Breaking the Waves (1996) - Lars Von Trier
Breaking the Waves (1996) - Lars Von Trier
Lars Von Trier
© Piermarco Menini
“Fill all my holes.”
Early in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, Young Joe (Stacy Martin) coos these words to one of the countless men she has sex with during the two part, 241-minute opus of depravity. While what she’s saying carries a clear erotic charge, her bluntly literal instructions aren’t a come-on so much as a desperate plea for fulfillment. As Joe relates her life story to the overeager stranger Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who found her lying in an alley near his home, what was first intended as a simple request for comprehensive penetration evolves into a tragic refrain, with the unsubtle subtext that might be expected from a filmmaker who has the word “fuck” tattooed across his right-hand knuckles. Joe is suffering from an incurable sense of incompletion. Loneliness, she tells Seligman, has been her constant companion. That simple admission confirms Nymphomaniac’s role for von Trier—this is the film that binds his work together. These are his confessions.
A serial self-mythologizer whose gifts for inflating his own legend are on par with Werner Herzog’s, von Trier has never wasted an opportunity to build his brand. His career has been defined by cultish doctrines, informal trilogies, priceless soundbites, and obvious periods of hero worship. (Has there ever been a less-needed title card than the one dedicating Antichrist to Andrei Tarkovsky?) His techniques insist that he’s inextricable from his films, and always has been. He starred in 1987’s Epidemic (as a version of himself), awarded himself a cameo as a Holocaust survivor in 1991’s Europa, then let his increasing notoriety take over. Audiences no longer have to see von Trier in his films to see von Trier in his films.
Films in 2014—#059 Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 (Lars von Trier, 2013)
essential reading. i don’t think i’ll ever know what i think about this movie…
this one point, however, i have to believe is not true: "the average male art-house viewer emerges from the first part of Volume I filled with the pleasant idea that there are young women out there—young, pretty, sleek, and determined—who will suck him off in a random train compartment even though he’s forty, married, and faithful, or sleep with him on a regular basis despite his bald pate, bad clothing, bland affect, and blubbery gut."
straight men, please, please, please tell me this is not the case! that sequence is nothing but distressing.
There are very few provocateurs in the film biz these days, and of the ones that do exist, hardly any hold a candle to Lars von Trier’s consistently shocking, daring, extraordinary filmography. Originally one of the founders of the Dogme-95 movement of avant-garde filmmaking that originated in Denmark, Von Trier began to break away from his origins and evolve in sometimes difficult-to-watch, yet always compelling ways. With his newest film, the uncompromising, five-hour, two-part Nymphomaniac (or: Nymph()maniac, according to the ads) coming to select theaters after hitting Video On-Demand, the Movie Mezzanine team thought it would be a good time to look back at the intransigent auteur’s filmography; from his Dogme 95 days, to his boldly experimental work, and his recent pop-art-house films. Without further ado: the films of Lars von Trier.
i wrote about THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, EPIDEMIC, THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS & MANDERLAY for this piece. it was a great pleasure & all my colleagues’ writing is very good, too!
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2013)
That scene in particular was also very difficult to me, he said no and he didn’t enjoy a single bit of it so to me that screams sexual abuse and I know many people would start thinking ”that’s stupid” ”why he didn’t stop her?”, ”he paid their tickets, he clearly was hitting on the girls” but if you realize those are the typical excuses people would use if a man abuses a woman and I know this movie has a very disturbing sense of humor but I just don’t understand why Lars decided to turn Joe into the aggressor through all the film. I couldn’t feel empathy either for she and not because of the performance from the actresses but the way the role was written.
I’m so scared that some people are considering this movie as an example of an empowering female role who enjoys her sexuality when in my opinion is not. Everytime she is involved in any type of sexual activity someone gets hurt: the person she is having sex with, a third person or herself but all the time sex is the product or the cause of something negative and every single time she is the responsible, the movie tries so many times to tell trough Joe’s dialogue that it’s a film about a women enjoying her sexuality when the truth is the film is showing the total opposite, like if this woman condemned herself and everyone around her once she discovered her sexuality.
yeah, i don’t think there’s anything empowering about joe’s sexuality. she’s an addict. it’s not like SHAME was particularly uplifting, either.
Lars von Trier on the set of The Idiots / Idioterne (1998): Nearly Pornographic Mainstream Films via Rolling Stone
i just have a lot of lars von trier feelings idk you guys
"The idea that people debate whether [Von Trier] a misogynist? People should debate whether people who don’t even write women are misogynist. The fact is, he’s dedicated a large portion of his artistic life to the exploration of the female psyche—good and bad, light and dark, shadows, textures. The fact that he’s dedicated a huge part of his talents to that, to me, defies the concept that he doesn’t have respect, interest, and genuine compassion in women. People should question writers that don’t even give a damn about a female character. They are the misogynists.”
don’t fuck with the bride, y’all
1. Dancer in the Dark
2. Breaking the Waves
6. The Kingdom
7. The Five Obstructions
9. The Boss of It All
12. The Element of Crime
(I haven’t seen The Idiots or Images of Liberation & I’m reserving ranking Nymphomaniac till I see Vol. 2)