Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Zentropa (Lars von Trier)

I remember watching this movie when I was nineteen or twenty and being mesmerized by it. Now, it looks like the final leg of a journey toward a highly attractive dead end. Von Trier's post-"Zentropa" films are much more important to me now, and I include him as one of my favorite directors, but his early films almost seem to me beautiful but hollow exercises in style. I say almost because von Trier ended up somewhere so productive that I can't entirely dismiss his early efforts. He wouldn't have been able to get to "Breaking the Waves," "The Kingdom," and "The Idiots" without them. Whatever their limitations, his early films are certainly ingenious and visually compelling. "Zentropa" does exciting things with black & white and color and back projection, it's both suspenseful and hypnotic, and, a treat for Fassbinder fans, provides substantial roles for Barbara Sukowa and Udo Kier.

In yet another example of distributors and studios treating Americans like idiots, "Zentropa's" actual title is "Europa," but the American distributors thought we'd confuse it with another foreign film playing that same year, "Europa, Europa." The title was left unchanged in every other country in the world.

1 comment:

kristykay said...

I love love love Lars von Trier, but what I'm really in love with (as Josh mentions) is the stuff from the Kingdom on (although "Epidemic" and "Medea" are pretty awesome too...). Its almost hard to think that the man who did "The Element of Crime" also did "Dogville," but there are also strong connections between his more visually styilized work and his later films. Ah Lars. You are the best.

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