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Director: Lars Von Trier

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Lars Von Trier

Crap
31
44%
Not Crap
39
56%
 
Total votes : 70

Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Antero on Tue May 22, 2018 3:31 am

Broadly crap, Europa is great though.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Me Again on Tue May 22, 2018 5:19 pm

The trope of slapping a pop song (in this case David Bowie's "Fame") on top of a murderous scene or series of scenes is so. fucking. passé. in 2018. It's one of the reasons I originally panned Breaking Bad two episodes in (prior to reconsidering*). Like shaky handheld camerawork, it's almost always the domain of a cinematic putz.

"Cinematic putz" isn't an inaccurate descriptor of Lars Von Trier at this point. He is clearly more interested in getting a rise out of people as an end in and of itself than he is in offering up any kind of remotely humanist bent that would save his tedious and nihilistic tales from being written off as anything other than boilerplate of-the-moment provocations. He's just trying to court controversy again and he's doing it in the most predictable way possible, which would explain why he left Cannes empty-handed.

I suppose, like Haneke's Funny Games, a movie like The House That Jack Built can be watched with a complete dissociation from the malice and gruesomeness at its core, but sometimes a bad movie is just a bad movie and nothing to be celebrated. Most of the people I've known who flock to this kind of fare gleefully do so in a dunderheaded manner and don't have the best taste in cinema. Either that or they're cinematic masochists. Von Trier thinks that anything that happens in the world should be shown in a film, which is not the most sound idea, but even so, he's clearly interested in prioritizing the inhumane and unspeakable over everything else.

Nikolaj Lubecker's book The Feel-Bad Film has an invaluable exegesis on Dogville, which I initially didn't mind before developing a deeper understanding of it. He writes that what makes the film "feel-bad" isn't so much the negative things that build toward the film's catharsis. Instead it's the purposely drawn-out, tedious narrative arc and the way the film mocks the viewer for identifying with the catharsis once it finally takes place and offers up some relief. So, you're essentially a shithead (or swine hound) if you buy into the film at all and follow its internal logic, thinking perhaps the revenge was justified on some level. Lars von Trier loves to create these kind of situations wherein, as viewers, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Lars von Trier gets a CRAP vote from me. Overall there's not enough love in what he does to justify the pompous overblown displays of wickedness. In the end it's all very boring.


I must say, where cinematic provacateurs are concerned, the crop of newish sub-luminaries like von Trier, Seidel, Noe, Haneke, etc. aren't shit compared to the old masters like Buñuel, Fassbinder, Godard, Makavejev, Eustache, etc.

* = Am still of the opinion that Breaking Bad is, on the whole, overrated. But it's still exceptional and a crazy ride if you buy into it.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Into the Void on Tue May 22, 2018 5:40 pm

The one film where he significantly reined it in, Melancholia, is by far his best. Dogville was interesting. I think, like Noe, he's capable of making good films so I'm not sure what happens between the conception and finished product to ruin it besides his feeling the need to "shock" in a way not that different than, say, Marilyn Manson...but he's European and deals with nihilism/existentialism so it's taken seriously. Trailer to the new film looks really bad. Might as well just re-make Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer at this point.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby sulfur)addict on Tue May 22, 2018 5:42 pm

Me Again wrote:The trope of slapping a pop song (in this case David Bowie's "Fame") on top of a murderous scene or series of scenes is so. fucking. passé.


Unrelated to your takedown, but no one's done this with "Can't Keep My Eyes Off You," whose pre-chorus is literally the soundtrack to a murder.

Von Trier is obviously a better filmmaker than a Haneke, but I agree that he half asses the art to "prove" something in the violence. Similar problems with Noe, but at least there's an obvious vision behind his bullshit.

I like watching Trier's stuff, but I never finish a movie feeling satisfied. What is that, a CRAP? A NOT CRAP?

Serious waffles either way.

ehhhhhh, let's say Not Crap, I can recall really vivid, awesome scenes in every movie of his I've seen. He's pop, but in a sadistic way. Billy Idol with a camera. That's hilarious. Not Crap.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby sulfur)addict on Tue May 22, 2018 5:45 pm

Into the Void wrote:I'm not sure what happens between the conception and finished product to ruin it besides his feeling the need to "shock" in a way not that different than, say, Marilyn Manson...but he's European and deals with nihilism/existentialism so it's taken seriously.


