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Monday, May 16, 2005

Lars von Trier talks about America

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.