au même point : 2 personnalités ont répondu présent et encore, l’une d’entre elles doit partir avant la clôture et l’autre est totalement végétalienne ! Le catalogue, lui, est déjà chez l’imprimeur !

Pour être franc, la constitution du jury de l’édition 2010 de notre festival semble en bonne voie ! Trois membres ayant déjà donné leur accord de façon certaine. Pour conjurer le mauvais sort  nous ne vous en dirons pas plus! De toute façon il reste à en trouver 4 autres…

Ah, pourquoi 5 ou 7 membres du jury ? Tout simplement, en raison des délibérations finales. Pour choisir un seul grand prix il faut se mettre d’accord et un nombre impair de votants peut aider les choses. Quoique dans certains règlements la voix du président peut compter double, mais le choix du président n’est pas toujours simple… enfin tout cela est une autre histoire. Nous en reparlerons peu avant la remise des prix !