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
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
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…