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Entries in Lars Von Trier (29)

Friday
Sep302016

Stage Door: Believing in Breaking the Waves, the Opera

Daniel here to discuss the latest transfer from big screen to live stage. 

Bess McNeill, the golden-hearted islander at the center of Breaking the Waves, is a woman of astonishing faith. It is the source of her resilience and it is her undoing, though the salacious facts of her downfall can distract from the strength of her conviction. However, the whirlwind of anonymous sex, medical trauma and social exclusion that characterize the second half of the film do not undo the romantic catechism of its first scene. 

Bess sits in church, beset by the stone-faced Calvinist elders of her community. They demand to know why she wishes to marry an outsider, an act they clearly interpret as a spiritual betrayal. She responds to their questions with an irrepressible joy. Her confidence in her own love, as well as that of her fiancé, is as compelling a testament of faith as has ever been put to film. 

Or, as the case may be, as has ever been put to music...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug232016

Best of the 21st Century?

by Nathaniel R

Mulholland Drive voted the best film of the 21st century (thus far)Though we may collectively scratch our head at the need to do 21st century best of lists so often and at odd intervals. After 16 years? Ermm, okay? Lists usually get people talking. The BBC polled 177 critics (of which I was, alas, not one) and the results were both enjoyable and annoying, as with all lists.

Some notes:

• I won't see Toni Erdmann for another few weeks so I can't speak to its quality but it's odd to see it on a "best of the century list" when the film has only opened in one country (France) outside of its home countries (Germany/Austria). It starts opening in other countries next month and also hits the Toronto Film Festival. So that seems...early

 • Did Christopher Nolan really need 3 pictures in the top 100? I maintain that Inception does not hold up and is relentlessly and numbingly expository for anything beyond a single viewing and it's even kind of annoying during that first plunge. Cinema about dreams should be mysterious...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272016

Podcast: Cannes 1996 Revisit 

NathanielNick, and Joe revisit the Cannes film festival of 1996 (you might wanna quickly check that lineup & those prizes before listening) and the Best Actress race that started there. We also recommend other 1996 goodies that you may or may not have seen... or thought of in years.

Index (43 minutes)
00:01 Intro, Juries, and Crash's audacity prize
03:00 Best Actress: McDormand (Fargo) vs Blethyn (Secrets & Lies) vs Watson (Breaking the Waves)
10:09 Goodbye South GoodbyeThe Eighth DayPillow Book, and Microcosmos
17:50 TrainspottingFlirting With Disaster, A Self Made Hero, Lone Star, and Love Serenade
30:07 David Cronenberg's Crash
37:45 We each recommend a few more 1996 titles from Bound to The Long Kiss Goodnight

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments. Which 1996 picture have you still not seen? Who got your Best Actress vote that year?

tfw when you're turned on by car crashes

Articles We Mention
5 Contentious Cannes Juries 
• Nick's Annual Cannes Project 
Nick on Cronenberg's Crash 

Cannes 1996. Recommendations

Monday
May162016

It has recently come to my attention... that I enjoy link roundups

The Toast has a hilarious rant about Sebastian Stan's hair in Captain America Civil War
Variety details beginning to emerge on Lars von Trier's serial killer drama The House that Jack Built. (Sounds typically overly complicated as befits von Trier's masochistic working methods)
/Film visits ILM to see "groundbreaking" effects work on the forthcoming Warcraft
Variety Warner Bros already planning a Harley Quinn movie for Margot Robbie. Exactly how many superhero films will we get before Marvel ever dares one?
Tracking Board Jenny Slate reuniting with her Obvious Child director for a comedy called Landline co-starring Edie Falco and John Turturro
People Sad news: James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff divorcing after nine years of marriage
Women and Hollywood Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn starring together in The Tale about a middle aged woman coming to grips with sexual relations she had at 13 with adults - sounds compelling!
Guardian Juliette Binoche on gender in film and disappointment that Scorsese & Spielberg don't feature female leads - disheartening but not totally surprising that Spielberg cites The Color Purple, a film he made 31 years ago, as proof he doesn't have a problem with lack of interest in female characters
The Playlist Another strike against Marvel - they forced a sex change on the villain in Iron Man 3 because they wanted to sell more toys
Variety Madeleine LeBeau, last surviving cast member of Casablanca, has passed away 

Other Showbiz...
THR Broadcast television's upcoming slates - cancellations, surprises, moves, etcetera
Boy Culture we were just celebrating Truth or Dare's 25th anniversary and now we hear that Donna & Niki, Madonna's once longtime backup singers have released a new version of "Rain" 
MNPP Milo Ventimiglia's Ass gets top billing in new TV series "This is Us" 

Today's Must Read
This new profile on Chloë Sevigny by Xan Brooks at the Guardian has been getting a lot of attention for its provocative pullquote on her "disdain for auteurs" but the whole article is interesting.

