Lars von Trier talks about America

16 05 2005

Lars von Trier’s new film, MANDERLAY, is supposed to be pretty good according to indiewire, the always entertaining Internet news magazine for independent filmmakers. In this dispatch from the Cannes film festival, where MANDERLAY was showing, indiewire quotes a defiant von Trier as railing against political correctness which stifles political discourse. He then goes on to say:

With the knowledge that Lars von Trier has never been to America, journalists this morning asked the filmmaker to address his reasons for pursuing a trilogy of films set in the United States. “America is a big subject because such a big part of our lives have to do with America,” he said, “I must say, I feel there could just as well be American military in Denmark. We are a nation under influence and under a very bad influence… because Mr. Bush is an asshole and doing very idiotic things.” Continuing, he reflected on the U.S. dominacnce [sic] over other countries and culture. “America is sitting on our world, I am making films that have to do with America (because) 60% of my life is America. So I am in fact an American, but I can’t go there to vote, I cant change anything. I am an American, so that is why I make films about America.”

Wow, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Now, I don’t hold Dogme up as any great filmmaking philosophy, considering it more restrictive than helpful. I don’t mind having guiding principles (I certainly hammer some of them hom in my classes) but it always struck me that the Dogme filmmakers were doing more publicity than self-critical thinking with Dogme. I really didn’t like BREAKING THE WAVES and the pieces that I saw of DOGVILLE. As a result, have stayed away from the rest of the von Trier oeuvre. But you have to admit, that von Trier has the courage of his convictions. And that, in the long run, makes him a better filmmaker.

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2 responses

16 05 2005
Ron

He’s a lousy filmmaker. Breaking the Waves is offensive and only passed for deep because of how shallow most contemporary filmmaking is – if you actually stop to think about what he’s saying, it’s a deeply offensive movie.

Dogville is incompetently made and pointless. He thinks he’s saying something about America but since he has no real knowledge of America, it came off as a pointless broadside.

It’s more meaningful to have the courage of your convictions if your convictions come from a meaningful place. His films may scream “I hate America” but he doesn’t hate American in any meaningful or insightful way, so it’s just claptrap. I had friends who were making more cogent critiques of this country when we were in Jr. High School. (Well, I grew up in Berkeley, but still).

Isn’t it bizzare that he resents the American impact on his culture, and his response is so negative. Rather than make a great Danish film, he has to try to tear us down.

How about this, wise guy: make a Danish film worth seeing and steal back some cultural mindshare.

In case you can’t tell, I really, really hate this guy. I only keep going to his movies becuase cute girls keep offering me free tickets, and cute girls are a weakness of mine.

17 05 2005
Cory

Cute girls give you free movie tickets?

Ron, you and i gotta start hanging out.

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