Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier in The Five Obstructions

If you were concerned that Lars von Trier had come out of his self-imposed media isolation (since 2011) to share assuredly bizarre news with the world, soothe your worries, because he had Stellan Skarsgard and Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth do the dirty work for him. During the Venice Film Festival press conference for Nymphomanic: Vol. II — Director’s Cut, which von Trier declined to attend in person, Vesth shared brief details on the filmmaker’s next project (even cranky artists who aren’t too fond of reporters need to get the word out somehow). Deadline relayed the announcement that von Trier is tackling an “unprecedented” English language TV series with an enormous international cast called The House That Jack Built. According to Vesth, it will be “something you have never seen before and something you will definitely never see again.” While that is completely believable, the plot details aren’t available yet. Von Trier is in the process of writing the series for a 2016 shoot. Although we’ll be waiting a little while before this materializes, the show’s executive producer, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, still urged everyone that “you better hold your breath.” What exactly is von Trier cooking up here? While he’s danced with television before, his best work was back in 1994 when he helmed the brilliant Danish fantasy and horror miniseries The Kingdom. That series, which centers upon a Copenhagen hospital where supernatural happenings occur, was a massive success for the filmmaker. There’s a real possibility, knowing von Trier, that the new series is going to be just as strange and surreal as […]

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Lars von Trier Antichrist promo

Listen, forget the news you heard last week about Lars von Trier delving into a new genre to explore for his next project — that’s old news. This is new news, kid.  We received word (via director Kristian Levering) that the Danish filmmaker will, yes, be tackling the world of horror next because his mind is a complex layer of fantastical nightmares that probably works not unlike that murder turducken on Hannibal where the lady was sewn in a horse and crows were sewn in the lady. But yes, von Trier is supposedly writing a spooky scary movie set in Detroit for Levering to direct, and if you though Antichrist was terrifying…well, buddy, apparently the world is just a horrible place that we’re all going to have to slog through together, hand in hand. True to von Trier’s word after the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to never speak to the press again about his plans or ideas (after he said he sympathized with Hitler, that old chestnut), a middle man in the form of producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen announced to Screen Daily that the filmmaker had another project lined up, in another unexplored genre: Action. Or rather, “he is talking about making a Trier version of an action movie.” 

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Lars von Trier Antichrist promo

It’s high time Lars von Trier tried some real horror. You know, some hardcore, blood and guts-type stuff. So what if Antichrist had genital mutilation, self-cannibalizing animals and a graphically stillborn Bambi dangling halfway out his mom? Kid gloves. Or so it would seem, anyway, because von Trier’s latest cinematic venture is a “real horror movie.” Danish magazine Soundvenue recently interviewed Kristian Levring, the director who’s currently showing off The Salvation, a Danish Western starring a gunpowder-charred Mads Mikkelson. But Levring had more to speak about than just Mikkelson’s ability to ride around on horseback and shoot grizzled frontiersmen with old-timey weapons. He also mentioned a little project called Detroit. Apparently, it has been Levring’s passion project for years. And he’s spent those years pestering von Trier about how awesome it would be, until von Trier finally crumbled under the pressure. For the most accurate experience, try to imagine the following quote screamed in Danish: “I want you to stop talking about it, so I’ll write it for you instead.”

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Dancer in the Dark

If there’s anything about Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 that’s shocking, it’s not the graphic, non-simulated intercourse nor the detailed story of a sex addict who we first meet nearly beaten to death and left in the street. It’s how goofy the movie is. It’s all the metaphorical parallels between nymphomania and fly fishing and all the mathematical elements, especially including those that take literal form with numbers on screen. I read nothing about the film going in and had presumed it would be darker, even depressing. Maybe some black humor as only the maniacal mind of von Trier would devise, but nothing as funny as this is. It’s more The Boss of It All than any of his other recent movies. When I mentioned the tone to someone who is only slightly familiar with von Trier’s work, she expressed surprise, admitting that she thought all of his movies were depressing. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve actually never found him to be depressing at all. Antichrist and Melancholia were definitely the products of someone who was experiencing a bout with depression, and Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark surely evoke a lot of tears at their ends, but they’re not depressing. Serious is more like it, though there’s also something happy in the silly final shot of the former. Anyway, the conversation and the movie inspired me to look for happy moments in von Trier’s oeuvre, where clips are available at least. Most are, understandably, located in […]

