Europa (retitled Zentropa for the American release) is an hallucinatory Danish film set in postwar Germany. Jean-Marc Barr plays a young German who aspires for a job as a street conductor. But this is no mere “Joe Job;” Barr’s adventures on the line are designed as a metaphor for the emergence of the “New Europe” following the war. Barbara Sukowa costars as the daughter of a railroad magnate–and possible Nazi sympathizer. Many of the special-effects sequences are computer enhanced, but even the “live” scenes have an unsettling, surreal quality to them (colors changing abruptly, backgrounds shifting without warning, etc.) This experimental film left some viewers confused, which may be why English-language prints of Zentropa are narrated by Max Von Sydow. Continue reading
A man named Seligman finds a fainted wounded woman in an alley and he brings her home. She tells him that her name is Joe and that she is nymphomaniac. Joe tells her life and sexual experiences with hundreds of men since she was a young teenager while Seligman tells about his hobbies, such as fly fishing, reading about Fibonacci numbers or listening to organ music.
Nymphomaniac is a sexually explicit drama about a woman’s erotic journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe. On a cold winter’s evening, the old, charming bachelor Seligman finds Joe beaten up in an alleyway. He brings her home to his flat where he tends to her wounds while asking her about her life. He listens intently as Joe, over the next eight chapters, recounts the lustful story of her highly erotic life. Seligman reads a lot of books, from which he has acquired various general knowledge. He connects the stories told with what he has read about. Continue reading
Even more so than The Orchid Gardener, this film anticipates Lars von Trier’s later work. The cross-wielding figure who emerges in the final shot before the end title in The Orchid Gardener appears here as “the Jew” who keeps the garden in the cloister where Menthe’s would-be mistress attempts to make her “remember” the things that they have lived together in a series of images that play with expectations about dominance. Continue reading
Lars von Trier submitted this film as part of his application to film school. Many of the aesthetic and thematic fetishes of his later feature length films (including the Dogme films and his more recent return to the ‘fantastic’ in Antichrist, Melancholia, and the forthcoming Nymph()maniac) are already evident here. The film, as its subtitle says, tells “part of the story of Victor Marse”, an artist (played by Lars himself). The only English language synopsis of this film that I’ve found is reproduced in this wiki and seems to be a poor translation of a summary written by a 12 year old. Consult it at your own peril! Continue reading
Summary: A beautiful fugitive, Grace (Nicole Kidman), arrives in the isolated township of Dogville on the run from gangsters. With some encouragement from Tom (Paul Bettany), the self-appointed town spokesman, the little community agrees to hide her and in return, Grace agrees to work for them. However, when a search sets in, the people of Dogville demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harboring poor Grace…
Nominally set in an American Town in the Rocky Mountains in the 1930s, DOGVILLE is shot exclusively in studio with a minimum of props.
Lars von Trier´s direction makes this film a shocking look into the disturbed mind of a woman who has been scorned and left. Medea´s revenge is horrible but never unbelievable. She does what every sane person would do, when deprived of all that she loves. The film burns itself into your mind and leaves you with a lasting impression of what human misery can be like. Continue reading
Danish auteur Lars von Trier takes a break from his usual brand of idiosyncratic melodrama to deliver a light comedy of errors involving an actor hired to pose as the president of a company in order to perpetrate a large-scale fraud.
Probably best known for fatalistic tales of martyrdom like Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves, von Trier this time delivers a simple and hilarious morality parable. Shot on a shoestring budget, The Boss of It All tells the story of Kristoffer, a down-on-his-luck actor who lands a bizarre job at an IT firm. Ravn, the second-in-charge, has hired Kristoffer to pose as the company head, a mysterious man named Svend E., who none of the employees have ever met. Quickly it becomes clear to Kristoffer that Ravn’s goal is to sell off the company to a racist Icelander while leaving the fallout in his own hands. But things get complicated when false relationships develop between Kristoffer, or “Svend E.,” and his other employees, whose farcical reactions to the appearance of the long-absent boss include everything from screaming matches to sexual favors. Though the goofy, off-the-cuff approach may seem to be a departure for von Trier, this uproarious romp of moral ambiguity will have you rolling in the aisles. Continue reading