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May 18, 2011

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bill

It certainly isn't and oh, boy, do I wish those fainting-couch-owners would put a cork in it.

warren oates

Well, if all he's guilty of is talking out his ass at a silly press conference, whatevs. And after all, this is the man who made THE IDIOTS. For that, for me, he's got a free pass on saying stupid shit forever.

spencername

People, the world's ending Saturday (around 3:33 EST), so can we please focus on more important matters? Like the hoarding of potable water and Pop Tarts, Vienna Fingers and gloves, motor oil and Motown Records, this beer I'm enjoying here and a cool creek to cool it in? And, like, where am I going to set free my hamster, and how in the world does one procure a blunderbuss? And more Crohn's medicine? And an absolvement of all these petty, pretty sins?

Kent Jones

spencername, do you think there's going to be a dress code? And will everything be NTSC, or should I bring my multi-region player?

I've seen most of Lars Von Trier's films, I think he's very talented, he made one movie that put a lump in my throat and meant a lot to some people I love, and I could care less about catching up with his latest "provocation," let alone what he mutters about himself at a Cannes press conference. His films remind me of Bazin's famous "Auteur without doubt but of what" query. I understand why he means so much to a lot of people, but to me even his best movies seem tinnier than the tinniest early 30s melodrama.

edo

If I remember correctly, his press conference in 2009 was pretty attention-drawing as well. Whatever. I can't take him seriously after seeing ANTICHRIST. I'm not sure how anyone could, and yet they do, they do... I have similar feelings about BLACK SWAN.

Joel

I've only seen two of his films, but I love The Five Obstructions beyond all rational thought. Between his unceasing awesomeness in that movie and his creepy "hosting" of The Kingdom, I think that the man has a lot of fun playing the character of "Lars Von Trier." And he's a great comic character.

rotch

The festival's statement this morning:

"The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.

The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."

Man, this really got out of hand.

Pete Apruzzese

So the same festival that (last year) genuflected before a *convicted* sexual predator and fugitive from justice, yet at times brilliant, director has a problem (this year) with so-obvious-even-they-should-get-it over-the-top *statements* from a lunatic, yet at times brilliant, director?

Kent Jones

What a thoroughly ridiculous situation.

I think he should have his name legally changed to Controversial Danish Director Lars Von Trier.

Oliver_C

Guy goes into a DVD rental store. Says he's looking for a Lars von Trier movie, but can't remember the title.

Clerk says there many things Trier has directed. Does the guy know anything about the storyline? That might narrow it down.

Guy thinks and says, "As I recall, the movie *DIDN'T* contain repeated scenes, increasingly contrived to the point of ridiculousness, where a woman gets humiliated, punished, tortured and/or raped."

Clerk says -- are you sure it was a Lars von Trier movie you saw?

bill

@Pete - Yes, that does sort of seem like a point worth noting, doesn't it?

ANTICHRIST was terrific. So there. DANCER IN THE DARK is the real piece of shit (that I've seen) from his career.

haice

In times of crazy the voice of Max Von Sydow should always be at hand to calmly draw us, at the count of ten, back into the dream.

YND

@Bill -- Yes! Thank you! I think von Trier is as vital a voice in filmmaking as the world has today (the wonderful mess that is ANTICHRIST included), but DANCER IN THE DARK is the one that just doesn't matter to me in the least. Taking BREAKING THE WAVES and just removing all that pesky ambiguity... I still don't get what he was doing there. At all. I honestly wonder if it was meant as yet another act of intentional self-sabotage that backfired in certain critical quarters. God love that guy.

And this Persona Non Grata business is bullshit.

bill

YND, between you, me, and Dennis Cozzalio, we will turn people around on ANTICHRIST yet.

DANCER IN THE DARK goes beyond not mattering to me. I hate it like everybody else seems to hate ANTICHRIST. It's such bullshit that, you're right, it's almost like a hoax. But I doubt it.

Tom Block

Next thing you know they're going to close the iron door on him. (But not his movies.) And the video is priceless. Poor Dunst looks like she's dying a little with every passing word.

Roger M.

If Lars von Trier doesn't want his supposedly intentionally provocative speech to be taken seriously, neither should we take any of his filmmaking seriously. His work lacks any real humanity and complexity, and it's always been so. This is nothing new. I don't know why/how he keeps getting money to make films, and why the hell so many people keep lapping it up.

ptatleriv

I love both ANTICHRIST and DANCER IN THE DARK (I've liked all of the LvT films I've seen). I think that his funny lil' antisemitic rant is pretty reprehensible (and fail to see any Polanski correlation). And I think the Cannes sanction is absurd. I guess I'm kind of a centrist here.