Manson! That's better. Not as funny as Billy Idol, but more accurate.

Melancholia's first half is so, so good but the ending is so annoying. Not the world ending part - kinda dumb, but s'okay - but how he plays it out. "I think your plan is a piece of shit" - bahhhhhhhhhh who cares.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Me Again on Tue May 22, 2018 6:50 pm

Into the Void wrote:The one film where he significantly reined it in, Melancholia, is by far his best.


Hey, Wes9! I bought your last full-length a couple of Christmases ago. Excellent listening. Good to see you're still kickin'.

Haven't seen Melancholia. Don't feel impelled to bother at this point.


sulfur)addict wrote:
Me Again wrote:The trope of slapping a pop song (in this case David Bowie's "Fame") on top of a murderous scene or series of scenes is so. fucking. passé.


Unrelated to your takedown, but no one's done this with "Can't Keep My Eyes Off You," whose pre-chorus is literally the soundtrack to a murder.


Am not familiar with this song, but this trope, it was maybe at peak freshness in popular culture around the time Grosse Pointe Blank came out. You know, over twenty damn years ago.

I had a film teacher who said she couldn't do murder movies anymore after the Nineties. Henry..., Se7en, Kalifornia, Natural Born Killers, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, and on and on... It became a very stale point of departure for box office fodder.

To me, Man Bites Dog and Homicide: Life on the Street, though diametrically opposed in several ways, are about the only murder-related things from then (off the top of my head) that I can be arsed to care about.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Into the Void on Tue May 22, 2018 8:26 pm

Me Again wrote:
Into the Void wrote:The one film where he significantly reined it in, Melancholia, is by far his best.


Hey, Wes9! I bought your last full-length a couple of Christmases ago. Excellent listening. Good to see you're still kickin'.

Haven't seen Melancholia. Don't feel impelled to bother at this point.


Hi Dave! I'm still kickin', barely. And thanks for listening. What do you think of Yorgos Lanthimos?
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Me Again on Tue May 22, 2018 8:35 pm

Into the Void wrote:
Me Again wrote:
Into the Void wrote:The one film where he significantly reined it in, Melancholia, is by far his best.


Hey, Wes9! I bought your last full-length a couple of Christmases ago. Excellent listening. Good to see you're still kickin'.

Haven't seen Melancholia. Don't feel impelled to bother at this point.


Hi Dave! I'm still kickin', barely. And thanks for listening. What do you think of Yorgos Lanthimos?


Haven't seen any of his films yet, even Dogtooth. I like a new film every now and again, interested in those newer efforts by Godard, Lee Chang-Dong, Ceylan, and Kore-Eda that just premiered, plus the new Denis, and am curious about that new Paul Schrader, and will probably buy Martel's Zama when it drops on blu-ray---BUT (!)... I get the biggest charge out of older cinema that's ruled for decades. On that score I really dug Curtiz's Breaking Point, based on Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. Hunt it down if you haven't seen it!
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Zorg on Wed May 23, 2018 5:43 am

sulfur)addict wrote:
Me Again wrote:The trope of slapping a pop song (in this case David Bowie's "Fame") on top of a murderous scene or series of scenes is so. fucking. passé.


Unrelated to your takedown, but no one's done this with "Can't Keep My Eyes Off You," whose pre-chorus is literally the soundtrack to a murder.


We're reviewing the trailer though. I doubt Trier had anything to do with cutting the trailer. I cant remember a non-diagetic use of pop music in his films since T-Rex in breaking the waves. It even runs directly contrary to his manifesto. Generally, Trier is unfussy or rather upfront when it comes to crass marketing. I'm rather certain the Star turns, the caustic "persona", and purient subject matter are a platform for his preoccupations with philosophy, dramaturgy, and cinematic technique. "Art films" front loaded with commercial appeasements. Totally fair if you feel that is a distasteful way to operate, but perhaps helps contextualize the films a bit.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Me Again on Wed May 23, 2018 7:47 am

Have not seen all of his films, but Dogville ended with a pop song, another Bowie hit. The mediocre Dear Wendy, which I saw in theater, was written by him and it's got more Zombies hits playing throughout its duration than a mod all-nighter. Am not sure if he had anything to do with it, though.