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Muppets Most Wanted

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Antichrist Fox

It’s hard to imagine a career as provocative and unrestrained as Lars von Trier’s taking a turn for even greater extremes. But with 2009’s Antichrist, that’s exactly what the Danish purveyor of human suffering accomplished, making a film that inspired massive walkouts, presumed on the surface to take seriously the notion of gender-inherent evil, and added a talking fox of doom to our cinematic language. The ambivalent reception (to put it as mildly as possible) of Antichrist at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival is best encapsulated by the two recognitions the film received: the Best Actress award for Charlotte Gainsbourg, and an “anti-award” recognizing the film as “the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world.” While shocking and offending audiences with portrayals of suffering women is hardly new territory for von Trier, Antichrist marked a turning point. Having abandoned for the foreseeable future his “USA: Land of Opportunities” trilogy, von Trier instead turned to a series of films less connected by continued themes, and instead threaded by the director’s open approach to filmmaking itself as a therapeutic process to combat his depression. After continuing with Melancholia, this unofficial trilogy of sorts sees its third entry with the much-discussed two-part Nymphomaniac, currently rolling out over March and April in theaters and on VOD. So here is a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a director currently banned from the Cannes Film Festival.

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nymphomaniac film

It seems safe to assume that Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is not a cinematic event with lots of cross-audience appeal. The epic sex drama (sexrama?) seems to appeal almost exclusively to hardcore cinephiles and, yes, fans of hardcore sex.  And it’s not just the explicit material that sets this one apart from the pack, it’s also its hefty runtime and split release. The Charlotte Gainsbourg-starring film clocks in at just over four hours, but the film has been sliced into two different volumes that will release in the U.S. at two different times, ensuring that fans will have to find two different time periods to decide, “hey, let’s head out for some emotionally draining sexual escapades at the theater, okay?” While the film opened across some parts of Europe late last year (including a handful of countries that saw the opening of both films on the same day, though in an abridged format) with dates continuing to bleed into January and February, it’s also been making the film festival rounds, most recently screening in Berlin and previously popping up as a secret screening at Sundance (only Volume 1 was played, and the late notice event went up against the world premiere of the The Raid 2, not exactly ideal conditions). The film is undoubtedly a conversation-starter, but its split is also the subject of serious chatter, principally centered on debating the merits of seeing the film at two different times and not just watching the thing in a complete manner. […]

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www.indiewire-4

Lars von Trier‘s very public love affair with our naughty parts rolls on, with its most recent cinematic actualization culminating in Nymphomaniac: Part One debuting at the Berlin Film Festival in February, and a release to general audiences March 21, 2014. The second volume, of what will combined come in at 4 1/2 hours, will arrive in theaters April 18, 2014. While von Trier has promised an excess of skin and debauch in the theatrical releases, audiences at the Berlinale will be treated with an extra explicit, 5 1/2 hour version of the tale of Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s Joe, and her  trials and travails as a lifelong nymphomaniac. Below are a healthy mix of not particularly shocking character portraits, some film stills, and the previously mentioned NSFW additions, of which topless ladies are prominently featured. If anyone feels robbed by the lack of penis inclusion in the collection, a quick Google Image Search of “naked mole rat” should scratch that itch. You’re welcome in advance.

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nymphomaniac_ver17

Titillation is to be expected. Perhaps some embarrassment, a blush, furtive glances. Revulsion comes second (and sometimes, not at all!). The recent marketing for Lars von Trier’s two-part Nymphomaniac hasn’t shied away from its subject matter in the slightest – the nudity, the orgasmic faces, and the bold tagline “FORGET ABOUT LOVE” are both bold and bruising – and the result is one of the most well-made and deeply disturbing marketing campaigns in recent memory. The excitement of seeing sex on the big screen is there, certainly, but so is the lingering sense that everything here is very, very wrong.  

