At the Cinematek there was a retrospective of Lars Von Trier‘s work. Which resulted in me seeing a couple of his films successively in September.
Europa (1991) was appealing from the first moment you heard Max Von Sydow’s hypnotizing voice. Situated in the post- Second World War, the character of Jean-Marc Barr (I only knew from Luc Besson’s The Big Blue), is an American from German decent who comes back to Germany to work there and show that it is. As a night train operator at Zentropa, he is put in a politically sensitive position where he is used by different people for different gains.
Idioterne (1998) is very different to Europa, and though it is considered the second dogma film of the Dogme95 movement, it does not entirely follow the dogma rules to the letter. It is shot in documentary style, about a group of people who want to release the inner idiot against the establishment. Sometimes a difficult film to see people cross the boarders of decency, but the end is worthwhile.
Antichrist (2009) is the most recent of the films I saw, seeing it just got out in the cinema. I was warned it would be a shocking movie, and the warnings were valid. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe are a couple that suffer from the loss of their son. The child fell through the window while they were making love and Gainsbourg’s character cannot deal with the pain and loss of the boy. Dafoe suggest to go to the depths of her fears to help her through her pain and anxieties by going to the place she fears the most, the forest where she worked on her thesis the summer before. It all goes mental from there on. Not a movie for the sensitive ones. I was shocked by 2 specific scenes, of which one I wasn’t brave enough to even watch. I admit it.
Breaking the Waves (1996) is the last one I saw, about an Irish girl who falls in love and marries an oil rig worker. She is so obsessively in love with him, that she cannot take the long absences from home because of his work on the rig. She prays to God to bring him back to her, after which he gets into a serious accident which paralyzes him. She feels so guilty, she’d do anything to keep close to him and make him happy. Even when he urges her to have sex with other men…
One thing you cannot deny is how Von Trier can seemingly make a movie in any style. I admire that. Though it is a bit obvious that women in his movies, when they try to do good, seem to turn to evil or end up terribly.