I get what you mean, a trailer's just a trailer. But he's ultimately responsible for it. If Bowie were still alive, I wonder if he would approve of his song being used in that way. The most humorous takeaway is that all of that ghoulish shit going on there was devised and directed by a grown man in sandals who's too meek to set foot on an airplane.

:lol:
Last edited by Me Again on Wed May 23, 2018 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby A_Man_Who_Tries on Wed May 23, 2018 7:48 am

Zorg wrote:I doubt Trier had anything to do with cutting the trailer.


He OK'd the trailer cut FWIW, although that doesn't invalidate the rest of your post.

Lars, if you can separate art from artist, is NC with substantial latter waffles. No filmmaker has charted a course of understanding linguistics through directing method in quite the same way and (painting in broad brush strokes to save time) the journey from Europa through The Idiots to Dogville is as interesting as can be.

Even bits and bobs after that have merit - Melancholia is perhaps the strongest though I've a soft spot for his Dear Wendy script also.

The Five Obstructions can be passed off as a parlour game, but it's one hell of a tender one and a fine film. The Boss of it All is a goofy experiment in editing but there's no lack of warmth there too. It's funny how when he sails close to anything approaching genuine affection for a subject he has to wrap it up in prank, the daft sod.

Topping all that off, those first five episodes of The Kingdom remain right up there with the best of episodic TV. Fantastic work.

The big waffles are just down to him being an utter prick and worse still, knowing the cause of so many of his shortcomings and not doing enough to get beyond them, in spite of support most of us would give our own limbs for. Could, and should, do so much better and - in not doing - a lot of fucking appalling behaviour has gone relatively unchecked.

No interest in this new work - his ship sailed a while ago. But while he was adventuring with vim and vigour he accomplished some very good stuff.
Last edited by A_Man_Who_Tries on Wed May 23, 2018 11:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby A_Man_Who_Tries on Wed May 23, 2018 7:49 am

Me Again wrote:Have not seen all of his films, but Dogville ended with a pop song, another Bowie hit. The mediocre Dear Wendy, which I saw in theater, was written by him and it's got more Zombies hits playing throughout its duration than a mod all-nighter. Am not sure if he had anything to do with it, though.


Vinterberg pushed for the Zombies tunes, if you're interested, to no opposition from Lars (who left him to his own devices with the script).
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Zorg on Wed May 23, 2018 10:58 am

A_Man_Who_Tries wrote:
Me Again wrote:Have not seen all of his films, but Dogville ended with a pop song, another Bowie hit. The mediocre Dear Wendy, which I saw in theater, was written by him and it's got more Zombies hits playing throughout its duration than a mod all-nighter. Am not sure if he had anything to do with it, though.


Vinterberg pushed for the Zombies tunes, if you're interested, to no opposition from Lars (who left him to his own devices with the script).


Me_Again, you had complained about pop music to enhance dramatic "scenes". My (I believe accurate claim"), is that Trier has not indulged this since 1996, and actively admitted it was a cop out. Couldn't tell you what Bowie would think....but he repeatedly allowed LvT to license his music, while he was alive, so perhaps he was either accepting or ignorant of the arrangements.

Man_who_tries, you seem to have insider information, do you work in film...or just a trivia buff?
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby A_Man_Who_Tries on Wed May 23, 2018 11:14 am

Work in film, came to know Lars quite well over a period, although haven't spoken much in the past decade.
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Re: Director: Lars Von Trier

Postby Me Again on Wed May 23, 2018 12:08 pm

Zorg wrote:Me_Again, you had complained about pop music to enhance dramatic "scenes". My (I believe accurate claim"), is that Trier has not indulged this since 1996...


Technically this isn't a proper scene, but Dogville's entire "thesis" is finally laid out here:

phpBB [media]


But even if that doesn't count, the trailer for his latest is as it stands, an unsettling and tasteless juxtaposition of a popular Bowie song and a bunch of clips from sadistic murder scenes. The film features a disproportionate amount of violence against women, but with a soundtrack that enticing I think we can all agree it'll be a fun romp for the whole family!
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