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Purely in terms of trailers, the flashing images of the Nymphomaniac advertisement are shocking. As for the film itself, it’s a safe bet that Lars von Trier will have something unsettling, maybe even wince-worthy (see: Antichrist) in store, but there’s little chance it will be truly shocking to anyone who’s either had sex or seen it portrayed on screen. The images here are shocking, but only because of the alienating thrill of seeing them in a promo. However, replace the nudity and sex with explosions and gun blasts, and it’d be a mainstream action trailer. The production is most likely saving a lot of money shots for later, but this peek seems to point to newcomer Stacy Martin (as Young Joe) getting the brunt of the challenge. Then again, von Trier is known for putting his actresses through the ringer, so it’s doubtful anyone’s safe. At least not for work.

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Prelude to a Wholesome Evening

Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac is a five and a half hour sexcapade through the life of a hardcore (what else?) nymphomaniac and, by its very existence, dares producers to waggle their fingers in shame and cut away large portions of the film. So it comes as a surprise to precisely no one that, when Von Trier turned in his cut of Nymphomaniac, its producers immediately seized upon it, fingers primed and scalpels at the ready. But what may come as a surprise to some is that the paring down of Von Trier’s newest “sex epic” has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with money. An interview with producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen in the Danish magazine Filmmagasinet Ekko (conveniently translated for us English speakers by The Hollywood Reporter) sheds light on all the gory details. Von Trier’s cut of Nymphomaniac was first relieved of ninety minutes of footage, reducing it to a brisk four hours, then split down the middle into two separate feature films. No sex will be cut, or at least no sex will be cut solely for the sake of toning the film down. As well, previous plans to release a second, less explicit version of Nymphomaniac have been abandoned, and individual distributors will now decide for themselves whose junk will be blurred out and whose will be left intact.

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nymphomaniac-poster-charlotte

In case you haven’t heard, Lars von Trier‘s new film Nymphomaniac is about sex. What, the title didn’t give it away?  The film made infamous by Shia LaBeouf‘s claims that he’s *stage whispers* actually having sex on camera, has been rolling along steadily on the NSFW path since von Trier announced the project. And with these fourteen positively orgasmic character posters just released, it doesn’t seem like that will be stopping any time soon.

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Nympomaniac Labeouf

It’s the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another exciting chapter tease from Lars Von Trier’s upcoming Nymphomaniac. Last month, we got a lesson in pickup artistry, yesterday we got a nude caress, and today we get a super sleazy Shia Labeouf as Jerome showing young Joe (Stacy Martin) some special tricks the elevator can do. Enjoy taking a shower afterward:

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nympho

There are undoubtedly plenty of people who will see Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac for its artistic value, its frank look at sex and its continuation of Von Trier’s deeply disturbing (and very artsy) filmography. There are also plenty of people who will see it for one reason and one reason only: to see the craziness that is Shia LaBoeuf performing unspeakable acts onscreen.

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nympho

There’s already been a lot of talk surrounding Danish director Lars Von Trier’s next project, Nymphomaniac. But that’s bound to happen once you announce that you’re making a movie about one woman’s lifetime of sex addiction that’s going to feature graphic scenes of sexual penetration performed by mainstream actors. Or will it? The debate as to whether or not we’re going to be shown Shia LaBeouf’s penis has been raging for over a year now. But putting Shia LaBeouf’s penis aside for a moment, the film has just released its first teaser, or its first “Nymphomaniac appetizer,” as they’re calling it, so we can now finally get our first glimpse at exactly what level of shocking tawdriness the esteemed director of Antichrist has in store for us this time around. Spoilers: it involves young girls having sex with strangers on a train.