Account Deleted

CHAOS REIGNS.

YND

"If Lars von Trier doesn't want his supposedly intentionally provocative speech to be taken seriously, neither should we take any of his filmmaking seriously."

This makes about as much sense as:

"The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation... The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately."

I could understand, I guess, someone unfamiliar with LvT being offended. But this is the damn Cannes fest. Have they ever seen one of their own LvT press conferences? Frankly, the only thing out of character about it was the seemingly sincere apology directly afterward.

Glenn Kenny

It's always fun to see the "It's okay if it happens to someone I don't like" ethos in action, huh?

Roger M.

I didn't say I thought the ban was kosher or whatever, just that I find pretty much LVT's entire body of work silly and in-line with intentional provocation over any real and meaningful engagement with the world.

Still, I admire Gavin Smith's bluntness:

"Personally, I think that he should be banned from the festival for life for making this film," offered Film Comment editor Gavin Smith, "Because I think its the most excruciatingly boring experience I've had in a movie theater in years and I think it's an incredibly inept and bombastic and stupid film."

Glenn Kenny

I love Gavin, not least because of his innate shyness.

"Inept," huh? I wonder how that's gonna go over with the "A MacCarren Park Pool Of The Mind" hipsters out on the Croisette who have been dribbling all over "Melancholia."

Kevyn Knox

I am surely one of those LVT lovers out there. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of his films (including Antichrist AND Dancer in the Dark - two of my three favourite von Triers actually).

What he said is of course just a lunatic being a lunatic and everyone should just chill the Hell out (though I did feel badly for poor Kirsten Dunst).

The capper will be when he wins the Palme d'Or.

Roger M.

"Inept," huh? I wonder how that's gonna go over with the "A MacCarren Park Pool Of The Mind" hipsters out on the Croisette who have been dribbling all over "Melancholia."

--

Well, you could throw shit at a wall, and I'm pretty sure Karina Longworth and the like would love it.

Glenn Kenny

Actually, Roger, I've tried that, and it didn't really go over. Although some of the Kidcritz™ DO dig that Brock Enright fellow...

Roger M.

And here I thought Harmony Korine had filled their shit-loving quota for a while.

bill

You guys keep making shit jokes but neither of you has brought up Longworth's misbegotten rave of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. I admire your restraint.

Glenn Kenny

Well, Bill, I try to keep the Longworth references to a minimum these days. Roger's musings have got me warming to the topic, and its periphery, but really, for the sake of domestic harmony and overall polity I'm obliged to step away. But oh, the places I could go...

And not that anyone's asked, but my own position on von Trier is, well, entirely incoherent. I actually admired "Dancer" on first viewing—I would have to, if I was gonna profile Bjork and all—but was also struck by the deepness of my desire to never see it again. I was devastated by "Breaking the Waves," but to tell you the truth (and not to get all TMI or anything), at the time I saw it I was pretty much as emotionally and mentally ill as Emily Watson's character in it, so there's that. I "like" "Antichrist" in much the same was as I "like" Fulci's "City of the Living Dead," say. "Dogville," why not, "Manderlay," not so much. That "Europa," or "Zentropa" or whatever you call it, sure is striking. And so on. In a way maybe my favorite of all his pictures it "The Boss Of Us All." Yeah, I'm as confused as you are...

warren oates

I like THE BOSS OF IT ALL too. And it's worth noting that very few other serious art film auteurs of his stature -- who didn't start out in comedy like Allen or Almodovar or Billy Wilder -- have ever made comedies as good as THE BOSS OF IT ALL and THE IDIOTS. Not that Von Trier or his two funny ones at all compare, but it reminds me a bit of Kubrick's career trajectory and makes me wish more filmmakers would dare to show us their funny side.

bill

Glenn, does this mean your very, very high opinion of DOGVILLE has dropped somewhat? Your Premiere review was a rave.

And I'm positive no one's asked me, but of the ones I've seen -- and I've missed some big ones -- I'd rank ANTICHRIST and DOGVILLE as easily the best, and in fact only Von Trier movies I truly like (but I think so highly of them that I can never dismiss him). I hate DANCER IN THE DARK and MANDERLAY, I barely remember EUROPA which I saw when it was being called ZENTROPA, and I found THE FIVE OBSTRUCTION very interesting and entertaining. The End.

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