A Conversation with Lars von Trier/Interview 3/3

Uploaded by LarsVonTrierChannel on 23.01.2013

Well, why was it important to do that ...?
I don't know if it was important, but it attracted me.
And Why did it do that? Well
Our generation have been filled with war information.
It may be of a different character now, because more time has passed, -
- but what we've been bombarded with is
There's no doubt that Germany was a scoundrel state.
We've heard that loads of times. And I'm sure it's true, -
- but many other countries were as well.
But the whole thing was so one-sided.
Later on, we've begun to see things from other angles.
How awful the Danes were to the prisoners of war, for example.
All these things which have been taken up.
But when we were young, no one questioned -
- how films about the war should look.
So ...
Whether the material was important, because there's so much fetish -
- surrounding the whole German thing, the design and everything
It all attracted me, just as it did in "The Element of Crime".
It just became more tangible in this case.
As I remember it, it's probably the coldest film I've done.
Because it was so technical and
- It's a bit glossy. - Yes.
That's a question of taste again.
I went as far as I could in terms of glossiness.
It's a lot to do with colours, and we didn't use that many.
We had a few coloured layers here and there.
You're right, it was a bit glossy. Maybe a bit too much.
But at the same time it had I think it benefited a lot -
- from all the material we shot in Poland, -
- which was really fucking mythological.
But some of Bahs' set pieces contradicted that, -
- although we tried to work a lot with patination.
He preferred to do things in the old-fashioned style.
He enjoyed doing a nice stairwell or a nice building, -
- and he was very interested in architecture.
I think it looks great, -
- but it does get a bit too glossy at times.
- You're right about that. - It wasn't meant like
Well, I see what you mean. I think I agree.
One film, which turned out much too glossy, was "Medea".
You made that between "Epidemic" and "Europa".
It was It was a total failure. I feel so bad about that film.
It became some sort of commercial gimmick, I thought.
- Wasn't it a homage to Dreyer? - Yes, but it was nonsense.
I should never have done it. Oh, well
- I haven't seen it since then. - No. Neither have I.
We tried hard to destroy it in post production, but we didn't succeed.
One of the most memorable scenes in "Europa" -
- is the one with Jørgen Reenberg in the bathtub, -
- where everything suddenly becomes red.
There's a tracking shot through the house.
Yes, there are loads of them. There's hardly anything but.
We had a long, complicated shot which started off -
- going up through the bathroom ceiling that was a trick shot
Then there's a tracking shot starting at the model railway -
- where they were having sex, and then the train falls down, -
- and we go out through the wall and roof, -
- and in and out of a train carriage. Ernst-Hugo has a long line.
It was fun to do.
It was part of the grand scheme, to do the big tracking shots.
I made those shots with Tomas Gislason, who I'm working with again.
So we hadn't fallen out that badly.
One of the most spectacular and powerful things in the film -
- is the countdown in the beginning, spoken by Max von Sydow.
It has a hypnotic effect.
It sucks us in, so we're ready to get on the train.
It's almost like a time machine.
Hypnosis is an element in all the films in the Europe trilogy.
- Was that planned? - Yes.
I think he's under hypnosis in "The Element of Crime"
- He talks about his time in Europe. - Oh, yes. After he's back.
That was also an element which attracted me.
It's like going to the big film world with a shopping basket.
You put some things into your basket and make a film out of them.
In film noir, hypnosis has also occurred several times.
Along with memory, the uncertainty, the vague, and
All that goes in the shopping basket.
In "Europa" the hypnosis seems safe, -
- because the voice is calming.
But in "Epidemic" the hypnosis goes wrong and becomes very scary.
- Do you take those things seriously? - Oh, yes.
I definitely believe in hypnosis.
I also believe that watching films, to a large degree, -
- is a kind of auto-suggestion.
No one really believes that something is happening up on the wall.
Nothing really happens until you meet the audience.
That's also why I think film noir is an interesting genre.
They've always had a sort of hypnotic effect on me.
Especially Orson Welles' films.
This one was also very inspired by Orson Welles, -
- with all its different tracking shots and stuff.
It was also very inspired
by Charles Laughton's film What was it called again ...?
"The Night of the Hunter". That was a fantastic film.
It was the only film he did, I think. Very strange.
It must have been too extreme. But it's a bloody good film.
It takes place in the American South -
- and is very different from what you would expect from Charles Laughton.
The whole film was shot in a studio, I think. Fantastic film.
"Europa" often resembles German expressionism -
- because of the back projections.
That's because we distort things a little bit.
But it's not at all what I would call an expressionistic movie.
That's probably more what I'm doing now, -
- because of the theatrical effect in my films.
- You play a major part in "Europa". - Yes, I don't know why.
That was the trend. Thomas Vinterberg also does it.
At least I've stopped doing it. It's incredibly unpleasant.
I get so nervous, standing there with all the actors.
Do you think you've become wiser on the subject of Europe, -
- Germany, and the Jews by doing "Europa"?
No, and I don't think that anyone else has either.
Although we did present a few interesting facts in the film.
The whole werewolf thing We did some research on that.
And the strange story about Coca-Cola -
- buying the Fanta brand from Germany after the war.
The Germans had produced Fanta, which tasted like Coke, -
- but they were scared of producing Coke. Bizarre.
Those are the things you learn when you do research.
But I don't think
I've never made films with the purpose of educating people.
Rather the opposite.
Let me ask in a different way: Has it changed your view of it?
No, it changed my cinematic style, -
- because this film was the logical conclusion -
- to the controlled method, as far as I was concerned.
There wasn't really anywhere to go from there.
If we'd made the film that we wrote instead of "Epidemic", -
- that would also have been a very controlled film.
Then I probably wouldn't have made any more films like that.
I can't remember when "The Kingdom" is from
- After "Europa" ...? I think it was. - Yes, it was.
That represented a much looser form.
And "Epidemic" was also looser in its form.
I couldn't really see how to continue on the track that we'd laid out -
- with "The Element of Crime" and "Europa".
It wasn't really possible. It had been used up.
That was when the Dogma theory was hatched and defined.
It was an attempt to get rid of the big technical machine.
Was that also a result of working on "Europa"?
Yes. I would say that we tried to get rid of some of it -
- already with "Breaking the Waves".
We started working with hand-held camera.
But I wrote the Dogma rules for myself -
- in order to repress a lot of things that I wanted to lose.
Looking back at the Europe trilogy, are you happy with it?
Do you enjoy watching the films now?
I don't know Yes, I'm a bit impressed now and then:
"That was a bloody good idea."
At the same time there are lots of things which I find intolerable.
They're stylized in a way that I don't like at all.
Dialogue and things like that. But
Whether I enjoy watching them ...?
I don't watch them. It's not like watching a movie.
You relive the experience of making the film.
I don't think anyone can see their own films with fresh eyes.
My favourite Tarkovsky moments would probably just make him say:
"Why didn't we tilt it a bit more, so we didn't get that in the frame?"
He'd be annoyed with stupid little things, -
- which we feel that we can't live without.
With your own film, you look at the intention behind it.
You don't see them as films, so it's difficult to answer.
Was that all?
We've spent all that time and fought our way through the trilogy.
And then you just dismiss it with the wave of a hand.
- I'll be happy to continue - No, no.
I don't want to say anything more. It was just
It's cinematic, damn it But that makes sense.
You're used to working on one little page in the paper.
I think you did well. It was good work. Excellent.
Thank you. Likewise. It's hard if you have someone -
- who doesn't want to co-operate, but just says "yes" or "no."
Our co-operation was astonishing. I didn't think I had so much to say.
It was good in every possible way.