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Nymphomaniac Trier

In the first clip from Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier is offering some dynamite advice on how to pick up strange young men on trains for anonymous sex. I mean, it’s not von Trier directly offering tips into the camera, but it’s still pretty enticing. He’s also offered the titles of the eight chapters of the film: The Compleat Angler Jerome Mrs. H Delirium The Little Organ School The Eastern and The Western Church (The Silent Duck) The Mirror The Gun In this very brief tease from “The Compleat Angler,” von Trier offers his version of The Lady Vanishes…Into the Train Lavatory with a Boy:

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Nymphomaniac Trier

Since we’ve already seen Charlotte Gainsbourg go to crazy sexual lengths for the director, there’s little reason to think that Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac is as restrained as the new poster that Zentropa just released for the film. Either they were having a bit of fun or trying to appeal directly to a generation brought up by sexting, but either way, parentheses have never been sexier. It’s also unclear whether “coming soon” qualifies as an unavoidable pun for this particular project. Forget about love, and check it out for yourself:

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As far as I can tell, regular folk don’t care for movies about movies or films about filmmaking. They used to, back when Hollywood was a more glamourous and idolized place for Americans. Classics like Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1954 version of A Star is Born were among the top-grossing releases of their time. But 60 years later, it seems the only people really interested in stories of Hollywood, actors, directors, screenwriters, et al. are people involved with the film industry — the self-indulgence being one step below all the awards nonsense — and movie geeks, including film critics and fans. If you’re reading Film School Rejects, you’re not one of the aforementioned “regular folk,” and you probably get more of a kick out of stuff like Living in Oblivion, Ed Wood, Get Shorty, State and Main, The Hard Way, The Last Tycoon, The Stunt Man, The Big Picture, The Player, Bowfinger, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Argo than those people do. While it is true that The Artist faced the challenge of being a silent film, another major obstacle in the way of box office success must have been its Hollywood setting. Argo isn’t really literally about filmmaking, though, and that might be working in its favor. Ben Affleck‘s period thriller, which is expected to finally take the top spot at the box office this weekend, is about not making a film, so it should have the opposite result of most movies in which […]

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Uma Thurman

It’ll be here first appearance in a Lars von Trier movie, but she’s had experience working with demanding directors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Uma Thurman has joined the already-stellar cast of Nymphomaniac, which is currently filming in Cologne, Germany. No word yet on what role the actress is taking, and the door is wide open here because the story spans the entire romantic life of one woman (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg). Options abound. Regardless, Thurman is a strong addition to any movie, but it’s likely von Trier may have her doing things no filmmaker has demanded before even though she’s rocked around in the Pussy Wagon killing everyone and got her start with Terry Gilliam. Thurman will be seen next in the more conventional Playing For Keeps in December and in the forthcoming non-conventional comedy Movie 43 (playing Lois Lane no less). What’s interesting (and encouraging) here is how much of the genre map she’s covering. After all, more Uma Thurman is never a bad thing, and if she’s in a current career mode of stretching herself, this roster and von Trier are definitely solid ways to do it.

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gesamt

We wrote previously on Lars von Trier‘s latest project – a crowdsourced challenge to filmmakers to reinterpret 6 great works of art called Gesamt – but the film now has a trailer that’s exactly as enigmatic as we could have hoped for. Director Justin D. Hilliard of Striped Socks Productions contacted us, letting us know that his is one of the few American projects to be chosen for the installation, which is built from 142 pieces sent in from around the world. The movie will premiere at the Copenhagen Art Festival. Creators were prompted to re-interpret James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” August Strindberg’s “The father,” the Zeppelinfield in Nuremberg, Paul Gauguin’s “Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?,” the collected improvisations of Cesar Franck and the collected music of Sammy Davis, Jr. The pieces were to be used as inspiration, but couldn’t be directly in the 5 minutes of footage sent in. It appears as though the project, directed by Jenle Hallund, is now officially called Disaster 501: What Happened To Man. Check out the trailer:

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published: 12.23.2014
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