Photo by Jody Rogac for The Guardian.

Of special interest is her candid conversation about her 90s 'it girl' years in indies.

When Sevigny was Oscar-nominated for her turn in the 1999 indie drama Boys Don’t Cry, as the girl with whom Hilary Swank falls in love, it looked as though mainstream stardom might be hers for the taking. Sevigny scoffs when I say this; she doesn’t think anything is “there for the taking”. But the fact remains that she turned down the sidekick role taken by Selma Blair in Legally Blonde (“which might have made me some money”) and a raft of similar offers. “A few little things like that, more comedic, and it probably wouldn’t have hurt to have done them.” She wrinkles her nose. “But I was very purist back then.”

She also reveals that she really wanted Uma's part in Nymphomaniac and prefers working in television to film now.

Thursday
May122016

Lars Von Trier's Bad Girls of Cannes

It's Girls Gone Wild this month at The Film Experience. To coincide with the ongoing Cannes Film Festival, here's Chris on von Trier's wild women from Cannes past.

We miss you, Lars!

It's been five years since reigning Cannes bad boy Lars von Trier debuted a film at the festival - practically eons by the festival's standards for their many favorite auteurs. But he lost their favor for his glib Hitler comments during Melancholia's Croisette visit. The resulting Persona Non Grata Status has left us too long without a Cannes Von Trier (Anti)Heroine. Some call him a misogynist, but the provocateur has consistently given us fully-faceted women fighting against circumstance however they must. Let's take a look at their bad behavior:

Emily Watson as Bess - Breaking the Waves

How Bad?: 7/10 - Lots and lots of self-flagellating sex with strangers. Bess puts herself in increasing dangerous situations even when she knows the dangers of her actions.
But Really She's a Saint, It's All For Love!: She's only acting out at the request of her ailing, brain-damaged husband, to whom she relays her conquests.

Rewarded for Her Efforts: Watson didn't win Best Actress at Cannes (Brenda Blethyn was honored for Secrets & Lies), though this performance is the only Oscar-nominated in Von Trier's filmography.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov302014

Interview: Jennifer Kent on Her "Babadook" Breakthrough and What She Learned From "Dogville"

It's been a banner year for female directors. Two female directors have continually been in the Best Director Oscar discussion, they continue to make inroads in indie cinema (see the Spirit Award first feature and first screenplay citations!) and in many countries outside of the US. And that's not all. The year's most impressive debut stint behind the camera arguably belongs to Jennifer Kent (pictured left) whose controlled, creepy, beautifully designed and acted Australian horror film The Babadook has been winning raves. After a stint on Direct TV it's just hit US theaters, albeit only three of them. May it expand swiftly to unsettle every city.

When I spoke with Ms. Kent over the phone we were experiencing and ungainly time-lag and accidentally talking over one another. A time-lag also happened when I watched her movie the first time; its unique slow build had me more frightened after the movie finished than while I was watching it. It sticks. The tag line is true

You can't get rid of the Babadook.

I mention that I'm pre-ordering the Babadook book as I'm telling this story about how the movie continues to haunt me. "Then you'd better not," she says laughing as we begin our conversation about debut filmmaking, snobber towards horror films, what she learned from Lars von Trier, and the miracles of Essie Davis' lead performance.

 

NATHANIEL: Have you had a lot of weird reactions to the film?

JENNIFER KENT: Yeah, I have. I’ve had the gamut of reactions from people seeking a roller coaster ride with jolts and scares. They've been like  'Ripped off. This isn’t a horror film!' to people like yourself. What’s most surprising to me is -- more than a  couple of people have said ‘I really didn’t like but I saw it again.' Why would you see it again?  And then changing their minds about it. [More...]

Click to read more ...